NFL Draft 2011: Should the Lions Try and Trade Up for Patrick Peterson?

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIApril 25, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State Univeristy Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown by posing as the Heisman Trophy against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Tiger Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions need help in the back seven of their defense. A lot of mock drafts right now have the Lions selecting Prince Amukamara at number 13. However, Amukamara isn't considered the best corner in the draft, in fact there has been some debate recently about whether he is even number two.

Patrick Peterson is considered one of the best prospects in the draft and by far the best corner. Peterson has the rare blend of size, speed and instincts to quickly become one of the best corners in the league. Despite being one of the highest rated players overall, most mock drafts have Peterson coming off the board at number seven to San Francisco.

I think the Lions should find out what it would take to move to switch places with the 49ers, or possibly with Cleveland at number six. Based on the draft pick value chart Detroit would probably have to give up their second-round pick and get back a third or fourth-round pick from either team. Lets take a little closer look at how two possible scenarios might play out. 

Detroit trades its first-round pick (13th overall) and its second-round pick (44th overall) to San Francisco. San Francisco would send its first round pick (seventh overall) and the first of its fourth-round picks (108th overall) to Detroit. Detroit would pick Patrick Peterson at number seven, and San Francisco would select either Prince Amukamara or possibly Da'Quan Bowers if they clear him medically. San Francisco would also be able to use the extra second round pick to address its need at quarterback.

Detroit makes this deal for two reasons. First adding a player of Peterson's talent would elevate the Lions defense to one of the best in the league. Second there really isn't an outside linebacker likely to be available when the Lions select in the second round. Getting the 49ers fourth-round pick is in the range where there are several solid but not elite linebackers. 

The 49ers make this deal because it gives them an extra second-round pick which would allow them to fill another hole with a solid player. The 49ers need a CB, and it is possible they would try to move back again and select CB Jimmy Smith. However the biggest need they have is at QB. In the second round they should be in position with their draft pick to select with more upside than their current QB group. They also need a RB to share carries with Frank Gore, and could use help at DT and OLB.

Scenario two: Detroit sends its first pick (13th overall) and its second round pick (44th overall) to Cleveland for the Browns first round pick (sixth overall). 

This would be a big risk for Cleveland and it would depend on how sold they are on the receivers who would be available in the second round. It is unlikely Julio Jones would be available at 13, so Cleveland would be using its first round pick on a defensive lineman, which is one of the biggest needs on the team. The Browns need help at CB, WR and depth at RB. At least two of those spots could be upgraded if they moved back in the first round. 

For Detroit they would be giving up their second pick for the second year in a row, but would be getting the best corner in the draft. They would probably have to make this deal with Cleveland because San Francisco would take Peterson at seven if he was available.

Of the two deals I think the one with San Francisco makes more sense. The 49ers aren't that far from being able to contend out west, and picking up a QB, and some upgrades will help speed up that process. If Detroit wants to be a serious contender in the NFC North, than they need to get a player who can shut half the field down.