As Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was in Allen Park yesterday to visit Lions coaches and front office personnel as one of the team’s 30 pre-draft visits. Of all the prospects eligible to be drafted in 2014, Clowney is perhaps the least likely to be picked outside the top five, meaning he’s a lock to be off the board by the time the Lions pick tenth overall.
Spending so much time looking at and meeting with players they know won’t be available at No. 10, such as Clowney and Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins, seems like a waste of time for the Lions unless the club is strongly considering moving up in the draft. It’s possible that Detroit is setting up an elaborate smokescreen, but that doesn’t seem all that beneficial, so we can apply Occam’s razor here — the most plausible explanation is likely the real one.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explored the subject this morning and reached the same conclusion, speculating that perhaps the Lions are trying to get the attention of teams like the Texans and Rams at the top of the draft. In Florio’s view, the Lions would have a better chance at moving up at a reasonable cost if they can get another team to instigate trade negotiations, perhaps playing some of those clubs at the top of the draft against one another.
Still, even if the Lions want to move up, trading into the top three or four from No. 10 won’t come cheaply. Only two years ago, the Rams, who hold this year’s No. 2 pick, traded that same selection for the No. 6 pick, two additional first-rounders, and a second-rounder. No player in 2014’s draft appears to be as strongly coveted as Robert Griffin III was in 2012, so the cost for the second overall pick shouldn’t be quite as exorbitant this time around. But considering most pundits and observers view this year’s draft class as exceptionally deep and talented, the Lions may be better off keeping all their picks and simply selecting the best player available at No. 10.
The question of whether the Lions should trade up largely depends on what the cost would be, so let’s put that aside for now and get your take on whether or not the team will trade up. Feel free to weigh in below in the comments section with your thoughts.