The Detroit Lions are in an interesting position, though. It's not terribly surprising that they are short of good players, being that they went 0-16 in 2008. What's different, though, is that the Lions have two first-round picks. From the sounds of it, they're willing to shop both of them.
This decision really doesn't seem to have a lot to do with "liking" certain players. The Lions need to come out of this draft with multiple starters, if they want to have any chance of fielding a competitive team for first-year head coach Jim Schwartz. As Tom Kowalski notes, they seem to be well aware of this.
The Lions are interested in trading down for two reasons: One, they have so many roster spots to fill that they can use all the draft picks they can muster. The Lions have eight picks, but none in the fourth or fifth rounds. Two, the Lions can draft players at almost every position and upgrade the team so they're not locked into one specific pool of players.General manager Martin Mayhew seems to get how this gig is going to work in the end.
"Let me saying something about the draft,'' Mayhew said. "This is what happens - everybody wants to give a grade in April. They want to grade everybody's draft. And what is that grade based on? It's based on the pundits and the experts and what they say you need. They say, in their mind, what they think you need. If you go out and get those things, then you get an A.Of course, getting an "A" the day after the draft is a really good way to keep fans and media from charging into your office with torches. It doesn't help you win football games, and as long as the Lions understand that, their chances of drafting players who can help them on the field becomes much higher than it's been in the past.
"We've gotten A's before but, meanwhile, three years later it doesn't look as good as it did in April. My position will be how this looks a year from now, not how it looks in April, so we might not get an A. My goal is to get an A three years from now.''
It's natural to try to want to read Mayhew's mind when you hear him talk about trading the first pick. I think he understands the Lions lack a bona fide starting quarterback, but he also gets that there isn't a quarterback on the board worth taking with the first pick.
That first-overall pick is a nice chip, but in a year where no one jumps off the board as the best player, it's hard to fathom anyone offering enough to make the Lions trade out of the spot.