No one wants that to happen to their team. Except maybe the Detroit Lions. Because, as MLive's Tom Kowalski notes, based on quotes from the NFL, the Lions could actually benefit from just ignoring the clock when the draft kicks off later this month. Well, okay, "benefit" might be too strong -- but they're still allowed to pass.
"If a club passes during the draft, it gives up its pick at that point and can re-enter at any point to make its selection,'' said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.This information has generated much debate among the NFL FanHouse braintrust; personally, I tend to think that the Lions would be pretty smart to issue an ultimatum to the Matthew Stafford (assuming they intend on picking the Georgia quarterback) that if he is not willing to take a discount at No. 1 overall, then they will have no choice but to let time expire.
I then wondered if Detroit skipped down to No. 5, whether that pick would be considered the real No. 1 pick (because he was taken by Detroit) or the No. 5 choice.
"To use your example,'' Aiello wrote in an e-mail, "if a player is selected 5th, he is the 5th pick. There is no other way to view it.''
It's a bluff of epic proportions, sure, but who's going to take Stafford if the Lions pass? Maybe the Seahawks, and that seems unlikely with their other needs, meaning that the Lions could pounce back in around the 7th or 8th spot and pick up Stafford, all the while demanding that he sign a lower contract.
Now, of course, there's the problem with negotiating that contract -- certainly anyone who gets jobbed like that in the draft is going to end up holding out/playing the "I was your top pick anyway, so get stuffed" card -- but the Lions could at least attempt to gamble on Stafford falling for that bluff. What's the worst that can happen? He shrugs them off, they draft Aaron Curry and then pick up Josh Freeman later? That sounds pretty good to me.