Is a trade up from 32 in the cards for the Lions?
Many discussions have been had about the merits of trading away the second-overall pick, but how about pick number 32?
The Detroit Lions acquired the future first from the Los Angeles Rams as part of the Matthew Stafford trade. Fortunately for the Rams and unfortunately for the Lions, a Super Bowl victory results in it being the final pick of the first round, all the way down at 32. It’s not all doom and gloom, however. There will still be a talented player at that position for Detroit to select, and coupled with their early second rounder (34th), the Lions could walk away from the 2021 NFL Draft with three very early picks.
But is there a chance the Lions move up from 32?
Following the selection of offensive tackle Penei Sewell in last year’s draft, general manager Brad Holmes nearly pulled the trigger on a trade up for defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike. The Lions eventually stood pat and selected Onwuzurike with the 41st selection, but based on behind-the-scenes video, it certainly looked like the Lions were orchestrating a trade up for him. This shows that despite being in a rebuild, the Holmes and company aren’t afraid to sacrifice picks to get the player they really want. Later in that same draft, the Lions traded up for linebacker Derrick Barnes.
That brings us back to pick 32. The Lions will have their pick of the litter at second overall, but they may fall in love with multiple prospects. The second selection is extremely valuable, and based on positional need and value, the Lions may not be inclined to reach for a player. That could leave the Lions front office getting antsy as the first round winds down. If the player atop their draft board continues to slide, perhaps Holmes will try to trade up.
Trading up late in the first round shouldn’t cost the Lions dearly. The 2020 NFL Draft has a few examples for what a trade up could cost. The Green Bay Packers moved up from 30 to 26 in order to selection quarterback Jordan Love, a move that cost them a fourth-round pick. The San Francisco 49ers moved up from 31 to 25 to select receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and it cost them a fourth and a fifth.
If Detroit moves into the mid-20s from 32, it should yield a similar return. However, the Lions are without a fourth-round pick—due to the trade up for Barnes—meaning they may have to part with their late third-round pick (97) instead.
Would you be okay sacrificing draft picks in order to move up?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Should the Lions trade up from 32?
My answer: I think they should.
The Lions need impact players, and if they feel that an impact prospect won’t fall to 32, I have no problem with them trading up. Depth is one of the strengths of the 2021 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean the Lions should settle for prospects lower on their draft board. If a receiver like Jameson Williams or Drake London begins to slide, the Lions may want to jump receiver-needy teams like the Packers or Kansas City Chiefs. Many safeties are projected to be late-first selections, and the Lions may want to get first dibs.
I think giving up pick 97 would be fine to secure their desired prospect. However, I don’t think Detroit should make a significant trade up. Jumping into the teens would warrant a larger return, and I might be more critical of that decision. I really want to keep picks 34 and 66, as those players could still be Day 1 starters.
Brad Holmes had a successful first draft, and I have faith in him and his scouts to identify great talent. If they feel like a trade up is the only want to secure that talent, I think they should go for it.