ALLEN PARK, Mich. — One analyst has suggested the Detroit Lions move up from the fifth pick overall to No. 1 in next week’s NFL Draft to take Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.
Another report indicated the Lions actually might try to move back as many as 15 spots or more in an effort to get an additional pick or two later in the draft.
“There’s a lot of rumors,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said Thursday during a pre-draft news conference.
Mayhew scoffed at the notion of going up to No. 1, saying flat-out that it’s “not going to happen.”
“I think there’s a lot of speculation right now because you don’t have those seven immediate, impact starters that change your franchise at the top of this draft,” Mayhew said. “You have a bunch of good, quality players.”
Mayhew didn’t rule out the possibility of dropping back a few notches if the right offer came up.
“We like to keep our options open so we’re ready to move back or do whatever,” he said.
Because there’s seemingly so much balance among this year’s draft prospects, the perception is that it could be difficult to find another team willing to give up an extra pick in order to move up.
Why give up a pick when you can get the same type of talent at No. 15 or 20 that you can at No. 5?
“We’ll get to making those calls (to other teams) this weekend, early part of next week,” Mayhew said. “It’s just something you figure out as you get further along in the process.
“It just takes one team that likes a player (and thinks) that player is the guy that’s going to make an impact for their football team, and them being a little concerned about losing him (by waiting).”
The Lions’ best chance to find someone wanting to move up likely would be if that club is hot for one of the top offensive tackles (Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher) or a quarterback (West Virginia’s Geno Smith), assuming that player is still available.
Whether Mayhew would bite under such a circumstance is another question.
If the Lions stay at No. 5, the top targets presumably include Joeckel, Fisher, Milliner and BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah.
“You certainly expect to get a guy to come in and play a major role for you at five,” Mayhew said.
The NFL Draft begins next Thursday (April 25) with the opening round, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday and the final four rounds Saturday.
Mayhew, on Fisher, who grew up in Rochester, Mich.: “One thing I know about him, he definitely would like to be here. He’s excited about the Detroit Lions and excited about the possibility of being able to stay home. Great young man, very talented young man.”
… Mayhew, on signing Youtube sensation, Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland, to compete in training camp: “We know he can kick the ball in the garbage cans, kick it on the boat and stuff. But he’s got to be able to actually play football. We’ll find out.”
… Mayhew indicated that safety Amari Spievey, who was arrested for a domestic assault last month, will be involved in the Lions’ offseason workout program.