The Detroit Lions have a hole in their 2015 NFL Draft thanks to the trade that brought them Haloti Ngata from the Baltimore Ravens. As it stands now, the Lions will be waiting a while to get their turn on day three of the draft as a result of sending their fourth and fifth round picks to the Ravens.
There is a two-round gap in the middle of the Lions draft, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. The trade down always seems to be the preferred draft strategy among Lions fans and that would certainly go a long way to helping fill in the gaps. With the missing picks coming in the fourth and fifth round, even a second round trade down could do wonders for the Lions’ draft choice numbers.
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But picking up extra picks by trading back isn’t the only way the Lions could fill the void. Martin Mayhew could choose to fill the gap by trading away a 2016 draft pick. As a general rule of thumb, gaining a pick by trading a future pick comes at a one-round premium.
We saw this in 2012 when the Lions acquired the Minnesota Vikings’ pick in the fifth round (138 overall, used to select Tahir Whitehead) in exchange for a swap of 2012 seventh round picks and the Lions’ 2013 fourth round pick.
That might sound like robbing Peter to pay Paul, and it is to an extent, but the Lions use this strategy to fill gaps in 2015 without creating gaps in 2016. With the expectation that the Lions will receive compensatory selections in 2016 for the loss of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, probably a third for Suh and either a fourth or fifth for Fairley, the Lions could dip into next year’s draft choices as trade chips. Compensatory picks can’t be traded, especially when they haven’t even been awarded for 2016, but normal picks due to each team in each round can be put on the trading block.
Martin Mayhew has made a habit of moving around the draft board with trades, so we should expect more of the same in the 2015 NFL Draft.
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