An article on MLive the other day suggested that there may be a possibility to trade down with Miami in the upcoming NFL Draft. While many fans consider this a no-brainer move I tend to disagree in this case quite a bit. Miami is reportedly targeting one of the top offensive tackles in the draft that includes 3 who are rated higher than our Reily Reif was when we drafted him. Jake Loekel and Eric Fischer of CMU are ranked on ESPN.com in their Scout's Inc. list as the #1 and #2 player sin the draft by rating. Lane Johnson is also considered to be a higher rated draftee than Reiff was and he is rated as the #10 player on ESPN.
A trade with Miami considering trade value would likely get the Lions their #12 and #42 picks. Giving the Lions an extra 2nd rounder this year to move down 7 slots. Intriguing? Yes, but what about our actual need for an OT?
The Lions right now have 3 guys ultimately vying for TWO OT starting spots. With the retirement of Jeff Backus, and Gosder Cherilus signing elsewhere the Lions will be forced to start 2 brand new OTs next season. Riley Reiff, or 1st round pick from 2 years ago has yet to start on a regular basis. Only playing as a quasi 6th OL in a lot of games last year set up a step behind the line outside as a bit of a TE. Then we have Hilliard, and Jason Fox also competing for the two spots. A lot of talk this off season has claimed that Reiff may only be at best a RT, and even some have claimed that he could even move to offensive guard. Hilliard is a good OT, but at best maybe an average RT. Jason Fox has zero experience and has been wasting away on the Lions roster for 3 years now with various injuries as a "project" that they got late in the draft. We aren't exactly looking at an exceptional group of OTs here now are we?
The Lions are MUCH more in need of an OT than people claim. If Fischer for example is there at 5, why in the hell would the Lions pass up a potential franchise LT for that extra 2nd round pick? Many say that the extra pick makes it completely worth it, but in my mind right now, OT is by far our greatest need. At #12 we'd be very lucky to have a chance at Lane Johnson, but most say he will be gone by then as well. As early as #7. WE NEED an OT more than just about anyone there is. IF we can get one of those guys we have to do it. What extra 2nd rounder would be very nice, but at the cost of a franchise LT, right now, with what we have right now I don't think I make that trade. Especially when Mayhew has yet to prove he can utilize picks outside the 1st round in a consistent manner. If we can't get that OT we may well be looking at a disaster ofa season that sees Matt Stafford regress, or even injured due to the lack of OT talent on the roster. Protecting Stafford and allowing him to excel is worth much more to me than an extra 2nd round pick will ever be.
Now if Mayhew can use some pneumatic swing clamps to go a head and pull a 2014 1st rounder out of the deal along with maybe a 2013 3rd rounder...that is something else. A 2nd rounder vs. a franchise LT is another matter to me. Now is Fischer (Out likely best shot at one of the top 2 OTs rank wise) a franchise OT? Is LAne Johnson as good, and going to be available at 12? Is there another OT later in the draft that you consider good enough to beat out Hilliard? (Fox I am just gonna disregard entirely until I see him even play extended minutes).