Report: Detroit Lions tried to trade up for LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase at No. 4

Detroit Free Press

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Brad Holmes has made it known he is willing to trade up in the NFL draft for the right player, and according to ESPN that player might be a wide receiver.

ESPN reported Wednesday the Lions “tried to trade up to No. 4 to get” LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase last week, but the Atlanta Falcons’ asking price was too high.

A high-ranking NFL executive told the Free Press previously that he expected the Lions to take Chase if Chase made it to No. 7, a sentiment that Chase’s former high school coach, Jay Roth, also shared with the Free Press.

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“That’s just my personal opinion,” Roth said. “Again personally, I think that if the (Cincinnati) Bengals don’t take a lineman (at No. 5) they’re taking Chase, and if they do take a lineman then he’s going to fall to you guys.”

Chase, who opted out of the 2020 season, is considered the top receiver in the draft and the Lions have a glaring need at the position with Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman, both on one-year contracts, currently penciled in as the No. 1 and 2 receivers.

Chase led LSU’s national championship team in 2019 with 1,780 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns on 84 catches. He ran a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March to cement his status as one of the three best nonquarterbacks in the draft.

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Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones are expected to go with the first three picks, and Atlanta at No. 4 is the draft’s first pivot point.

The Falcons could take a young quarterback to groom behind Matt Ryan, top tight end Kyle Pitts or trade down. The Bengals at No. 5 and Miami Dolphins are No. 6 are believed to be locked into getting help for their young quarterbacks, making the Lions the draft’s next wildcard at No. 7.

Holmes said in his pre-draft news conference last week that he had preliminary trade talks with several teams, as all NFL GMs do in the build up to the draft, and was willing to move up or down in the selection order.

“At (No.) 7 we do have cluster of players that we’re comfortable with picking,” Holmes said. “But at the same time we will be very prepared and also willing to move in either direction.”

According to the popular Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, fair price for the Lions to move up to No. 4 would be third- and fourth-round picks, though moving up into the top-five — quarterback territory for many teams — often costs a premium.

The Lions have just six selections in this year’s draft, none after Round 5. They do have extra first-round picks in 2022-23 from their trade of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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