Trade for Seahawks: We knew this was going to happen. New offensive line coach Alex Gibbs didn’t think Sims would fit into his scheme and he basically told him not to show up to camp until a trade was worked out. Anytime you do something like that, you’re pretty much guaranteeing you’ll get less value than you deserve because teams know, if a deal doesn’t get done, you’ll pretty much have to cut that player and then he can be had for free, but I credit the Seahawks for getting a 5th rounder for him. In an offseason where a starting cornerback gets you a 4th rounder, a star wide receiver gets you a 3rd and a 4th rounder, and a franchise quarterback gets you a 2nd and a 3rd, getting a 5th rounder for a starting caliber guard that doesn’t fit your scheme is not a bad. Decent trade.
Trade for Lions: Since this trade went down, all I am hearing is pretty much this “Yeeaahh, Lions, getting an offensive line upgrade for a 5th rounder, now we can draft Ndamukong Suh with the 2nd overall pick. Yeaahh! ESPN says Suh is the greatest thing in the history of the world. Yeaaahhh! Defensive Tackles! Patch work offensive lines! Yeaaaaahhh!”
I will agree that this pick makes it more likely that the Lions take Suh, but that’s not a good thing. Rob Sims is a decent guard. Jeff Backus is still a horrible left tackle. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Backus is not the guy you want protecting Stafford in his developmental years. The Lions should take Okung anyway, move Backus to right guard, and keep their defensive line the way it is. I’d rather have a patch work defensive line and a stud left tackle than a patch work offensive line and a stud defensive tackle.
With Okung, Sims, Raiola, Backus, and Cherilus, that’s a very good offensive line. You’ve already gotten Stafford some good receivers, surround him with a great offensive line like that and use a 3rd or 4th rounder on another running back to pair with Kevin Smith behind that offensive line and you have, at least, a top 15 offense next year with a ton of potential for the future. Then use 2 picks in the first 4 rounds on defensive backs and your late rounders on depth front 7 guys and you have a fairly solid defense for the future. That’s a 7 or 8 win team next year and, with a few more smart drafts, that’s a 10, 11, 12 win team in 2 or 3 years.
You take Suh, you get an upgrade over the already decent Corey Williams at defensive tackle and a somewhat more decent front 7. Stafford takes 35-40 sacks again with Backus at left tackle and the scrubs they had at right guard last year still starting. Your offense struggles, Stafford either doesn’t develop right and gets David Carr syndrome or gets hurt. Your defense is a little bit stronger than it would have been with Corey Williams instead of Ndamukong Suh, but it doesn’t matter. You’re still a 5, 6, 7 win team spending 100 million dollars on the defensive tackle position and 73 million on a borderline starter quarterback and then in 4 or 5 years, you probably have to start all over because Stafford’s salary is too large to justify at his current rate of production. Not to mention, for the most part, offensive tackles are safer than defensive tackles.
As for what I think they will do, I’d say it’s 50-45 in favor of Okung, with that extra 5 percent going to the likelihood that they trade down and take a defensive back with the 5th-9th pick. That’s going to be very hard to do, but would not be an awful idea, granted they use the 2nd round pick they pick up to draft a left tackle like Roger Saffold or Jared Veldheer. It would certainly be better than tying up 65 million dollars in a defensive tackle. I just don’t think that’ll happen. Trading out of the top 5 is very hard to do, let alone the top 3 when there’s no franchise quarterbacks teams feel they need to move up for. The Browns and Bills know, after the Donovan McNabb trade, that Jimmy Clausen is pretty much guaranteed to be there at 5 where the Chiefs draft so there’s no need to move up to 2 to get him. The only possible trades I could see would be Kansas City moving up to get Okung, not likely, or the Redskins moving up to get Suh, as crazy as it sounds, it’s more likely than the Chiefs moving up. Trading down though, in terms of overall value, might be the smartest move because they’d pick up a 2010 and a 2011 2nd rounder in the process, at least, and still get a top 10 pick.
At the end of the day, I still think the Lions will go with Okung, seeing the greater value they can get out of him and I will continue to choose that in my mock draft until I hear something that says otherwise.
Grade: If they still draft Okung: A
If they draft Suh: D