The Detroit Lions would benefit from an expected rule change for the 2016 NFL Draft that will allow teams to trade compensatory picks for the first time.
Per Adam Schefter’s report today, for the first time this spring, the NFL is likely to allow teams to trade compensatory draft picks. This ruling would affect all NFL teams – it should make for wheeling and dealing on draft day – but the Detroit Lions would especially benefit, and, in particular, in this upcoming draft.
Compensatory picks are not officially awarded or announced until spring, but the Lions are projected to have a couple additional. their compensatory pick for losing Ndamukong Suh in free agency is projected to be the highest – a third rounder.
That projected third round compensatory pick looked to be helpful to the Lions, but now that they can trade the pick, it gives them added flexibility and ammunition. The Lions are without their own 2016 third round draft pick as they dealt that pick away to the Philadelphia Eagles last year in their trade up to draft Gabe Wright.
Now that teams are expected to be able to trade compensatory picks, it would not be surpirsing to see the Lions use that (projected) third round compensatory pick (slotted for the end of the third round), to try and trade up closer to the top of the third round, or even into the 2nd round, to target a player they really like.
There is also an expectation that the team will receive a fifth round compensatory selection for losing Nick Fairley. As a later round pick, that won’t provide the same juice to move up in the draft, but could be used in combination with a later round pick to position the Lions somewhere else in the middle of the draft.
In the past, the Lions have shown a penchant for bundling draft picks to trade up and draft players they really like (Alex Carter, Gabe Wright and Kyle Van Noy, for starters). This expected new ruling will give them even more opportunity to do so – especially in this particular draft year.
With a new GM in place by that time, the new regime will really have a great chance to make some significant improvements to the Lions, moving forward. They’ll have plenty of picks, they’ve just been given the gift of flexibility. Now all they have to do is pull off some wise draft-day trades, and pick the right players.
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We will see what happens, but this year’s draft will definitely be an exciting time for Lions fans!