The Lions have options this year. Do they trade the 13th pick or do they keep it? I feel that the Lions are going to trade down in Round 1. In this draft I am going to try to match the best player available to need. This is how the Lions tend to draft under Mayhew and Schwartz. However, if the Lions keep pick No. 13 I would expect them to pick either Tyron Smith or Prince Akmukamara.
Who would trade with us and why?
The Patriots are looking for help at DE and this is a rich draft class at DE. I suspect this will cause a large run on DEs and the Pats will look to trade up to get the player they covet. Especially since they have built up multiple picks in each of the first three rounds.
Round 1: 17 (OAK—Richard Seymour)
Round 1: 28
Round 2: 33 (CAR—2010 Third Round Pick (No. 89))
Round 2: 60
Round 3: 74 (MIN—Randy Moss)
Round 3: 92
Round 4: 125
Round 5: 159
Round 6: 193
I also think that the Pats would make this move just to spite the Jets getting their player before the Jets can grab him.
Other players worth trading for at pick No. 13 are Julio Jones, Tyron Smith, Prince Akmukamara, Aldon Smith, Da’Quan Bowers, Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan and Akeem Ayers. They could all be available at No. 13 and are potential trade targets.
In this scenario I see the Lions trading down and being able to pick up an extra second and third-round pick. It would depend on if they traded down to pick No. 17 or No. 28, as to what we actually would get, but for the purpose of this draft I am going to say we get pick No. 28, No. 60 and No. 92 from the Patriots, giving us an extra pick in both the second and third rounds.
There are two options here; the first is Mike Pouncey (click name for highlights).
The Lions desperately need help in the inside run game and Pouncey could start immediately at right guard. He could also be a project to take over at center a year or two down the road, which is where I see his biggest value. He is a huge mountain of a man. Not only will he improve the run game but he is good in pass protection as well. If he is still on the board at No. 28 he would definitely be the best player available (BPA) and would fill a huge team need.
The second option is Jimmy Smith, who I think would be the most likely to be available at No. 28. Smith is a top-15 talent but has character issues. However, the Lions are building a high-character team and I feel like the veterans would keep him in line.
He has all the athletic ability. He can jam receivers and be an asset in run support. If not for his character issues he would probably be rated even higher than Prince Akmukamara. This is the BPA and team need all in one.
The best option here is Bruce Carter OLB. This is the pick I see happening. Carter is coming off a knee injury but it has been debated that, after Von Miller, he would be the second-best OLB in the draft.
From all reports, he is healing very well from this injury. He should be ready to go shortly after training camp begins. He should be able to play early this season and at a high level. At No. 44 he is a great value pick as he has top-20 talent. The Lions need help at both OLB positions and he fits both BPA and need.
The first option is Ras-I Dowling, another great value pick. Dowling is a late Round 1 talent and is a big, physical CB. He is coming off an injury but is still testing well—running a 4.4 40-yard dash even though he pulled up after 30 yards.
Imagine having both Smith and a healthy Dowling at CB. Not only would you have a dominant D-line but you have two potential shutdown corners as well. The corners would help the D-line and the D-line would help the corners creating a synergistic effect.
Other Options: Leonard Hankerson or Titus Young
Greg Little is another player that has late-first-round to early-second-round talent, but due to character concerns he is dropping in the draft. Another great value pick here. Hopefully, being picked this low will get rid of some of his entitlement attitude and cause him to play with a chip on his shoulder. Little is a big, physical receiver who would be able to take more attention away from Calvin Johnson.
The first option is Joseph Barksdale. He would be a great right tackle and could eventually develop into a left tackle (his scouting report).
The second option is Casey Matthews. Casey is my preferred pick and the BPA. He has the DNA, the name, the hair and the ability. He is Kyle Vandenbosh at the LB position. Casey would push Levy to get better, challenge him for MLB and could also play OLB.
I actually see him playing OLB more than I see him at ILB, but only due to a later selection, who I think would be better at ILB than Matthews. This also addresses our need for depth at LB (his scouting report).
ILB Mark Herzlich is a first-round talent with big-play ability, who had cancer in 2009. Herzlich still played in 2010 only months removed from chemo and surgery to remove the cancer.
This is a high risk/reward scenario. Herzlich could easily be an A.J. Hawk or Brian Urlacher—he is that dominant. The question is will he stay healthy? He would definitely push Levy and challenge for a starting position. Imagine the depth the Lions could have with Levy and Herzlich at ILB.
The start to 2010 was not the best for Herzlich, as his body was still recovering from the chemo. But he really came on at the end of the year. Remember, Herzlich will only get better as he puts the cancer farther and farther behind him (his scouting report).
Walterfootball.com has the Lions with a sixth-round pick received via trade. For now I am going to keep them with a sixth-round pick.
Other Options: Kris O’Dowd or Lee Ziemba
The NFL clearly had it out for the Lions. They wanted to make an example of them so they hit them with a slap on the wrist for tampering. For what? For saying that the Chiefs are getting rid of a lot of players, and that we would love to grab some of them when they are released. How is that tampering?
Was any direct contact made between a player or agent and the Lions? No, there wasn’t. Was any player mentioned by name? No, there wasn’t.
This isn’t tampering—it is NFL showing again that they will do what they want when the want and pick on people who are innocent just to get a point across.
So with our final pick of the draft the Lions select…a power running back: John Clay, or Alex Green.
This draft is primarily focused on defense. There is just more talent there, and it is where the Lions' biggest needs are.
With the addition of Jimmy Smith (Round 1), Ras-I Dowling (Round 2), Carter (Round 2), Matthews (Round 3), Herzlich (Round 5) and Jerron Johnson (Round 6) I think our defense would be close to being the best defense in the NFL.
The three big needs on offense are being addressed with the addition of Greg Little WR (Round 3), DeMarco Murray WR/RB (Round 4) and adding a power back in John Clay (Round 7).
We still have needs at both OTs but we are good enough to last one more season as is. Plus Jason Fox is being groomed to take over a starting position. What I don’t know is if he is going to be the future RT or LT. We need to upgrade Peterman at RG but when healthy he is adequate. Raiola is decent at center but we need to think about finding his replacement in the near future.
With this draft I think our team is in good position with upgrades needed only at one of the offensive tackle positions. I am leaning to LT. Then next year we need to start thinking about a center. RG is also big need, but Peterman can man the fort when healthy.
If there is a free agency period some of these needs can be addressed. If not then look for them to be the main focus of 2012 draft.
I would like to thank Walterfootball.com and Cbssports.com, as well as many other football sites and writers for their in-depth analysis of draft picks. I would also like to thank all who post on YouTube, as it is the main source for many of my highlight videos.