The Detroit Lions have plenty of options when it comes to what to do in the 2021 NFL Draft, and momentum has seemingly been gaining toward the team potentially trading back if they have the chance to do so.
For a few weeks now, it’s been speculated that the Lions could be looking to make a move backward. While the potential for this has been mentioned, rumors have been scant about it actually playing out. That hasn’t stopped folk from speculating, however.
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Recently, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell put together a piece where he had every team making a trade with their pick. In terms of the Lions, he had Detroit dealing out of the seventh spot with the New York Jets, who would come back into the first-round after a hypothetical deal for Russell Wilson which would cost them picks two and 23. With 23 and a 2022 first-round selection as well as the 66th pick, Barnwell had the Jets trading back into the top 10 to select a playmaker for Wilson.
As for why, here’s what he wrote:
“The Lions should be amassing as many picks as possible. The Jets should probably be doing the same thing, but I could see one argument for trading up. They added wide receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole this offseason, but regardless of which quarterback they draft with the No. 2 overall pick, he’ll be inheriting a below-average group of weapons.
If general manager Joe Douglas sees LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts as a generational pass-catcher and they’re still on the board at No. 7, he could use one of his extra first-rounders from the Jamal Adams trade to get his quarterback a new best friend. We saw Sam Darnold wither without receiving help these past few years; if any team should be sensitive to the idea of getting its young quarterback the right pieces from Week 1 on, it’s the Jets.”
It’s all a hypothetical situation, so it’s not worth putting too much stock into the potential for this deal playing out. Detroit might balk at moving back to 23, which would be far out of the realm for any big time players they might want. Regardless, this is a deal that would net them another first-round pick for 2022, which should be their goal in any deal involving pick number seven.
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Analyst Predicts Lions Will Wheel and Deal
Trades have been a theme of plenty of mocks around the internet, but in a new mock, an intriguing nugget of information has emerged about Detroit’s hopes. As NFL Network reporter Peter Schrager hypothesized, the Lions will be open to making some big moves and big trades this season.
Schrager has the Lions trading back with the Arizona Cardinals, who deal up to the number seven slot to take wideout Jaylen Waddle. Detroit trades back to the 16 position and nabs offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech.
“The Lions could be a team that trades back not once but multiple times in this draft. With Detroit in re-build mode and with just six draft picks this year, look for GM Brad Holmes to be wheelin’ and dealin’ during the entire three-day exercise. Darrisaw is a former lightly recruited prospect out of prep school who has been magnificent the past few years with the Hokies.”
The takeaway here? While Schrager might be off on who the Lions are targeting, he could be right when it comes to the team wanting to trade back, and perhaps even multiple times. Schrager is in the know in NFL circles, so if he’s reporting that the Lions are open for business, it’s likely the team is open for business heading into the NFL Draft this season.
Rumors have held the Lions could be in-play for an offensive lineman in the first round, so it’s possible the team would consider moving around if they knew they could still pick up the kind of player that they like while maximizing their draft return. That could put them in play for a trade.
Examining Ideal Lions Draft Day Trades
The Lions should be able to find a good trade if they want one in the NFL Draft, especially if there is a quarterback on the board. Multiple teams in the teens could decide to come up for either Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones depending on who is available that fits their needs. Obviously, the ideal trade for the Lions would be to add a first-round pick in 2022 if possible to go with some middle-round picks either this season or next season as well.
This kind of trade would be perfect for the Lions for that reason, even if it would represent a massive trade down in 2021.