Allen Park — The best thing that happened to the Lions during last week’s draft is what didn’t happen.
The Lions reportedly tried to move up from the 13th pick to the Cardinals’ fifth pick in order to draft LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Peterson was by far the best corner available in the draft and getting him would have instantly fulfilled a need for the Lions.
But at what cost?
The Lions offered their first, second and fourth-round picks to move up the eight spots.
The Cardinals, obviously, scoffed at the offering and a deal was not made. They selected Peterson themselves.
We got a good idea of what it would have taken to get the pick when the Falcons made a trade to move into the Browns’ No. 6 spot — the pick just after the Cardinals’.
The Falcons wanted Alabama receiver Julio Jones and paid exceedingly for him. They gave up five picks: this year’s first, second and fourth-round selections, and next year’s first and fourth-rounder.
That’s a lot picks to hand over for one player, even though they’ll likely be late-round picks.
Let’s just pretend for a moment that the Cardinals had accepted the Lions offer of three picks in this year’s draft. The Lions would have gotten Peterson, but wouldn’t have had another pick until the third round (75th overall).
That means no Nick Fairley, and likely no Titus Young or Mikel Leshoure.
I’m not saying Fairley is going to be a better player than Peterson, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Did anyone see the national championship game?
What the Lions would have had to give up to get Peterson just wasn’t worth it, especially after evaluating the Lions haul afterwards. Most experts gave the Lions rave reviews for this year’s class.
I think Fairley is going to be a terrific player and I think the Lions have solidified their defensive front for the next five or six years, at least.
Mix in the explosive third receiver (Titus) and power rusher (Leshoure) that the Lions snagged in the second round, and I’m just fine with how things worked out.
The Lions know that cornerback is the deepest position in this year’s free-agent class.
Filling three needs with terrific talent in the first two rounds makes more sense to me than getting one great player at one position of need.
It’s simple math.