Detroit Lions Could Trade Down if Sammy Watkins isn’t Available
Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is regarded as one of the best players coming into this year’s NFL draft. He is ranked No. 1 at the position according to CBSSports.com. He finished his three-year career for the Tigers by defeating Ohio State University in the 2014 Orange Bowl, as well as hoisting the Orange Bowl MVP Trophy for his performance.
The Florida native was a First-team All-American all three years. He was also a First-team All-ACC (2011,2013) and the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011. In his college career, Watkins caught 240 passes for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Despite Watkins being arguably the most talented prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s likely that Watkins will get selected no higher than No. 7 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to the fact that most of the top 10 pick teams need a quarterback, not a receiver. Other teams that are interested are the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 and the Detroit Lions at No. 10.
If any team in the top 10 decides to add the offensive weapon to their roster before the Lions are on the clock, ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein believes that Detroit could trade down if they decide on drafting a cornerback in the first round.
“If Watkins is not available, it could be an option for the Lions — especially if the team does want to take a cornerback in the first round. Detroit could trade down and still nab either Gilbert or Dennard along with stockpiling another pick or two. Or if they feel Loucheiz Purifoy or Marcus Roberson are equal to them — both of those players came to Florida soon after defensive coordinator Teryl Austin departed for the NFL — they could trade down and get one of those two guys. The Lions are in a decent position here, depending how the draft falls. There are needs on this team, but needs that could allow them to trade down and still grab the player they want.”
CBS Sports has named four cornerbacks that could be drafted in the first or second round. If Detroit can find a suitor that is willing to trade up to No. 10, the Lions will be able to add more picks to address their needs at certain positions. The team can even select a wide receiver in the first or second round who could provide major production.
Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State is one example who has the size to match up alongside Calvin Johnson. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Benjamin would bring another target for quarterback Matthew Stafford, along with championship experience after winning the BCS last season.