How a Darrelle Revis Trade Alters the 2013 NFL Draft for the Detroit Lions
It appears at the moment that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only ones responding.
However, as the draft rolls around this outcome is becoming increasingly more likely. It also seems likely that the New York Jets will receive at least some draft picks—compensating for losing Revis—in 2014.
While most in the business believe that the Jets will want to get the first-round pick now—I think that they will be happy to take it next year—and demand the second-round pick in this draft.
The fact is, the 2013 draft is not that strong and the 13th overall pick will not be a great value one.
Come 2014, the New York Jets may be looking for a quarterback and with a stronger crop of signal callers available having two first rounders would allow them to move up and replace Mark Sanchez. By getting a second-round pick in 2013 they will be able to upgrade the roster with one of the many good players available.
They could also use it to find a replacement for Revis in an unexpected way.
The New York Jets defensive scheme relies on the ability to play lockdown man coverage outside—that was why Darrelle Revis was such a valuable commodity to them. However, with Revis gone the Jets would be left with just one cornerback—Antonio Cromartie—with the ability to succeed in their aggressive defense.
This type of scheme would also be a perfect fit for the top cornerback in the draft, Dee Milliner.
Milliner has the size, athleticism and ball skills to be a force in man coverage, and he would be a very cheap option for four years. This would make him an ideal target for the Jets to target as they rebuild their roster.
There is no way that Milliner will fall past the Cleveland Brown, who are drafting sixth overall.
Therefore, the Jets would need to trade up to get their man and this is where the additional pick would come in handy. In general, it would cost a team a high second-round pick to move up five spots at the top of the first round. With two high second-round picks, the Jets would have the ammunition to leap frog the Browns to get Milliner.
Finally, the team most likely to be a New York Jets trade partner would be the Detroit Lions, since they hold the pick directly before the Browns and could be looking to trade back in the first-round.
The Detroit Lions are likely to be looking for a franchise left tackle on the first day and if both Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are taken in the first four picks they are left without a great value selection at their natural draft position.
However, Lane Johnson is also a top talent who has the athleticism and developing technique to be a decent rookie starter at left tackle, and a Pro Bowler for most of his career. He is not as safe a selection as the top two tackles...but he is not as far behind as some would like you to believe.
Johnson also may not be drafted between the Lions and the Jets picks, so moving down should still allow the Lions to take him. The Browns and Bills already have players set at left tackle who played very well last season and have much larger holes elsewhere on the roster.
While the Arizona Cardinals certainly have a massive need at left tackle, they are also desperate for a quarterback and are looking more and more likely to reach for one in the draft. With this in mind, the Lions may even be able to trade back if Fisher and Johnson are on the board, and rest assured that they will probably get one.
Although, passing on Fisher with the fifth pick and then waiting to see if he fell to nine would test the nerves of the entire front office to a degree they would probably not be comfortable with.
However, if the trade down worked and the Lions drafted a franchise left tackle while gaining an extra high second-round pick, the draft scenario would change dramatically. For starters, a second pick early on day two would let them take two valuable starters at the top of the round such as Cornellius Carradine, Alex Okafor, Keenan Allen, Justin Hunter, Johnathan Banks, Jamar Taylor, Barrett Jones or Larry Warford.
There are really a ton of good players available around that time in the draft which would fill needs on the roster. Getting the chance to draft two of them would go a long way in making Detroit a playoff team again.
Secondly, the current Lions regime has always shown a willingness to trade up in the draft to get players they like, and with an extra day two pick they would have more than enough ammunition to do that. The two second-round picks could be bundled together to move back into the middle of the first round to grab an elite talent that is slipping. Players like Cordarelle Patterson or Chance Warmack could be available at this point in the draft and would make a big difference to the roster.
However, more likely is the Lions ability to package one of their second-round picks with a third-round pick to move back into the first-round to take a player who is just out of their reach.
Players like Desmond Trufant, Cornellius Carradine, Jonathan Cooper and Arthur Brown could fall into this category and the ability to make a move like this could be the difference between a good and great draft class for the Lions' front office.
In conclusion, the draft ramifications of a blockbuster trade for Darrelle Revis by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be huge for the Lions.
Although, there would be nothing wrong with taking Eric Fisher, the potential moves that would be facilitated by gaining an extra second-round pick make this seem like a very attractive proposition for the Lions.
I can only hope it works out this way.
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