Each pick in the NFL draft has a ripple effect on the remaining selections. Relate it to the Butterfly Effect. Many of have heard this story, a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world causing a chain of events that lead to a major event elsewhere in the world. It's a sort of Chaos Theory.
The draft seems to follow a chaotic flow as well. With the No. 1 selection the Lions could go in over 300 different directions, each impacting the draft differently.
In all likelihood the Lions will select Jason Smith, Matthew Stafford, or Aaron Curry. They could trade the pick as well, creating a whole new draft board.
If the Lions go with Aaron Curry, for example, then the chance of them drafting another line backer in the top 100 drops significantly. Players like Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown, and Aaron Maybin will likely be selected earlier in the draft.
Subsequently, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman could see their stock decline. The top offensive tackle prospects could all see their stock decline as well.
The Lions could go with a prospect like BJ Raji and upset everyone's draft predictions much like the Houston Texans did with Mario Williams.
Understanding the ripple effect can be very important when targeting other prospects. In the Lions case, drafting Curry means they are going to be looking at different needs in the remaining picks, as opposed to getting a middle line backer. Having picks so close means that the ripple could alter who is available with the next pick.
The chance of getting a offensive tackle in the No. 20 or No. 33 slot increases. This is good news.
The chance of getting a rush defensive end will likely drop. Many defensive ends are hybrid players and with Curry off the board they should move up the draft boards.
The ripple can have a long term impact or a short term impact. With Curry, the impact may last a while. If Stafford falls out of the top 10 and Sanchez falls even further, then the draft order will remain affected until the prospects are selected.
If the Lions go with Stafford then Sanchez rises, Freeman rises, and the tackle, defensive end, and linebacker positions fall.
The Lions need to seriously consider the impact the first pick will have on the draft.
Many scouts believe there is not a lot of difference in talent between the No.1 pick and the No. 20 pick. That being the case the Lions should take a good look at who they want with the No. 20 and No. 33 picks. If trading is there goal then having a falling player of value, such as a quarterback or offensive tackle, can be the best case scenario.
If the Lions still want a quarterback they may be able to let Stafford go and get Josh Freeman with the No. 20 selection. They could let Jason Smith go and end up with Michael Oher, Andre Smith, or Eben Britton falling to them.
Understanding the theory that the draft is sensitive and dependent on each selection can allow you to refine your picks for maximum value. It may be the difference between getting the player you need or seeing him taken a few picks before.
This is what having a big board is all about. You have to understand where players are likely to go and how to get to the highest pick position they are likely to be taken.
For the Lions, they are already in position to take the best player on their board. They must decide if they want to upgrade two positions at once with Jason Smith, fill a huge hole on defense with Aaron Curry, or build for the future with Matthew Stafford.
They must also realize that they have to plan the remaining picks based on the first pick.
Chaos at its finest. How fitting that the chaos will start with the Detroit Lions..