Lions comfortable at No. 7, but exploring trade options, both up and down
It's been a while since Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes has had to prepare for the first round of the NFL Draft. His former organization, the Los Angeles Rams, haven't picked in the first round since 2016, and unless something changes, they aren't scheduled to again until 2024.
So with the Lions holding a top-10 selection for next week's draft, the first-year GM is understandably excited about the possibilities.
The team has zeroed in on a cluster of players they like at No. 7, but Holmes is also performing his due diligence on the alternatives, noting the asset is "extremely valuable."
As you might expect, the Lions have already fielded some calls from teams interested in potentially moving up, whether for one of the draft's top quarterbacks, or possibly another position player like Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Perhaps more unexpected is Holmes isn't dismissing the possibility of the Lions being one of the teams interested in jumping up for an unnamed target.
"At seven, we do have a cluster of players that we're comfortable with picking, but at the same time, we would be very prepared and also willing to move in either direction," Holmes said. "So we're still open in those regards, but there is a cluster of players that we would be comfortable with."
The early expectations remain the first three picks this year will be quarterbacks, with the Jaguars taking Trevor Lawrence, the Jets snagging Zack Wilson and the 49ers, who traded up to No. 3 last month, targeting either Mac Jones, Justin Fields or Trey Lance, with the betting line currently favoring Jones.
With the Falcons, Bengals and Dolphins still ahead of the Lions, the franchise would likely to be looking at one of the remaining quarterbacks, a top pass-catcher or offensive lineman at No. 7. Which of those that could compel Holmes to go up the board remains a mystery.
As for sliding back and acquiring more draft capital, most of the discussed possibilities have involved another team, such as Denver, New England or Washington, targeting one of the quarterbacks.
While some general managers openly discuss how many players in a given class have a first-round grade, Holmes declined to state the number of "blue-chip prospects" on the board this year. Regardless of that number, he also stated there wasn't a limit on how far he'd be willing to trade back if the compensation was right.
"No, I wouldn't say there's a floor," Holmes said. "That probably would be pigeonholing yourself or even — I'm very, very leery of anchors, I would say. I try to avoid as many anchors as possible. You always want to kind of go into it through having a sound process of doing all the work and kind of knowing, OK, if you did slide back here then you're looking at this subset of players potentially, and so how do we feel about those players? If you moved up, might be looking at this player. I think that just goes back to the preparation period and not having to anchor yourself with a certain floor there."