Revisiting the Roy Williams trade
Now that draft day is a week away and the Lions get to reap the benefits of an extra first-round pick, either through another trade down (and accumulation of more picks) or by taking a player at a position of imminent need, it bears repeating that general manager Martin Mayhew deserves praise for the Roy Williams trade.
Mayhew sent Williams and the Lions' seventh-round pick to Dallas for first-, third- and sixth-rounders minutes before the trade deadline last October. The Cowboys looked like Super Bowl contenders at the time and the picks (No. 20, 82 and 192) turned out better than anyone expected.
Beyond that, it's highly unlikely Mayhew would have been pull off a similar heist today. Forgetting both Williams' contract status (he was a free-agent-to-be and likely would have been franchised) and the poor stats he put up in Dallas (19 catches for 198 yards in 10 games), there are a glut of receivers on the trading block that makes this a buyer's market.
Arizona's Anquan Boldin (coming off a Super Bowl), Cleveland's Braylon Edwards and possibly Cincinnati's Chad Ocho Cinco could be had in a deal. Williams is in the same category as a receiver, but that foursome is so indiscernible he wouldn't have been able to command the type of return now that the Lions got last fall. (Different situations, I know, but Detroit got more than Buffalo did for Jason Peters, maybe the best left tackle in the game.)
Throw in a fairly well-regarded draft class of pass catchers, plus the Lions' own myriad of needs imagine the hole new coach Jim Schwartz would be starting from without a second first-rounder and Mayhew deserves a hindsight A-plus for his maneuvering. Too often in the past, retro grades have gone the other way.