The Lions are in “no man's land” with respect to that No. 13 draft pick. It’s time to take an analytical view of some trade down scenarios using the Draft Pick Trade Value Table that is commonly used by NFL teams in determining equity when considering trades in the draft.
There are many such tables, but most of the ones published vary only slightly. For the purposes of this analysis, I chose ESPN’s table.
There are three questions to consider for any draft day trade scenario:
1. Which players fall in the No. 13 to No. 17 range that would find interest?
2. What trading partners would see the No. 13 pick as a valuable asset?
3. What would be an equitable trade, according to the trade value table?
First, we have to evaluate that No. 13 pick and the players in that neighborhood who might be coveted by potential trading partners:
QBs Cam Newton and Jake Locker.
OLB Akeem Ayers.
DE Cameron Jordan.
RB Mark Ingram.
These are the only legitimate targets worthy of consideration. I think that Ayers’ stock will take a “hit” as his tackling technique is coming under the harsh spotlight of his many critics. I have all but eliminated him from consideration.
Likewise, Locker isn’t lighting it up at the Senior Bowl practices. He is losing money at the Senior Bowl.
I chose the 13th-17th positions as the most reasonable choices that wouldn't require a prospective trade partner to "reach" after a trade.
Next, we must look for a trading partner who covets one of these players:
Miami (No. 15) needs a QB, and moving up would lock up Newton. The Dolphins also need a RB (Ingram). The Lions' No. 13 spot gives them some nice flexibility.
Jacksonville (No. 16) also needs a backup for Garrard, who is nearing the end of his career. They might wish to move ahead of the Dolphins.
The Jets (No. 30) need a DE. Moving up would assure them of getting Cameron Jordan, and deprive the Patriots of a shot at a player that they covet.
The Saints (No. 24) also need a DE, and might consider Jordan as worth the trade up to No. 13.
The Giants need a RB if they lose Brandon Jacobs to free agency. Moving up to No. 13 all but assures them a shot at Mark Ingram.
New England Patriots:
Drafting (No. 17 and No. 28), the Pats want a DE and have a lot of draft ammo to spend. They could launch a preemptive strike on the Lions' No. 13 pick just to spite the Jets, and get that quality DE.
Finally, the Lions' No. 13 pick is worth 1150 points:
Let's see what each of the prospective trade partners would have to give up that represents equity for both parties.
Be advised that the Lions might have to settle for less in order to trade down.
The Dolphins would send the No. 15 pick (1050 pts) and the No. 110 pick (74 pts). The Lions get the extra pick in the fourth round at the cost of a sixth round value player (26 pts). The Lions get an extra pick, but would likely have to trade down yet again for value.
The Jags need to send the No. 16 pick (1000 pts) and the No. 80 pick (190 pts). The forty point disparity would cause the Lions to add their No. 136 pick (38 pts). This is an equitable scenario for both teams, although the Lions would again be looking to draft down.
The Jets are draft poor in 2011. Without a second round pick, the Jets would have to give up the No. 30 pick (620 pts), the No. 94 pick (124 pts) and the No. 126 pick (46 pts). That still leaves the Jets with a whopping 360 point deficit.
Who is the most likely draft trade partner?
Now, if the Jets trade David Harris to Detroit and swap their first round picks, the Lions could sweeten the deal by adding their No. 75 pick (215 pts). Seems fair to me. The Lions gain a known starting talent and gain a more useful position.
The Saints would love to get a shot at Cameron Jordan or Mark Ingram. The Saints have no picks in Rounds 4 to 6. Sending Detroit the No. 24 pick (740 pts) and the No. 56 pick (340 pts) looks a bit lopsided with the Lions on the short end of a 70 point deficit, but the Lions gain another high pick and are better positioned at No. 24. Worth it.
The G-men will likely lose Brandon Jacobs to free agency. This will increase the interest in Mark Ingram. The Giants would have to give up the No. 19 pick (875 pts) and the No. 83 pick (175 pts). The Lions are somewhat on the short end, but might also get the Giants' No. 180 or the No. 210 pick, or a conditional pick in 2012.
The Patriots have an embarrassment of draft riches. The Lions can offer up that No. 13 pick and get the Pats' No. 28 (660 pts), No. 60 (300 pts) and No. 92 (132 pts). Overall, this is a below average draft. Patriots head coach Bill Bilichick might make this trade for a top talent, and still have two first, a second and a third round pick.
These scenarios are tenuous at best, but represent the best opportunities for the Lions to move out of a pick where they would likely have a long reach for that player who best exemplifies the Lions philosophy.
Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.