Back in January, our Ryan Mathews talked about how far the Detroit Lions should move down in the draft. Now with March in the rear-view mirror and the NFL Draft a few weeks away, it is a good time to revisit possible trade candidates.
Trading down is a hotly-debated option for the Lions, given how valuable their third overall pick is. However, with a team depleted across the board, it could make sense to amass a wealth of picks.
But how wealthy would those picks be?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who should the Lions trade down with?
My answer: Let’s break down some trade candidates.
Barring a ludicrous return, dropping outside of the top 10 seems unlikely for the Lions. A proposal that has been tossed around is trading the third pick to New England for picks 23 and 87, along with Joe Thuney. However, given that the Lions let an equally-talented guard in Graham Glasgow walk during free agency, giving up such an early pick for a guard and a late first rounder is foolish in my eyes.
Prior to free agency, the Panthers and Colts were possible trade candidates, but their situations have changed. The Panthers gave Teddy Bridgewater a significant contract, and turning around and drafting a quarterback does not make sense for them. The Colts, meanwhile, could still use a quarterback behind Philip Rivers, but they no longer possess their first-round pick. Unless the Lions feel like gambling with a 2021 first, the Colts are off the board.
If the Lions trade down, it will likely be to a team that desires a quarterback. Joe Burrow is slated to go first overall, but where Tua Tagovailoa lands is a mystery. Of the top 10 teams in the draft, the Dolphins (fifth overall) and Chargers (sixth overall) are the two most likely to take a quarterback. The benefit to the Lions is that they could get into a bidding war with each other, which would bolster the return for Detroit.
The Lions would not drop very far should they trade with these two teams, but that could result in a smaller return. Miami has multiple first-round picks (5, 18, 26), but would they be willing to part with two of them? As for the Lions, at what point does the risk of missing out on Jeffrey Okudah outweigh the reward?
A feasible return from the Chargers would be their first, second, and third round picks, plus a second in 2021. Can the Dolphins match that, and more importantly, would they? They still have a young Josh Rosen on the roster, and you could argue that they would be better off spending their picks to rebuild their roster.
I believe the Chargers have the most to lose by failing to acquire Tagovailoa, as they would have to roll with Tyrod Taylor or pick one of the lesser quarterbacks like Justin Herbert. As a result, I think they will be the best trade partner for the Lions. Falling to the sixth overall pick still ensures a good shot at Okudah, while gathering enough building blocks for the future.