Put your thinking cap on, and let's ponder some trade-down options for the Lions
Allen Park — Perhaps you heard, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn would be more than happy to move back a few spots in the first round of the NFL Draft.
And despite assumptions he might be working some kind of angle, an elaborate smokescreen to throw off his peers to his true intentions, there's little reason for Quinn to bluff in this scenario.
Draft picks, even first-rounders, are far from a sure thing. So, within reason, quantity matters almost as much as quality when it comes to stockpiling picks. Each additional selection is another pull on the slot machine, an extra shot to hit the jackpot.
But Quinn isn't alone in this philosophy. In fact, it's fair to say it's shared by most of the league's decision-makers. So the trick becomes finding a trading partner, when a half the league is just as interested in moving back.
Plus, when it comes to first-round trades, particularly those in the top 10, the cost to trade up can be prohibitive. A team has to really desire a specific player to pull the trigger on those deals, and more often than not, that player is a quarterback.
If Quinn is going to get his wish, the move would likely center around a signal-caller — namely Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, or the long shot possibility the Cardinals pass on Kyler Murray with the first choice and the Heisman winner slides to pick No. 8, where the Lions currently sit.
Looking over the draft order, here are a handful of potential scenarios where the Lions can move back and what they could reasonably expect in return.
Fair or not, the starting quarterback will always be saddled with a larger share of blame than his teammates for a franchise's shortcomings. Andy Dalton has been solid during his eight-year career, but rarely spectacular. He's three years removed from his best season, turning 32 this year, and has no dead money remaining on the six-year extension he signed in 2014.
The Bengals also have a new coach, from the Sean McVay tree, so it's easy to imagine them wanting to build around a young arm going forward.
Holding the No. 11 pick, a three-spot move isn't too costly. Asking for a third-rounder would be a good place to start, but that might be too rich for Cincinnati. A better bet would be Detroit sending the No. 8 and No. 111 selections in exchange for Cincinnati's No. 11, No. 72 and one of the team's four six-round selections.
The Falcons are set at quarterback, but defensive tackle Ed Oliver is talented enough to intrigue. We already know Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn't afraid to aggressively trade up for an elite talent. He once gave up two firsts, a second and two fourths to move up 21 spots for wide receiver Julio Jones.
It wouldn't take nearly that much to move from 14 to eight. The return package would start with Atlanta's third-rounder, No. 79 overall, and probably also include either one of the team's two fourth-round choices, or a future third.
Another team with a quarterback conundrum, Washington starter Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury last season and may never play again. While he continues to recover, the team acquired a stopgap solution in Case Keenum.
If the team isn't counting on Smith returning to action, and they're buying on the potential of Haskins and/or Lock as a franchise quarterback, a trade with the Lions makes sense. Quinn could ask for either Washington's second-round selection (No. 46) or both of the team's third-round choices (No. 76 and No. 96).
Inner-divisional trades aren't common with veteran players, but work fine on draft day. The Vikings need all kinds of help along the offensive line, and if they're worried about the prospects being picked over by the time they're scheduled to be on the clock at No. 18, they could call to gauge Quinn's interest in a swap.
It won't, and shouldn't come cheap. In addition to Minnesota's first-rounder, the Lions could ask for either a future first or Minnesota's second- (No. 50) and third-rounders this year (No. 81). The Lions probably would need to give back a late-round pick to make the latter deal work.
Quinn hinted that a future first-round pick might be too much to pass up if a team selecting in the 20s came calling.
Like Minnesota, the Texans are in serious need of help along the offensive line. Outside observers aren't in love with the top options in this class, but if the Texans like one prospect significantly more than the others, the cost to protect quarterback Dashaun Watson might be worth it.
At pick No. 23, the Lions would be looking at an entirely different crop of prospects, but could find themselves in a better spot to fill one of their bigger roster holes, namely guard or cornerback, with a top prospect at that position.