The Detroit Lions kicked off their 2023 NFL Draft with a trade down. With a little help from Arizona Cardinals assistant general manager Dave Sears—who was poached from the Lions this offseason—Detroit moved back from Pick 6 to Pick 12 overall. The entire terms of the trade were;
- Pick 12
- Pick 34 (second round)
- Pick 168 (fifth round)
- Pick 6
- Pick 81 (third round)
As we broke down on draft weekend, that turned out to be a pretty favorable deal for the Lions. Detroit used the 12th pick on running back Jahmyr Gibbs, the 34th pick on tight end Sam LaPorta, and ended up trading the 168th pick back to Arizona to move up and get defensive tackle Brodric Martin in the third round.
This week, the Cardinals released their behind-the-scenes draft video, and it reveals the moment in which Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort orchestrates the trade. It’s a frenetic scene as Ossenfort—who had just traded down from Pick 3 to 12—aggressively pursues a trade up for either the fifth (Seahawks), sixth (Lions), or seventh pick (Raiders).
(Full Cardinals behind-the-scenes draft video is here)
It’s a fascinating look at how fast-paced the action is in war rooms, even if it often feels like things are dragging along at a snail’s pace from the broadcast point of view.
While we don’t get a ton of information from the Lions point of view, there is one critical moment that reveals an interesting piece of information. Ossenfort is (presumably) on the phone with Lions general manager Brad Holmes, and while we don’t hear what Holmes said, we can deduce what he asked for based on Oseenfort’s side of the conversation.
Ossenfort: “Hey bud, how are you? You guys picking here or what are you thinking? Yeah, I think we’d do (pick) 34 and then we would need something back. [editing cut] No, no we wouldn’t do a ‘24 one.”
In other words, the Lions tried to counter Ossenfort’s original proposal of Pick 34 by asking for a 2024 first-round pick.
It’s a smart ask of the Lions. Arizona is clearly in a transition period, and they’ve currently got the highest odds to get the first overall pick in next year’s draft, per ESPN. Of course, that’s probably why the Cardinals turned Detroit down, but there’s no harm in asking.
Eventually, both teams got what they wanted. Arizona moved up and took offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., while the Lions got extra draft assets that they used to reload their offensive weapons with a running back they were reportedly prepared to take at six and a tight end who has already made splashes in offseason activities.