There has been plenty of talk about whether the Detroit Lions will trade up or down in the 2023 NFL Draft, but that’s only part of the equation when it comes to using draft capital. It doesn’t happen a ton, but every now and then a draft day trade can involve a player. And in this offseason, there have been no shortage of players who have either requested a trade or rumored to be on trade block.
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker is the latest player to reported request a trade, but he is far from alone. There have been reports or trade rumors surrounding the likes of Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Colts center Ryan Kelly, Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox, Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver, and Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner—among others.
The legitimacy of some of these rumors can certainly be questioned, and it’s likely that a high majority of the names above never leave their current teams. But as we saw last year with A.J. Brown, sometimes a deal can come about in a hurry.
The Lions certainly have the draft capital to go for one of these players. And it’s entirely possible they would rather use those resources to get someone who could provide more of an immediate impact than a rookie.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which, if any, rumored trade options would you like to see the Lions add?
My answer: An Ed Oliver trade remains something that very much interests me. Currently on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal ($10.7 million), Oliver may be expensive in terms of both his salary—he’ll require an immediate extension that will likely average between $12-16 million a year—and at just 25 years old, he’ll likely fetch a Day 2 pick in a trade. The most similar trade made in recent history is when the 49ers traded away 26-year-old DeForest Buckner to the Colts for a first-round pick back in 2020. Oliver won’t fetch that much in a trade, as he has accomplished far less in the first four years of his career.
Regardless, Oliver would be a perfect fit in Detroit and a long-term piece to pair with Alim McNeill. A player like Oliver would create about as close to a finished product on the Lions defensive front as possible, and unless they plan on drafting Jalen Carter, I don’t think there’s a better option in the draft (although, a draft pick would obviously come significantly cheaper).
Detroit is still very much in need of star players on defense, and while Oliver has not quite yet lived up to his draft billing, he’s still a very good player with a ton more potential in his career. If the Lions aren’t confident in this year’s draft class filling their defensive tackle need, Oliver would be an intriguing Plan B.