Lions Look Set to Draft DT After Trade for Rob Sims
And Monday, another piece to the draft puzzle may have fallen into place when the Lions swung a deal with Seattle for guard Rob Sims. The Seahawks will receive Detroit's 2010 fifth-rounder and defensive lineman Robert Henderson, while the Lions also get Seattle's 2010 seventh-round pick.
Sims, who started 14 games for Seattle last season, will drop right into Detroit's starting lineup. His presence also means that the chances Detroit moves Jeff Backus from tackle to guard -- a possible outcome of a Russell Okung draft pick -- are much slimmer. Instead, with Backus and Gosder Cherilus at the offensive tackle spots, Sims on the interior and Dominic Raiola at center, Detroit's close to locking in its starting front.
All of that means that the Lions are more and more likely to stick at No. 2 overall in the draft and take either Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, the top two defensive tackles available this year.
Is that set in stone? No, nothing is in this most bizarre of NFL offseasons. For instance, it's highly unlikely the Redskins will take a quarterback with their first pick, but it's not out of the question considering McNabb could be a one-and-done situation. Just like it's not set in stone that Detroit will pass on Okung, a top-notch tackle, or on an opportunity to trade down.
But the trade for Sims definitely indicates that Detroit's closing in on Suh and McCoy. The Lions spent the past couple weeks pursuing Saints RFA Anthony Hargrove, who signed his tender in New Orleans Monday. That attempt was made with Detroit's dearth on the defensive front in mind -- the Lions have unquestionably improved this offseason with a bevy of moves, but the DT depth chart still finds itself lacking severely.
If nothing else, defensive tackle is clearly more of an immediate need for Detroit than offensive tackle is. Will the Lions win a division with Backus and Cherulis in place? It's plenty doubtful. Their defense, though, has no chance of staying competitive without someone to stand in, stop the run and attack the passer out of the tackle spot. Detroit didn't have that last year.
The Lions can quickly remedy that situation by passing on Okung and taking Suh or McCoy. Monday's deal for Sims makes that scenario extremely plausible.