NFL Draft News & Analysis

Sikkema: Three 2022 NFL Draft trades I would hate to see

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Draft day trades are inevitable. On average, there have been just over five Day 1 trades per year since 2011, including the five we saw last year.

While bad draft-day trades aren't as inevitable, there is always a possibility of them happening. There is always a chance a team could do something desperate, rash or simply misguided once the clock starts ticking and the pressure is on.

Earlier this week, I identified six realistic trades I would love to see. Now, we’re flipping the script to talk about three realistic trades I would hate.

DETROIT LIONS TRADING TO NO. 1

Right now, the Lions are set to pick at No. 2 in the 2022 NFL Draft and will basically have their pick of any player in the draft. I use the word “basically” because there will be exactly one (1) player unavailable to them to pick at No. 2 — and it turns out that he might be the player they want the most.

The strengths of this class, at least at the very top, are offensive tackle and defensive line. Six of the top 10 players on PFF’s big board come from the trenches. The only team picking in front of Detroit is the Jacksonville Jaguars, and given Jacksonville's decision to franchise tag offensive tackle Cam Robinson and sign Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff, an offensive line selection no longer appears to be a realistic option.

It feels like the Jags are honing in on edge rusher and one edge rusher in particular: Aidan Hutchinson. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Michigan product is PFF's No. 1 ranked player in the class, and it’s easy to think he’d be No. 1 on the Lions’ big board, as well.

2022 NFL Draft: PFF's top edge rushers
PLAYER PFF BIG BOARD RANK PFF PASS-RUSH GRADE
Aidan Hutchinson 1 94.3
Kayvon Thibodeaux 4 91.5
George Karlaftis 10 90.6
Travon Walker 14 65.8
David Ojabo 24 87.3

Because of all this, some have floated the idea of the Lions moving up one spot to get the guy they really want in this class. I would really push back on that.

In 2017, the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers swapped the second and third picks in the draft for the Bears to draft quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. It cost the Bears two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick.

Moving up to No. 1 would cost the Lions just as much or more, which feels counterproductive for a team that took on Jared Goff’s contract a year ago in exchange for added draft capital. Hutchinson boasts the top PFF pass-rush grade among his classmates this year at 94.3, but the other two edge rushers on PFF’s top-10, Kayvon Thibodeaux and George Karlaftis, also posted elite pass rush grades above 90.0.

Detroit’s roster needs as much new talent in the form of top-100 picks as it can get over the next two years. Hutchinson is the top guy, but not by far enough of a margin to take steps away from that plan.

CAROLINA PANTHERS TRADING BACK FROM NO. 6

Prior to the draft, the goal for every team is to patch holes in their roster so they can draft the best player available as the draft falls to them. That’s the goal, but unfortunately, that’s not a reality for every team.

Carolina goes into the draft with two glaring needs: one at offensive tackle, the other at quarterback. And even though they currently hold a top-10 pick, they don’t have much else when it comes to addressing those (and other) needs.

Because of the Sam Darnold trade a year ago, the Panthers are without their second- and fourth-round picks, and the early-season trade for cornerback C.J. Henderson cost them their third-rounder. They do have a fourth-round pick they got from the Houston Texans, but that’s not until Pick 137.

Given the massive gap between No. 6 and No. 137, one would think a trade down would be smart for the Panthers, but I would disagree. I believe they have to go offensive line or quarterback in the top six. So if they're not in on the quarterback class, it has got to be offensive line.

Carolina's failure to draft or quarterback to give them hope beyond Darnold or any of the three top offensive tackles in Evan Neal, Charles Cross or Ikem Ekwonu would likely constitute an offseason failure.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS TRADING BACK FROM NO. 9

The Seahawks weren’t even in the first-round conversation when the offseason began. But then they traded their franchise quarterback.

With all due respect to Drew Lock, the move away from Russell Wilson leaves the Seahawks with an obvious need at quarterback. And that’s not even the only need at a premium position they have.

Seattle also has needs at cornerback and edge rusher. The offensive line could also use an upgrade, especially since it seems like Pete Carroll wants to run the ball more with Wilson gone.

With multiple needs across important positions, one would think a trade-back could be the right move. And, honestly, if they can trade back and keep multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, I wouldn’t totally hate it. However, with the Wilson trade, the Seahawks have a first-round pick, two second-round picks, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick this year, plus two first-round picks and two second-round picks next year. To me, that's plenty of darts to throw at the dartboard.

Put simply, they need more than more darts — they need to move closer to the target. They do that by picking high in the order. Make the pick at No. 9 and have a better chance at acquiring an impact player. They don’t just need bodies to get the most out of moving Wilson. They need the right bodies.

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