Detroit Lions' NFL draft plan for No. 7 pick should be more clear after Friday's trades

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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For the Detroit Lions, trading out of the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NFL draft might have just gotten more difficult.

The Miami Dolphins made two big trades Friday that will have a ripple effect on the rest of the first round.

They traded the No. 3 pick to the San Francisco 49ers for a package of picks that includes the No. 12 pick overall, then used the 12th pick to move back up to No. 6 in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, one spot ahead of the Lions.

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The 49ers are considered one of a dozen or so quarterback-needy teams in the draft, and their move Friday all but guarantees quarterbacks will go with the first three picks.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes speaks to the media on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Allen Park.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1. The New York Jets have the option of taking a quarterback at No. 2 and trading Sam Darnold, or keeping Darnold and auctioning the pick off to the highest bidder. And the 49ers could choose from the likes of BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes has not ruled out taking a quarterback at No. 7 — he and head coach Dan Campbell have attended the pro days of Lance and Wilson this spring — but it now is looking increasingly unlikely that any of the top four quarterbacks will be available.

The Atlanta Falcons at No. 4 also are in need of a longtime solution at the position, and the Carolina Panthers at No. 8 are lurking in a possible trade up.

[ Penn State LB Micah Parsons wows at pro day: 'I’m the most versatile player in this class' ]

Holmes has been busy this offseason acquiring more draft capital to lead the Lions through their rebuild.

He added a third-round pick this year and first-round choices in 2022-23 in January’s trade of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, and some around the league believe he wants to acquire more picks by trading down in the draft.

With no quarterback to come up for — Alabama’s Mac Jones is another potential top-15 pick at the position — Holmes might have a hard time finding a trading partner at No. 7.

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Friday’s moves, however, make it more likely the Lions will land one of the best non-quarterbacks in the draft.

If quarterbacks go with the first four picks, the Lions could be left with one of Penei Sewell, Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts, the best offensive lineman, wide receiver and tight end, respectively, in the draft, and three of the top prospects overall.

Alabama receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons are other potential top-10 picks.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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