Detroit Lions Trade Deadline Preview

Detroit Lions Trade Deadline Preview

by October 20, 2021 0 comments

Many knew the 2021 season would be a rebuilding year for the Detroit Lions. However, six weeks through the season and the Lions are the only team in the NFL without a win. While that is heartbreaking for Lion fans, the future is bright. Not only are they in line for the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the Lions also have two extra future first-round picks because of the Matthew Stafford trade. More importantly, the team has several young players who will be critical parts of the future, including T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. However, with the trade deadline under two weeks away, the Lions should make some moves to add to their future draft capital.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Trade Deadline Previews.

The Lions Current Status

Current Record: 0-6

Division Standings: Last in the NFC North

In the Playoff Picture: No

Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

Current NFL Draft Slot: First Overall

Potential Trade #1: Charles Harris and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Washington Football Team for a 2022 fourth-round pick

Last season, Washington finished sixth in the NFL with 47 sacks. Leading the way was Montez Sweat with nine, while Chase Young finished second with 7.5 sacks. However, the duo has only five sacks this season, three coming from Sweat. Furthermore, the team has only 12 sacks this season, with cornerback Kendall Fuller ranking fourth with one. Part of the problem is the lack of a third passing rushing option at the defensive end position. Last season, Ryan Kerrigan finished third on the team with 5.5 sacks despite playing only 24.8 snaps per game. Furthermore, Washington is an injury to Young or Sweat away from starting James Smith-Williams or Shaka Toney at defensive end. The two seventh-round picks have a combined 0.5 sacks in their NFL careers.

Meanwhile, Harris’ NFL career has been far from a success. As a former first-round pick in 2017, Harris has played for three teams in the past three seasons. However, he had a previous career-high three sacks in 2020 for the Atlanta Falcons. Meanwhile, Harris leads the Lions in sacks this season with four, counting for just under a third of the team’s total. Furthermore, the Lions have no reason to keep Harris around. Instead, they should trade him for a draft pick and create more playing time for younger pass rushers like Austin Bryant and Julian Okwara.

Potential Trade #2: Kalif Raymond and a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2022 fifth-round pick

While the Seahawks are sitting in last place in the NFC West division and are without Russell Wilson for the next couple of weeks, expect them to be buyers at the trade deadline. Whether Geno Smith remains under center or the team sign Cam Newton, the Seahawks need to add a veteran wide receiver. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett might be the best one-two combo in the NFL, but the depth behind them is thin at best. Of the 123 completed passes by the Seahawks, only 65 of them (52.9 percent) have gone to someone other than Metcalf and Lockett. 2021 second-round pick D’Wayne Eskridge has played in only one game this season, leaving Freddie Swain and his 12 catches as the Seahawks’ No. 3 wide receiver.

In the offseason, the Lions signed Raymond to a one-year deal. However, because of the Lions’ limited wide receiver talent, Raymond is second among wide receivers on the team with 20 catches. While Raymond has been the most consistent wide receiver for the Lions this season, he is not part of their future. Therefore, there is no reason for the Lions to keep Raymond past the trade deadline. Not only has he already set a career-high in catches, targets, receiving yards, and touchdowns this season, Raymond has experience returning punts. Meanwhile, Swain is the current punt returner for the Seahawks, averaging only eight yards per return this season. With Raymond off the roster, it will open up playing time for the younger receivers like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Trinity Benson.

Potential Trade #3: 2022 third-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for Brandon Aiyuk and a 2023 sixth-round pick

Speaking of young wide receivers, the 49ers used a 2020 first-round pick on Aiyuk. However, after his impressive rookie season, Aiyuk has struggled this season. There were reports earlier this season that Aiyuk was in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. While Shanahan denied those reports, Aiyuk has regressed this season. After averaging eight targets per game last season, Aiyuk has averaged three targets per game this season, seeing four or fewer in all but one game. Furthermore, Aiyuk’s yards per game have dropped by over 40 yards from his rookie year to this season, while his catch rate has dropped by almost 10 percent. With Deebo Samuel having a breakout season and in line for a massive contract extension soon, the 49ers might decide to move on from Aiyuk.

The Lions will be sellers between now and the November 2 trade deadline. However, if Aiyuk becomes available, the Lions should be aggressive in trade talks, especially with over three years left on his rookie contract. In the offseason, most mock drafts had the Lions taking a wide receiver with their first-round pick. Instead, the Lions passed on Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith for Penei Sewell. Not only did they not use their first-round pick on a wide receiver, but they also waited till the fourth round to select their only wide receiver of the draft. Aiyuk needs a fresh start, and in Detroit, he could reassert himself as a No. 1 caliber wide receiver. If Aiyuk is available in trade talks, the Lions should aggressively try to add him.

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Mike Fanelli is the Editor in Chief and fantasy football expert for Prime Time Sports Talk since 2018. He is a featured writer for FantasyPros. Follow him on Twitter @Mike_NFL2 and reach out anytime with any fantasy football questions.

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