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Would the Lions trade up for WR Sammy Watkins?

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

There's no way Sammy Watkins ends up in Detroit, right? (USATSI)
There's no way Sammy Watkins ends up in Detroit, right? (USATSI)

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Just about everyone agrees that Sammy Watkins is the best wide receiver in the 2014 draft class. And depending on which mock draft you consult, he could go anywhere from No. 2 to No. 8. Meanwhile, the Lions, well-stocked at wideout and with plenty of other needs, have the No. 10 pick.

There's no way Watkins falls that far and even if he does, Detroit wouldn't even consider taking him, right?

On the surface, it sure seems implausible. Matt Millen hasn't been with the team since 2008, and in addition to Calvin Johnson, one of the league's best receivers, the Lions signed Golden Tate, and have Ryan Broyles and Kris Durham, too. For a seven-win outfit, there are bigger concerns.

Except that the team hosted Watkins Tuesday as one of their 30 allotted pre-draft visits, and that comes after new Lions coach Jim Caldwell had dinner with Watkins before his pro day. The former Clemson star even got to meet Johnson and Tate while in Detroit.

“It'd be definitely a blessing playing with Megatron and Golden Tate, having Reggie Bush and Matthew Stafford,” Watkins said, via the Detroit Free Press. “They're doing a great job with the program with all the coaches. If I ever go there, sky's the limit.”

It's one thing to be infatuated -- coaches and scouts fall in love every year around this time -- but that doesn't guarantee a team will trade up for that player. Exacerbating matters: The Rams, who hold the No. 2 pick, are in the market for a wide receiver and Watkins makes a lot of sense. If the Lions are serious, they'd have to trade up eight spots, which won't come cheap.

Two years ago, the Redskins moved up from No. 6 to No. 2 for the right to take Robert Griffin III. The cost (paid, incidentally, to the Rams): first-round picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and a 2012 second-rounder.

Assuming the Rams would be willing to listen to trade offers this time around (and we can't imagine they wouldn't), they may be looking for a similar haul. Working from the premise that the Lions would consider Watkins that high, they'd likely have competition from other teams looking for a quarterback.

From the perspective of early April, a month before the actual draft, this all seems highly improbable. Then again, who had the Lions using first-round picks on wideouts in four of five drafts from 2003-2007?

(Incidentally, ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith writes that if the Lions are legitimately interested in Watkins, it would be because they think he's Megatron's eventual replacement.)

For the sake of discussion, let's say Watkins ends up in Detroit. He'd expect to have success playing alongside some of the league's most explosive players.

“I think I can go in and not be the superman wide receiver but go in there and make plays and help my team out. ... Going in (with) a veteran receiver that dominates the game and Golden Tate, too, won a championship, so they know how to play and they know how to prepare for the game,” Watkins said.

The good news is that in 29 days we won't have to speculate. The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft is Thursday, May 8.

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