Blockbuster Proposed Trade Sends Lions ‘Elite’ CB Prospect

Brad Holmes Kool-Aid McKinstry

Getty Bleacher Report's NFL scouting department proposed general manager Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions trading their first-round pick and two Day 2 selections to move up in the first round for an elite cornerback prospect.

The Detroit Lions were very close to clinching the franchise’s first berth in the Super Bowl this year. The Bleacher Report NFL scouting department argued the Lions should keep that in mind this offseason with their draft strategy.

Bleacher Report suggested the Lions should be aggressive and trade up in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. Bleacher Report proposed the Lions trading their No. 29 overall selection and two Day 2 picks to the New Orleans Saints for the No. 14 overall choice.

Moving up 15 spots in the first round will give the Lions an opportunity to address the team’s biggest need with Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry.

“While trading for a proven vet is certainly a viable option for Detroit, we’d love to see the Lions continue building out their roster with young players,” the Bleacher Report NFL scouting department wrote. “Trading up in Round 1, while costly, could land an elite prospect like McKinstry—the only corner the Bleacher Report Scouting Department has assigned a first-round grade.”

On top of their first-round pick, the Lions gave up a 2024 second-round and 2024 third-round choice in the Bleacher Report proposed trade.

In 14 games at Alabama during 2023, McKinstry posted 7 pass defenses and 32 total tackles. He had 23 pass defenses, 93 total tackles, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions in 42 college games.

How Kool-Aid McKinstry Could Fit With the Lions

No one is likely to argue with the Lions drafting a cornerback in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

Detroit finished 27th in pass defense and 27th in passing touchdowns allowed during the 2023 regular season. Then the Lions allowed an average of 311.3 passing yards in three playoff games.

The two starting outside cornerback for the Lions at the end of the season, Cameron Sutton and Kindle Vildor, each posted below average player grades at Pro Football Focus in 2023. In the postseason, Sutton struggled against elite receivers such as Puka Nacua and Mike Evans.

Furthermore, Vildor is a free agent in March.

Drafting McKinstry would give the Lions one of the top cornerback prospect in the 2024 class. In addition to Bleacher Report ranking him the No. 1 cornerback in the upcoming draft class, The Sporting News has McKinstry rated a top 3 cornerback for 2024.

ESPN and Pro Football Focus have McKinstry ranked in their top 6 cornerbacks in the upcoming class.

“His skills are undeniable and give defensive coordinators the versatility to play multiple schemes,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Cory Giddings.

Why Lions Trading Up in 2024 Draft Makes Sense

Lions general manager Brad Holmes showed two years ago that he isn’t concerned about being aggressive in the draft. Detroit traded three picks (No. 32, 34 and 66 overall) for two selections, including the No. 12 overall choice in 2022.

At No. 12, the Lions then selected wide receiver Jameson Williams.

There’s a stronger argument to be made for the Lions to move up this season.

Free agency could change things, but there are no obvious offensive holes on Detroit’s roster. On defense, the Lions need help at cornerback and edge rusher.

Trading up in the first round gives the Lions a greater chance of landing their preferred prospect at either position, which will provide immediate help toward the team’s Super Bowl push in 2024-25.

It also keeps with Detroit’s recent trend of building its roster with young talent that fit its locker room.

Finally, the Lions also have two third-round picks this season. That will offset some of the loss in dealing two Day 2 picks to move up in the first round.

“This deal would give New Orleans more options while giving Detroit another young playmaker to partner with Hutchinson, Jack Campbell and Brian Branch,” Bleacher Report wrote.

“The Lions have an extra third-round pick from the T. J. Hockenson trade, so this would leave Detroit with a Day 2 selection.”

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