The Detroit Lions are actively shopping the second overall pick in the NFL draft, a league source said Tuesday, and would be very comfortable trading down, looking to stockpile three or four assets.
The Lions already have been in discussions with other teams about the prospect, according to the source, and have ample time to make such a move before the draft begins April 22.
Given the uncertain labor and economic climate in the league, finding a trading partner might not be easy. However, the possibility remains that a team might want to move into the top two to ensure it lands one of two dominant defensive tackles -- Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy -- who many experts rate as by far the best prospects.
The Lions are trying to rebuild a long-suffering defense, in particular, after sinking considerable high picks and resources into offensive skill players in recent years. They aren't averse to taking the top player on their board, according to the source, but will explore all options for a trade.
The St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 1 overall pick, denied Monday that they were in discussions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to trade that selection, but lots of jockeying and machinations will take place between now and late April. In fact, Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Tuesday that he isn't against dealing the No. 1 pick.
Some teams have interest in Lions linebacker Ernie Sims as well, according to league sources, but the prospect of him being included in any deal along with the No. 2 pick seems bleak now because Detroit values him as a building block on defense. Sims, the ninth overall pick in 2006, has two years remaining on his rookie contract.