KEY QUESTIONS: Mayhew, Lions not looking to trade Ndamukong Suh

Posted May 5, 2014

Tim Twentyman covers the key questions from Monday's pre-draft press conference with Martin Mayhew.

General manager Martin Mayhew put to rest any lingering questions about the Lions possibly trading Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh ahead of Thursday’s NFL draft during his pre-draft press conference Monday.

Ndamukong SuhDT Ndamukong Suh (Photo: Gavin Smith)

“We’re not looking to trade him,” Mayhew said. “We have no plans to trade him."

Mayhew said he hasn’t had any discussions with teams since January, when a team called and “offered me a box of old tube socks and I said no thank you.”

Trading Suh isn’t even on the table, according to Mayhew.

Suh holds a $22.4 million cap hit for 2014 and he and the team are trying to work out a long-term extension. An extension that Mayhew says is vital to both the Lions’ short and long-term success.

“The bottom line is winning football games, right?” he asked reporters. “We’re here to win football games. That’s a guy that helps us do that, so I plan on Ndamukong being with us.”

Mayhew admitted there were some scenarios where a trade could make sense, but he’s just not interested in any of them.

How has the pre-draft preparation process gone?

Mayhew had a number of good lines during the 27-minute press conference – the old box of tube socks line was a particularly good one – but he also had a good point when talking about the pre-draft preparation.

The Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the draft is ultimately where Mayhew and the Lions will be graded, but those picks will only be as good as the preparation was leading up to them.

"I think the teams that draft well, you know, it’s not really about what you do on Thursday, Friday, Saturday," Mayhew said. "It’s about what you do leading up to it, and our preparation to this point has been outstanding.

"We feel good about things. Preparation’s been very good and we’re ready to go."

What do the Lions want to get out of the draft?

Last year was one of the best drafts Mayhew and the Lions have had since probably 2009, when he grabbed Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, Louis Delmas and DeAndre Levy.

Ziggy Ansah, Darius Slay, Larry Warford and Sam Martin were all Day 1 starters last year (though Slay was up and down for most of the year). Devin Taylor and Theo Riddick were good contributors and Joe Fauria and LaAdrian Waddle were terrific signings after the draft.

Mayhew said he’s always looking for one simple formula when it comes to the draft.

“We go in to every draft, and we talk about this in the personnel meetings, we want to find three starters in every draft," he said. "We want to find three guys that contribute in every draft and three developmental guys.

"That’s our goal going in to every draft. It’s been that way since 2009 when I first got here. That’s what we seek to achieve. It’s an aspirational goal. You don’t always hit on it. Sometimes you hit a little bit better, so it just varies.”

What are the chances of moving up or down in draft?

The Lions are in an interesting spot at No. 10 this year because they’re probably just outside the reach of getting the draft’s “elite” players, but could still be a terrific trade partner for someone looking to potentially move up for a quarterback or left tackle if one of the top one’s fall.

Mayhew said he has talked to teams about moving up and back and has a limit set on how far he’ll go up and how far he’ll go down.

“I started that process, really, today,” Mayhew said of talking to other GM’s. “I’ve had dialogue with teams ahead of us and behind us, and we always do that. We always explore moving both ways and we try to find the best value that way, whether it’s going up or going back.

“We’re open to staying at 10, open to moving up, open to moving back right now. So, we evaluate all of those opportunities.”

What’s too much to pay or too little to receive moving from No. 10?

That’s the real key to all these pre-draft talks between general managers. The price isn’t set until the 10-minute clock starts to dwindle down and it’s apparent what players are still on or off the board.

One thing is certain, Mayhew will be conscious of price.

“It depends how much those blue chips cost, you know?" he said. "If they cost too much, I’d rather have a couple red chips, so it’s about getting value, I think.

"Whether you move up and get value or move back and get value, so that’s the way I look at it.”

Is there more value in middle rounds this year?

The 98 juniors that declared for the draft, a record, have pushed higher quality players into rounds three and four.

“There are a lot of really good players there,” Mayhew said. “I would agree with you. The grades are higher longer into the process this year.”

“There is a lot of depth in this draft, not just in that area, but going back in round two, round three. There are going to be some really good football players there to be taken, so we’re excited about this process. It’s going to make our football team a lot better. I mean, we’re always excited about the draft, but this is going to make our football team a lot better, I think.”