Detroit Lions: Trading into 2019 third round won’t be easy

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Trades during the 2018 NFL Draft left the Detroit Lions without a third round pick in 2019. Getting back in that round will not be easy.

Intent on fixing their running game, the Detroit Lions used their first two picks int he 2018 NFL Draft on players who should provide a big help in that regard next season. Frank Ragnow was apparently an easy pick for the Lions when he was available at their regularly scheduled first round pick but the team made a move up in the second round to grab running back Kerryon Johnson.

The move up eight spots cost the Lions’ their pick in the fourth round. Instead of leaving a gap in the team’s 2018 draft, Bob Quinn once again called up his former team to acquire the a fourth round pick from the New England Patriots (used to select Da’Shawn Hand) in exchange for the Lions’ third round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

One hole filled, another hole created.

But unlike the 2018 draft in which the Lions entered with just six total picks, the Lions are much better stocked for the 2019 draft. Trades last offseason of Laken Tomlinson and Johnson Bademosi netted picks in the fifth and sixth rounds respectively. That number of picks has grown this offseason with a projected compensatory pick at the end of the sixth round for net-losses in free agency and a pick in the seventh round from the trade of Akeem Spence to the Miami Dolphins.

Assuming that projected compensatory pick comes to fruition, the Lions will stand with ten picks int he 2019 draft, but will have a big hole on day two. Quinn found a way to plug a hole in the 2018 draft board, will he do it again next season?

The additional draft capital will certainly help but unfortunately those late-round picks don’t have a lot of value. NFL Draft pick charts attempt to assign a numerical value to each pick and with that as a guide we can try to identify how Bob Quinn might be able to move the Lions into the third round next year, if he so desires.

There are a few different pick value charts out there but the one posted on DraftTek has some nice features to it and there isn’t much variation in the values from site to site. At this point we’re talking in generalities and orders of magnitude so there is no reason to get hung up on slight differences in pick value from chart to chart. The other unknown in this analysis is the 2019 draft order so I’ll stick with the 2018 draft order as the basis. I’m not sure any of the teams involved will see a dramatic swing one way or the other so we should be safe since this is a rough look anyway.

Round three starts with pick 65 overall and carries a point value of 265. The round ends with pick 96 at 116 points. To get into the third round, the Lions will need to come up with about 116 to 265 points in value, depending on where they would like to land in the round. The midpoint of the round would be about the 80th overall pick, which is pegged at 190 points.

It is in reaching that point total range that could prove problematic. With the hole in the third round the Lions’ next highest pick is their own pick in the fourth. If we give the Lions the 20th overall pick in each round, that gives them 54 points in round four, 28.2 points in round 5 for their own pick and an additional 32.6 points for the ninth pick in the round from the 49ers. In the sixth they get 13.4 points for their original pick, nine points for the Patriots pick and we’ll ballpark five points for the projected compensatory pick. The two seventh round picks each give the Lions’ one additional point.

Add it all up and it totals 144.2 points, or enough to get about the 25th pick in the third round. Not great. Trading away your entire day three for a late pick on day two is not a solid plan. The extra picks the Lions will have in the 2019 NFL Draft are nice but this is not the path to getting back into the third round.

That said, Quinn can still make it happen but the best way to do so will be with some wheeling and dealing earlier in the draft. Instead of looking to use extra picks to move up, Quinn will need to be looking to use his first and second round picks to move down if he hopes to end up with a pick in round 3.

A trade down from 20th overall (850 points) to 26th (700 points) would be enough to add the 26th pick in the third round (140 points) with a swap of sixth and seventh round picks to make up the residual point difference.

A similar move down in the second round could net an additional fourth round pick, making it much more feasible to put together a package to move into the third round without decimating the team’s entire pool of day three picks.

Next: Why trading up for Da'Shawn Hand was a good move

Quinn hasn’t been an active trader during his three drafts as general manager of the Detroit Lions. He has made just three total trades during the draft and all three have been with the Patriots. If filling the hole in the third round is a priority, he’ll have to improve on his track record to make it happen.