It’s well documented, the Detroit Lions rarely trade down when the NFL draft rolls around. In fact, under general manager Martin Mayhew, the Lions have yet to trade back in any draft — while moving up into the first round to select running back Jahvid Best, moving into the second round to grab running back Mikel Leshoure and trading up in the fifth round to select linebacker Tahir Whitehead.
Now the Lions seem in prime position to move back from the fifth overall pick. Mayhew held his annual pre-draft news conference on Thursday. He spoke with certainty, telling the media he won’t “swing for the fences” with the Lions first round selection.
“I think it’s really important,” Mayhew said. “You want guys with that high ceiling, but it’s also important to make sure you’re getting a solid player that you can have around for a long time. It may not be the best place to swing for the fence. You might not want to be Dave Kingman at 5. You might rather just get on base if you know what I mean.”
So, what should Mayhew’s statement tell you? BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah may not be the Lions pick at No. 5 (although trading down would keep him in the conversation). He’s raw, yet incredibly athletic. He would define the term “swinging for the fence.”
But were does that leave the Lions? Especially if both left tackles are off the board?
The Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins our in serious discussions over offensive tackle Branden Albert, according to many close to the situation. The Miami Herald is reporting the Dolphins have offered one of their second round picks (No. 54 overall, while also holding No. 42 overall) for his services. If the deal gets done, Miami will undoubtedly turn their eyes towards a cornerback. More specifically, according too CBSSports Jason La Canfora, Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.
The Dolphins, while making a splash in free agency, have yet to replace the loss of left tackleJake Long and top corner Sean Smith, and their priority is to do both, with acquiring a tackle now their goal, sources said. The team is very high on Alabama corner Dee Milliner, and he would be a prime target with the 12th overall pick if they can land Albert (Cleveland, with the sixth-overall pick, is looking hard at Milliner).
Milliner is the drafts top cornerback. The Eagles and Browns our widely speculated to have high interest in him. The Lions happen to sit in between both. If the Eagles pass, the Dolphins may inquire with the Lions over the 5th pick.
After an aggressive free agency — in which it saw the team spend over $175 million on players such as Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, and Phillip Wheeler — the team has two major holes to fill heading into the season, left by the aforementioned departures of Jake Long and Sean Smith. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland holds five picks inside the top 100 picks, most by any team. He also holds eleven total picks, making it feasible to maneuver.
The Dolphins believe they can contend — and with their top two needs within grasping distance — Ireland may see now the chance to seize the opportunity.
For Detroit it would mean greater value, allowing them to look at every positional need, including guard Chance Warmack or Ansah among others.
Stockpiling picks, in a draft that features an abundance of mid-round prospects, would be very wise with the uncertainty along the top tier of the draft.
Make sure to check back with Detroit Jock City April 25th, as Bradley La Brie and Tony Fischer live blog the 2013 NFL Draft.