Are the Detroit Lions looking to trade down in the Draft?

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Nation, I would like for you to take a second and close your eyes and take a deep breath. Can you smell it? If you are like me, you just caught a nice whiff of the 2017 NFL Draft (also known as the Detroit Lions Super Bowl), which just so happens to be right around the corner.

That’s right, from April 27 – April 29, many die-hard Lions fans will have their butts parked in front of the television set with a cold beverage and some snacks. They will be watching in hopes that the Lions select the next great player(s) who will lead them to the promised land. There will be moments of joy (when they select a player you love) and moments that leave all of us shaking our heads, wondering what GM Bob Quinn was thinking.

Regardless of what happens in the draft, we will all begin looking towards the 2017 season with a better sense of how our “new” Lions will look on both sides of the football. Personally, I hope they focus on solidifying their defense in the early rounds, especially after Quinn’s biggest free agent signings were made to improve the offense.

Who will the Detroit Lions select in the 1st Round?

As we speak, the Lions hold 21st overall in the 1st Round of the 2017 NFL Draft. And, of course, everyone with a pulse seems to know exactly who the perfect pick would be, including me.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan
Nov 7, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Taco Charlton (33) celebrates after he sacks Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Hayden Rettig (11) in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 46-16. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the names I have seen go to the Lions in the 1st Round of recent mock drafts include Taco Charlton (DE), Jabrill Peppers (LB/S), Obi Melifonwu (S), John Ross (WR), Zach Cunningham (LB), and Gareon Conley (CB), just to name a few. To be honest, of those picks, the only one I would shake my head at is Ross. Not because I don’t believe he will be a productive NFL player, but because he is an offensive player and I WANT DEFENSE!

In my opinion, which you can see in my latest (shameless plug) Detroit Lions 2017 Perfect NFL Mock Draft: This One Counts, if he is still on the board, I truly believe the Lions should select defensive end Taco Charlton out of Michigan. Charlton is a guy who would come in and start immediately for a defense that was awful, yes, A-W-F-U-L (check the advanced metrics) in 2016.

But, what if the Lions are thinking about another option?

Are the Detroit Lions looking to trade down?

If you have been reading up on your NFL Draft material (Dear Lord, there are a ton of opinions out there), you have probably heard over and over again that this draft is is pretty deep in terms of defensive talent. On paper, that seems to be the case, which means the Detroit Lions may, in fact, be looking to move down from their No. 21 spot in the 1st Round.

Jan 2, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Western Michigan Broncos offensive lineman Taylor Moton (72) and Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) in action in the 2017 Cotton Bowl game at AT&T Stadium. The Badgers defeat the Broncos 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

According to Mike Freeman from Bleacher Report, a source of his, who he claims has “been in the NFL for decades,” says the Lions want LB T.J. Watt (brother of J.J. Watt) out of Wisconsin.

From Bleacher Report:

They want (Wisconsin LB) T.J. Watt. This is too high a spot to take him. He should be late second or early third round, but that Watt name is so powerful there’s a rush for T.J., and I have to say he’s very good. Just to me not first-round good.

First of all, I am always reluctant to believe anything that uses an unnamed source, but this one did get me to thinking a bit outside the box.

Rather than using the 21st pick in the 1st Round on one of the “big-name” players who I mentioned earlier, maybe Bob Quinn should instead focus on trading down in the draft to accumulate some extra picks.

The Lions needs are plentiful

As mentioned earlier, this draft seems to be deep, especially in terms of defense. If Quinn and the Detroit Lions truly are targeting T.J. Watt, which has not been confirmed, they could trade down, acquire another pick or two, and still get their target.

The Lions needs are plentiful and trading down to stockpile some extra picks could end up being to their advantage. Trading a 1st Round pick is always a great way to make that happen.

While discussing the thought of trading down in the DSN chats, writer Paul Rochon of The War Room said something that I agree with 100%.

I’m a firm believer in trading high picks down and low picks up. Stockpile as many 2-3-4 round picks as you can, the higher the better.

(Expletive) the 5,6,7 round picks. The value they have in a trade is way disproportionate to the expected return of drafting players with them.

This draft is especially deep in the second and early third round but every draft is different.

Let’s face it, the Detroit Lions have a plethora of needs on their football team and Bob Quinn knows that. Trading down in the draft could be just what the doctor ordered for this football team.

The question is, can Quinn make the trade happen?