The 49ers have confirmed the trade of Shaun Hill to the Lions for one of the Lions’ 2011 seventh round picks. The Lions have two seventh round picks in the 2011 Draft due to trading QB Kevin O’Connell to the Jets last August.
This transaction is a great example of how opportunistic GM Martin Mayhew is. Last summer when the Lions claimed O’Connell, they had little to no interest in him for themselves. Mayhew claimed him because there were several former members of the Patriots organization that we with new teams.
Scott Pioli was in his first season as GM of the Chiefs and he was one of the people that pulled the trigger on drafting O’Connell. They were looking for a backup QB familiar with the style of offense the Chiefs were installing. Denver Head Coach Josh McDaniels was looking for a backup quarterback that knew his system, and McDaniels coached O’Connell while he was with the Patriots. Lastly, the New York Jets, the Patriots most bitter rivals, have made it a habit to bring in former Patriots players over the years.
Mayhew understood that he could potentially claim O’Connell for free, and have three interested suitors that would bid against each other. The situation played out just as Mayhew expected, and the Lions got a seventh rounder for O’Connell. While it didn’t seem like much at the time, consider that trade helped the Lions acquire a veteran backup in the prime of his career.
Hill is familiar with the Lions system after learning it in Minnesota under Scott Linehan, he is 10-6 as a starter, he’s had plenty of recent game experience and he is completely healthy. With Stafford starting, Hill backing up and Stanton developing in the third slot, the Lions are in the best situation they’ve been in at the quarterback position.