Detroit Lions land Aaron Donald in crazy all-trades mock draft

ESPN's Bill Barnwell has released his annual ‘all-trades mock draft' and to say it is crazy would be an understatement. The mock draft includes trades for EVERY first-round pick, including both of the Detroit Lions‘ picks at No. 6 and No. 18. At No. 6, Barnwell has the Lions trading a 2024 first-round pick to move up to the third overall pick to select EDGE Will Anderson Jr. out of Alabama. Then, Barnwell has the Lions trading No. 18 and No. 55 to the Los Angeles Rams for All-Pro DT Aaron Donald.

Aaron Donald Detroit Lions

Key Points

  • ESPN's Bill Barnwell released his annual ‘all-trades mock draft'
  • The mock draft includes trades for every first-round pick, including both of the Lions' picks
  • At number six, the Lions trade a 2024 first-round pick to move up to the third overall pick and draft Will Anderson Jr.
  • At pick 18, the Lions trade picks 18 and 55 to the Los Angeles Rams for All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald

Detroit Lions land Aaron Donald in crazy all-trades mock draft

Here is what Barnwell has to say about the two Lions trades:

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6. Detroit Lions

Lions get: 1-3, 2024 fifth-round pick
Cardinals get: 1-6, 2-55, 2024 third-round pick

Let's get coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn the NFL's most exciting duo of young pass-rushers. In this trade, Detroit would move ahead of Seattle to take Will Anderson Jr., the best edge rusher in this class, and pair him with last year's No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson, who had 9.5 sacks as a rookie.

Teams shouldn't treat acquired picks as house money, but the Lions would be sending the capital they acquired from the Matthew Stafford and T.J. Hockenson trades to move up and grab a potential franchise pass-rusher. They would still be able to use their own picks at Nos. 18 and 48 to address tight end and defensive tackle.

18. Detroit Lions

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Lions get: DT Aaron Donald
Rams get: 1-18, 2-55

Let's get a little silly. The Rams won Super Bowl LVI on the back of trading two first-round picks to the Lions in a deal for QB Matthew Stafford. Things have gone south since, and general manager Les Snead has been cutting or trading away nearly every veteran on the defensive side of the ball in an attempt to clear cap space and reacquire draft capital. The Rams unquestionably hope to compete in 2023, but 2024 or 2025 might be more realistic.

At 31 and having already flirted with retirement a year ago, Donald's timeline might not align with L.A. given how the organization approached this offseason. He has a no-trade clause and might not be willing to waive it to go to Detroit, but the Lions have a more credible chance of making a deep playoff run in 2023 than the Rams do with their respective rosters. (If the Steelers hadn't re-signed Larry Ogunjobi, a deal to Donald's old stomping grounds in Pittsburgh would have made plenty of sense.)

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The Lions desperately need an interior pass-rusher. Levi Onwuzurike, a second-rounder in 2021, played just 396 snaps as a rookie before missing all of 2022 with a back injury, and his professional future is uncertain. This team ranked last in pass defense QBR a year ago and rebuilt its secondary during the offseason, most recently by trading away 2020 top-five pick Jeff Okudah to the Falcons. Detroit could use the No. 6 pick on an edge rusher to team with Aidan Hutchinson and then use this choice to make a stunning splash for a future Hall of Famer.

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Bottom Line: Brad Holmes has proven he is not afraid to roll the dice

Lions GM Brad Holmes is not afraid to take risks in his pursuit of building a perennial Super Bowl contender in the Motor City. Whether it's trading for top players or making bold draft trades (See Jameson Williams in 2022), the Lions are willing to take chances in order to improve their roster.

Now, with that being said, in the end, mock drafts are just that – MOCKS! While they can provide insight and entertainment, they are not a guarantee of what will actually happen in the draft. Whether or not the trade happens (It won't), there is no question about it that the Lions are willing to take risks in order to build a solid team.

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