On the surface a trade that proposes sending Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Corey Williams to the Detroit Lions on Friday may not seem like a big deal. But it could influence the NFL draft on April 22 with the Lions choosing second overall.
If Willliams lands with the Lions for a low draft pick, as sources say, he is expected to return to the role he played with his original team, the Green Bay Packers, which allowed him to play a more aggressive style which is commonly called a three technique. The Packers designated him as a franchise player in 2008 but traded him to the Browns for a second-round draft pick.
Williams could also be part of a revamped defensive front-four for the Lions and would free them up to select Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh over Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy if both defensive tackles are available at No. 2. Suh is considered by many NFL evaluators to be more versatile along the defensive front. The Lions also have not ruled out trading down a few slots to collect an extra draft pick and still land another impact player, either on defense or the offensive line.
Williams is scheduled to take a physical on Friday to finalize the Browns and Lions trade.
The Lions also will pursue free agent defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who once played for coach Jim Schwartz, the former defensive coordinator of the Titans. Vanden Bosch could have other suitors. The Seahawks also are expected to consider Vanden Bosch and Aaron Kampman as potential pass-rush defensive ends.
In dealing Williams, the Browns would pick up their 12th pick for next month's NFL draft and league sources say they have been very active in discussions with other teams regarding potential trades and free agency signings, including restricted free agents who would require draft pick compensation. The Browns have made it known that former Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers is available for trade.
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.