General Manager Martin Mayhew’s trading instincts surfaced quickly on Day 2 of the NFL draft.
With the hint that other teams might be after the player he wanted to draft in the second round, Mayhew worked a deal with the Seattle Seahawks and moved up five spots from the Lions’ original spot at No. 45 to No. 40 and took outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy of Brigham Young.
In the trade, the Lions gave up picks in the second, fourth and seventh rounds and got back the Seahawks’ second- and fifth-round picks. Until the trade, the Lions did not have a fifth-round pick.
The Lions are looking for playmakers on a defense that tied for 21st last year with only 22 turnovers – 15 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries – and that was Van Noy’s specialty. He showed a knack for getting to the ball and causing sacks and turnovers
“Five touchdowns, seven interceptions, 26 career sacks,” Mayhew said, ticking off Van Noy’s career stats. “The guy is very productive in every aspect of the game. We liked everything about him.”
Mayhew has a history of trading picks during the draft, and he didn’t wait long in the second round. He had Van Noy targeted in the second round and started looking for a trading partner because of concerns that other teams drafting ahead of the Lions also wanted Van Noy.
The first call went to the Texans, who had the first pick in Round 2, Mayhew said.
“There were a couple teams that we had a concern about,” he said. “We started calling at the very top with Houston and worked our way all the way down until we got somebody where we had a good match as far as draft choices.
“There were a couple teams that we thought were kind of hot spots for him.”
The Lions need a young linebacker who can contribute immediately, and with the potential to develop. After the starting three of
Van Noy and Ziggy Ansah, the Lions’ first-round pick last year, were teammates and roommates at Brigham Young. The Lions got an early line on Van Noy from scouting Ansah a year ago. Their relationship should make Van Noy’s transition to the pro game easier.
“He (Ansah) already texted me and said ‘Great; can’t wait till he gets here,’” Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “It will help Kyle because he is coming into a new situation, and somebody is here to show him the ropes and tell him how it works.”