With the playoffs about to commence, Lions fans, as usual, will need to pick a surrogate team to pull for over the next four games. But that doesn't mean they can't still root, root, root for the home team.
The preliminary draft order was released recently, and by virtue of their atrocious season and the trade that sent Roy Williams to Dallas the Lions currently hold the first and 20th selections in the first round. However, that is subject to change.
The draft order is final, barring trades of course, subject to the results of the playoffs. The draft order is determined purely as a function of winning percentage. The worst teams from the previous year pick before the better teams.
Strength of schedule breaks ties, then conference and division records, and if it gets down to it, a coin flip at the combine. And teams with the same record are grouped together and alternate selections throughout the rounds, amongst several other little caveats.
But hey, what does subject to the results of the playoffs mean?
Basically, the playoffs do not affect the draft order, except that the winner of the Super Bowl picks last and the loser picks just before them. So, how can this help the Lions?
Well, in reality, it can't help much, but when you just finished an 0-16 season, you hope and pray for every little break you can get. The Cowboys finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs, meaning that the equally mediocre yet playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals already pick after them.
But the 8-8 San Deigo Chargers can magically turn 20 into 19 by making it to the Super Bowl, dropping their pick from 16th to 31st, at best. So Michiganians, these playoffs aren't completely irrelevant after all.
Detroit, allow me to introduce you to Phillip Rivers, LaDanian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, and the rest of the crew.
Remember the last time the Lions picked in the 20 hole? Stockar McDougle. And before that in 1998, it was even worse. The Lions were the last team to pass on Randy Moss, selecting CB Terry Fair 20th overall instead.
Maybe the Lions would do a tad more with the 19th selection in the draft. It doesn't seem like they could do much less.