PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Detroit Lions are open for business with the No. 2 overall pick in next month's NFL Draft.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Florida, Lions general manager Brad Holmes said he's had discussions with teams about potentially trading out of the No. 2 pick.
"We've had dialogue with a couple of teams," Holmes said. "I wouldn't say it's been a lot, but there has been a couple teams that we've had some dialogue with."
Jacksonville has the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and there's a lot of momentum building for them to take Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson. The Lions could also be in the market for a pass rusher, but it's a deep class of edge rushers, and the Lions could still get a really good one by trading back a little bit and also adding more draft capital.
Holmes said Tuesday they have a lot of confidence in Jared Goff as their quarterback moving forward, and Detroit's pretty set at offensive tackle other than adding depth. Quarterback and tackle are two positions teams would normally be willing to move up in the draft to select.
"I think definitely we could pull a trade off if the other team is willing before the draft," Holmes said.
Holmes had a couple of discussions last year around this time regarding their No. 7 overall pick, a pick they ultimately used to select tackle Penei Sewell, and those discussions increased as the draft got closer. He expects the same thing to happen this year with their No. 2 pick.
"I would expect for it to heat up," Holmes said. "Especially with the pick that we have this year because it definitely heated up at No. 7 last year. I expect to have more dialogue."
But even if those talks don't end with a trade, Holmes said he and his staff are in a much better position heading into next month's draft than they were this time a year ago. He told reporters that if the draft were happening today, they'd feel good about turning in their card with a name on it at No. 2.
"There's multiple players at multiple positions that if we turn the card in today, we could turn that card in today and sleep well at night," he said. "That's a testament to everyone in our building, our personnel department. We're so far ahead in the process, our scouts."
That should be encouraging for Lions fans to hear because last's year's draft was a very good one for Holmes and the Lions, even with a shortened time to prepare.
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Sewell and third-round pick nose tackle Alim McNeill were both named to the Pro Football Focus All-Rookie Team. Sewell was also named to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie Team. Fourth-round pick wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was the NFL Rookie of the Month in December, and finished the year catching at least eight passes in six straight games. Countless other picks and undrafted rookie free agent signings made important contributions last season and are expected to be key players heading into Year 2.
Now Holmes has the advantage of knowing his own roster much better. He knows the coaching staff and their capabilities to develop players. His scouting department and executive front-office staff have all bought in to his vision, and they have a proven system in place.
Holmes says he's in a really good spot heading into the draft whether that's picking at No. 2 or trading out of it.