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Lions getting lots of attention with the #2 pick.

Lions getting lots of attention with the #2 pick.

It doesn’t take long this time of year for the NFL gossip to heat up and I have spent most of the day working the phones around the league. The Lions have had several teams make it emphatically clear that they are in desperate lust of the Lions #2 pick should Calvin Johnson the wide receiver out of Georgia Tech still be on the board. Now it is just a matter of time to see what the Raiders do.

Late last week the Raiders opened contract talks with both Johnson and Russell trying to get the big QB from the Bayou to blink and take a deal for less money then he could get after the draft. Those discussions are going well according to a source close to Russell but they certainly are not done.

It would appear that the NFL’s most eccentric owner (Al Davis) has seen all he needs and if a deal can get done it will be with Russell. This being the NFL draft that also means that they could trade down and pick a kicker. Reality however and conventional wisdom has the Lions holding the cards as all teams seem to be getting the same info that the Raiders have zeroed in on the man that Davis compared with John Elway.

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So what do the Lions do? Tampa is salivating all over for Johnson and they have made the Lions acutely aware that should they get on the clock and Johnson is still on the board that they want to dance. The interesting fact is that so have at least three other teams. The Lions would love to trade out of the pick to simply acquire more. They have more holes then picks and Marinelli and Millen refuse to let themselves fall in love with any particular pick at this point. Sarge knows that there isn’t one player in this draft that makes the Lions a Super Bowl team, so they will exercise the thing they have demanded from their players: discipline.

I must confess that I am a huge Patrick Willis guy and the Lions could not go wrong in picking the man that I feel (as do several scouts) is the best defensive player in the draft. The great mike linebacker from Ole’ Miss would look great in Honolulu blue and silver. I spent time with Willis at the combine and he told me then “the Lions would be a great fit. I love the way Coach Marinelli does things. I just love football and want to play and he is the same way.” One SEC coach told me today "Willis is all of that. He is a beast. He didn't play for me but if I was picking I would find that kid and get him. He is a football player."

A scenario that lets the Lions trade down and pick up a defensive weapon is just smart and certainly would make a lot of sense. It would also open some doors for them to accumulate picks and fill some other needs. I like what the Bronco’s are cooking. They want to give the Lions their first this season (#21 overall) as well as a first next season, and their second and third rounder this year. To me that drops you down where you may have move up a few spots to get Willis but it leaves you with a bevy of more picks that allow you to address needs now and for the future. What if they can’t move up and get Willis? Is there still enough talent to warrant trading down?

One thing is certain. If the Raiders take Russell the Lions are in the drivers seat the will take a real long hard look at trading. Trading down is something at this point I am certain they will do if Johnson is still on the board when there pick is up. How far? Who knows! Ask me tomorrow, I am sure that will change it is the NFL draft anyhow!