With the NFL entering the final week of regular season play many fans are starting to pay attention to where their favorite teams will draft next spring. The Lions draft prospects are certainly being talked about because of the potential for them to drop from the fourth pick to the fourteenth pick. But are we really being realisitc in that assesment?
Current Draft Positions
The teams above the Lions on the table would draft before Detroit and generally will only come into play if the Lions lose to the Vikings. The teams below the Lions would currently draft after Detroit and would come into play only if the Lions win.
So this is how the Cookie Crumbles
Regardless of what the Lions do against the Vikes they will finish behind the Panthers, Broncos, and the loser of the Cardinals vs, 49ers game. So the best they can do is the fourth pick. But getting that fourth pick is not a realistic expectation.
In order for the Lions to pick fourth they would have to lose against the Vikings and the following would also have to take place:
- The Bengals have to beat the Ravens on the road.
- The Bills would have to beat the Jets on the road.
- The Cowboys would have to beat the Eagles on the road.
- The Texans would have to beat the Jaguars at home.
I will pick the Ravens, Jets, Eagles, and Texans to win. That would put the Lions at the seventh pick in my estimation. Any assumption that the Lions would get the fourth pick is pretty far fetched as I see it. It is much more realistic to place the earliest draft pick the Lions are likely to get at seventh or eighth.
So now let's look at the other side of the situation. If the Lions beat the Vikings they will certainly jump past the Vikings in the draft. They would be certain to draft after the winner of the Cardinals vs 49ers game as well. The earliest the Lions can draft is tenth with a win over the Vikings. But to get the tenth pick they also need:
- The Browns beat the Steelers at home
- The Seahawks beat the Rams at home
- The Titans beat the Colts on the road
- The Redskins beat the Giants on the road
I will pick the Steelers, Seahawks, Colts, and Giants to win. That would drop the Lions to the "lucky 13" pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
But the real point of all this is that a win over the Vikings will not cost the Lions ten picks as we might initially think. The real cost of a win over the Vikings is much more realistically in the range of four or five picks in draft position. If you are already going to be drafting at the seventh or eighth spot, as I have shown to be likely, then dropping a few more spots is not really a killer.
SO GO LIONS! BEAT THE VIKES!