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Ranking all 4 Detroit Lions trade down scenarios by ESPN

A breakdown of four different trade down scenarios and our preference for each.

NFL Combine - Day 2

Throughout all of draft season, trading down has seemed to be a highly-preferred option for the Detroit Lions at No. 3. Given the quarterback talent in this year’s draft, the Lions are in a prime position with a top-tier pick but no pressing need for finding a franchise quarterback. They could certainly take advantage of a needy team and bring in a haul, which is certainly needed given Detroit’s leaky roster.

This week, ESPN’s Field Yates ran through four different trade partners the Lions could target, ranging from the Miami Dolphins (pick 5) to the Las Vegas Raiders (12). In truth, the options could probably go beyond there. The Lions could do the unthinkable and trade down with the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots at 23 or the Saints at 24.

But, for now, let’s focus on the four options given by Yates. Here are my rankings of the four proposed trades and my analysis of each. In part of my analysis, I run down the ever-popular Jimmy Johnson draft pick value charts that some teams use and also the updated Rich Hill trade chart, which takes into account the rookie-scale wages that weren’t around when Johnson made his original chart. You can read more about Hill’s chart here.

1. Trade down with Miami Dolphins, get picks 5 and 39

Jimmy Johnson trade chart analysis:

  • Dolphins get: 2,200 points
  • Lions get: 2,210 points

Rich Hill trade chart analysis

  • Dolphins get: 514.33 points
  • Lions get: 621.23 points

In terms of value on the charts, this is actually one of the worst outcomes for the Lions. It’s only a minor advantage in Johnson’s trade chart, and while it looks like a big win in Hill’s chart, just wait until you see some of the other deals.

But the one thing the charts don’t take into account is context. This Dolphins trade is my favorite of the bunch simply because there is almost no risk at all for the Lions. They are essentially picking up a free second-round pick—and one at the top of the round, no less.

If Jeff Okudah is their guy—and he absolutely should be, in my opinion—there’s a very high probability he’s still going to be there at five.

While there’s always a chance you could get more out of the Dolphins and potentially grab one of their other first-round picks, this would still be an easy win for the Lions.

2. Trade down with Las Vegas Raiders, get picks 12, 19 and 80

Jimmy Johnson trade chart analysis:

  • Raiders get: 2,200 points
  • Lions get: 2,265 points

Rich Hill trade chart analysis

  • Raiders get: 514.33 points
  • Lions get: 680.34 points

While trading out of the top 10 is a considerable risk here and one that will almost certainly have Detroit miss out on their top tier of players, the return here is just too rich. If the Lions were to pull off this trade, they’d be the only team outside of Florida with two picks in the top 20, plus they’d have an additional third rounder.

By Hill’s chart, this is a tremendous steal for the Lions. And they’d still have plenty of options to address their many needs. No Okudah? No problem. Grab CJ Henderson or Kristian Fulton. Want an interior pass rusher? Javon Kinlaw could still be available at 12. Or grab an edge like K’Lavon Chaisson or even A.J. Epenesa with one of the picks.

Detroit could also splurge on one of the top wide receivers in this class. Point is, they’d still have a ton of talent available and would get two guys in the first instead of one.

3. Trade down with Los Angeles Chargers, get picks 6, 37, and 2021 fourth-rounder

Jimmy Johnson trade chart analysis:

  • Chargers get: 2,200 points
  • Lions get: 2,130 points + future fourth-rounder (between 33-80 points)

Rich Hill trade chart analysis

  • Chargers get: 514.33 points
  • Lions get: 607.82 + future fourth-rounder (between 19.3-38.5 points)

You could make an argument this trade is actually better than the proposed Dolphins trade, and, in truth, it’s incredibly close for me. There is an increased risk dropping back an additional spot, but the return is slightly better. The Lions would get a higher second-round pick than Miami offers plus an additional Round 4 pick in 2021—when, ideally, you’d get a full offseason to fully scout players.

And while there isn’t a huge risk of losing out on Okudah, the further you fall down, the more likely it is that a cornerback-hungry team potentially tries to jump the Lions.

The other challenge in trading with the Chargers here is that this is basically the best offer you could get from them. They don’t have the draft capital that the Dolphins do, so Detroit would likely have to dig into their 2021 draft picks. This is a team that needs picks now, so they’re ultimately a less attractive trade-down partner.

4. Trade down with Jacksonville Jaguars, get picks 9 and 20

Jimmy Johnson trade chart analysis:

  • Jaguars get: 2,200 points
  • Lions get: 2,200 points

Rich Hill trade chart analysis

  • Jaguars get: 514.33 points
  • Lions get: 656.19 points

Let’s be clear here, I think all four of these trade downs would be a win for the Lions. Rich Hill’s trade chart makes that abundantly clear, even if all four deals are almost exactly even in Jimmy Johnson’s chart.

But if the Lions are to trade all the way down to nine—essentially erasing any chance of landing Okudah—I want to see them pull in more than one extra pick. He’s worth that much to me.

In this scenario, the Lions could realistically land Kinlaw at nine and someone like Chaisson at 20 and that would be an impressive haul. But there would still be a minor sense of disappointment that they didn’t land a premier talent in Okudah.


Which trade down scenario is your favorite?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Dolphins (Picks 5, 39)
    (1446 votes)
  • 26%
    Raiders (Picks 12, 19, 80)
    (1130 votes)
  • 29%
    Chargers (Picks 6, 37, 2021 4th)
    (1261 votes)
  • 11%
    Jaguars (Picks 9, 20)
    (498 votes)
4335 votes total Vote Now

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