Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has struck again, giving up a low-round draft choice for a high-end player who has failed elsewhere but could still represent a substantial upgrade in terms of roster depth.
Mayhew acquired Seattle Seahawks defensive end Lawrence Jackson for what is believed to be a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft. Jackson was the Seahawks' first-round draft pick two years ago, but has managed only 6.5 sacks over two seasons. Those figures are low for a first-round pick, but they would represent improvement for the Lions.
Suffice it to say, the Lions don't have any reserve defensive linemen who have 6.5 sacks over the past two seasons. (Remember, Jared DeVries is returning from a torn Achilles tendon that cost him 2009.) I don't see Jackson as a threat for either of the Lions' starting defensive ends, but if they can develop him into a situational pass rusher, he will have been worth much more than a sixth-round pick.
My NFC West colleague Mike Sando notes that Jackson fell out of favor with new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who was also Jackson's college coach at USC. That Carroll saw no untapped talent in Jackson should tell you something.
At the end of the day, however, the Lions went from having possibly one pass-rushing threat on their bench to the potential of two. That makes them better than when the day started.