The Detroit Lions find themselves in unfamiliar territory through seven weeks of the NFL season. Sitting at 5-2, Detroit is currently tied for the second-best record in football. They would be the NFC’s No. 2 seed if the playoffs started today. They hold a two-game lead in the NFC North that they’re trying to win for the first time since 1993. Because of all this, Detroit will have a decision to make at this year’s trade deadline that’s set for Tuesday, October 31st, at 4 p.m. EST.
In years past, we’ve seen Detroit be sellers at the deadline — trading away key players for assets, usually future draft picks. However, the Lions’ strategy this year could be a bit different. With the early season success they’ve enjoyed, Detroit could very well “buy” at the deadline and look to strengthen their current roster. If they decide to go that route, here are seven players they could look to acquire.
Seven Players Lions Should Target
One of the hottest names on the trade market is Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young. The Ohio State product has had an up-and-down career riddled with injuries but is off to a strong start in the 2023 campaign. Through six games, Young has 14 tackles and has already registered five sacks, well on his way to a career-high in that category. In recent weeks, the Lions’ pass rush has struggled mightily; the Detroit defense only has two sacks in their last two games. Young would fit in perfectly on Detroit’s defensive line, lining up opposite Aidan Hutchinson, and wreaking havoc on the opposing team’s offensive line.
Another player on the move could be Young’s teammate and fellow defensive end Montez Sweat. Coming out of Mississippi State in 2019, Sweat has enjoyed a productive career in Washington. He has 34.5 career sacks and has been one of the most dependent players on a very good Washington defensive line. As mentioned earlier, Detroit needs all the help it can get to help improve the pass rush, and Sweat would be a great addition.
Notice a theme here?
Defensive end Carl Lawson has fallen out of the New York Jets‘ rotation this year, in large part because of how elite the Jets’ front seven is on defense. Lawson is no longer needed in New York and could be a trade candidate as the deadline approaches. He’s played in just four games this season for New York and hasn’t been very productive, registering just three tackles. He did, however, have an impressive 2022 campaign and if Lions general manager Brad Holmes is looking to acquire depth for the defensive line without breaking the bank, Lawson could be a viable option.
The Carolina Panthers are in a freefall, having yet to win a game seven weeks into the NFL season. Because of this, they’re rumored to be a seller at the deadline. One player they could move is cornerback Donte Jackson, who could be an enticing option for a Detroit team dealing with injuries to their secondary. Similar to Lawson, Jackson has had a bit of down season compared to years past, and would most likely come at a cheap price. The Detroit defense has played at a high level overall this season, but one area they’ve struggled in is defending the pass. The Lions are currently in the bottom half of the league in that department, allowing over 240 yards per game through the air. Jackson would come in and provide some stability to the back end of Detroit’s defense.
The Lions don’t necessarily need to add to their receiver room, but it wouldn’t hurt to kick the tires and see what the Denver Broncos‘ asking price would be for former first-round pick Jerry Jeudy. Detroit’s got contributions this year from Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, and Josh Reynolds, and second-year receiver Jameson Williams is continuing to get acclimated in the Lions’ offense. Jeudy would provide more depth to the Detroit receiver room, especially after the release of Marvin Jones. It’d be a bit of a surprise to see the Lions trade for a receiver when there are bigger needs across the roster, but you can’t rule anything out around this time of year.
Here’s where things get fun.
Is it likely? No, but one can dream. Adding defensive end Maxx Crosby would do wonders for the Lions’ defense. The Eastern Michigan product is off to a blistering start in his fifth season, stuffing the stat sheet with 40 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and is toward the top of the league in quarterback pressures. With the Las Vegas Raiders going in the wrong direction, they may have no choice but to trade some of their star players, including Crosby. Lions fans will get a chance to see him up close this week as the two teams face off on Monday Night Football, and with another Raiders loss, the firesale could begin. It’s a long shot but never say never.
With recent reports that the Broncos will be shopping all of their players including star cornerback Patrick Surtain, it’d be in Holmes’ best interest to call and see what it’d take to acquire the All-Pro. Surtain would be a lockdown corner for the Lions and immediately help solve the issues they’ve faced in the secondary this season. In 235 coverage snaps, Surtain has only allowed one touchdown while playing for one of the worst defenses in the NFL. That’s quite impressive considering the Denver defense has been on the field often as well as the talent playing beside him. Surtain would cost a pretty penny; Detroit would have to trade at least a first-round pick and then some if they wanted to acquire the 23-year-old. Like Crosby, the odds of acquiring Surtain are slim, but it’s something to monitor as the deadline approaches.
As we get closer to Tuesday’s deadline, the rest of the league will be watching to see what the Lions do.