There is little left to sort out in the hours ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, but one of the biggest issues to watch remans whether or not the Detroit Lions elect to trade back or not.
There’s been significant interest in Detroit’s selection already with plenty of rumors flying, and in the hours leading up to the start of the draft, a new team has emerged as a potential trade partner in the form of the New Orleans Saints.
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Lions!
According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the Saints are looking to make a major jump up the draft board, coming into the top 10.
Saints trying to move alllll the way up into Top 10.
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) April 29, 2021
While most would assume the Saints would crave a trade up for a quarterback, Glazer reported that wasn’t the target for the team if they were to come into the top 10. That leaves wideout, offensive line or cornerback as the potential spots of interest for the team.
Not for a QB https://t.co/E0kVr03USH
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) April 29, 2021
The Saints themselves also teased the possibility of something with a simple post on social media, an eyeball emoji.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 29, 2021
Whether or not this adds up to anything from the Lions perspective is worth watching, but it’s clear the team is going to be taking a ton of calls tonight, especially after the first five picks are revealed. It’s possible the Lions could have multiple competing offers for their slot, or the team could just stay put and take a great player.
With just a handful of hours left until the start of the NFL Draft, the intrigue level is high.
Lions Occupying Hot Trade Spot
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, multiple teams including a division rival have been beginning to call around Detroit’s pick, which could be the “hot spot” for a trade in the draft this year. As Pelissero reports, the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots have been reaching out to spots near the bottom of the top 10 where the Lions are entrenched.
Several teams have been making calls about getting into the top 10 of next week’s NFL Draft — including the #Patriots, who could have their eyes on Ohio State QB Justin Fields if he begins to slide. @gmfb @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/GjJazJXZQp
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 26, 2021
“The hot spot right now is at the bottom of the top 10, specifically the Lions at seven and the Panthers at eight have been fielding a lot of phone calls. That makes sense because when you look at Carolina at eight and the Broncos at nine, both those teams are threats to potentially take an offensive tackle or maybe even a quarterback, so if you want one of those two positions you may have to get ahead of them. So who is looking to move up? I can tell you the Eagles have made a lot of phone calls although that is Howie Roseman, he calls everybody every year about every pick just to see what it would take. The Vikings have been active working the phones, that would probably be if one of those offensive tackles looks like they’e sliding. This is an interesting one, the Patriots have been calling around in the top 10 and teams taking those calls believe their target would be Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. It would cost the Patriots a lot to move from 15 up to seven or eight, probably something in the region of a second-round draft pick, but that would be a small price to pay if New England sees an opportunity to land a potential franchise quarterback.”
The Lions have been figured to be open for business for a while, and Brad Holmes admitted as much last week in his pre-draft press conference. Detroit will want to try and squeeze as much out as they can in terms of a potential deal, so if the Patriots want to cough up an extra second-round pick this season as well as a first-round pick in 2022, it could be a good framework for a deal.
The Lions might be content to stay put and make a pick no matter who is on the board, but it is refreshing to hear they are taking everyone’s best pitch at this point in time. That can now include the Saints, perhaps.
What Could Lions and Saints Trade Look Like?
The Lions would probably demand a king’s ransom if they had to trade back to pick 28. Unless the Saints are willing to kick in multiple first-round picks, early draft picks or include a young player at a position of need, the team isn’t likely to be enticed by such an offer. The value simply isn’t there for the Lions, who would probably prefer to sit in the top 10 and take an elite talent for their rebuild. They can afford to be choosy with the Saints and drive a hard bargain to try and entice them to sweeten the offer.
Anything short of 28, 60, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick with potential other middle-rounders thrown in or young players and a deal probably isn’t worth it for the Lions.
Regardless of that, the Saints can now make their best pitch.
READ NEXT: Heavy on Lions Reveals Final Mock Draft 3.0