Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 20, 2013

James Cook: Hoping Lions trade down

Sports writer

---- — The Lions pick at No. 5.

At least that's when they're scheduled to.

This is the year I hope the Lions finally pull the trigger and trade down to acquire extra picks in the second and third rounds, which are rich in talent at positions Detroit needs (defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver and safety).

But, assuming the Lions stay put at No. 5, it's among the hardest years to determine what four players will go ahead of them.

This year's draft has so much parity between picks one and 15 that it's next to impossible to accurately predict the top 5 picks. Guys are flying up and down the charts so much more than previous drafts.

Fisher is a safe pick, which is what Lions GM Martin Mayhew has said he wants. With questions about BYU defense end Ziggy Ansah's age arising, if Fisher is there, he's the selection. Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner is also a consideration, but Mayhew's history has been to try to find corners later instead of earlier.

At worst, Fisher is Jeff Backus, an above-average NFL-caliber left tackle for a decade. But he also has more upside to be a dominant LT for a decade, and being a Michigan native makes it less likely he'd try to bolt via free agency.

Fisher and Riley Reiff give the Lions a pair of young tackles to protect Matthew Stafford and give Calvin Johnson even more time to get open. That, and the addition of Reggie Bush, could make Detroit's offense powerful enough that even a mediocre defense can get them to the playoffs, like in 2011.

Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan