The unknown of who the Detroit Lions will take with the first pick of the draft Saturday has provided intrigue. However, the real drama really doesn't begin there, unless there is an unforeseen trade at the top -- and then all bets are off.
It's not as easy to reshuffle the shells if, say, Kansas City, with the third pick, trades back with Denver (No. 12 and No. 18 picks), which could try to get ahead of Seattle (No. 4 pick) to draft USC quarterback Mark Sanchez -- a move made because its research indicated the Seahawks were going to take Sanchez.
Predict the pick
Such a twist would impact the next few picks, especially if Sanchez really was the Seahawks' target, forcing them to go to Plan B or Plan C. That adjustment could cause a further ripple effect. Let's take a look at a handful of teams other than the Lions that could steer the draft in a variety of directions.
Kansas City (No. 3): The Chiefs don't have a second round pick and could try to acquire one by dealing tight end Tony Gonzalez. They also are in a prime trade position if a team (Denver, the New York Jets) wants to trade up to get a shot at a quarterback. With speculation that Seattle could have its eye on Sanchez and/or Stafford, a QB suitor might gamble and trade up, even if the Seahawks were feigning interest in a quarterback.
In a different scenario, the Chiefs are in position to select a player at nearly every position but quarterback. Should they draft an offensive tackle and two -- maybe even three tackles -- are off the board, there could be a massive scramble of teams trying to trade up with the Seahawks to get an OT, a position the Seahawks might also explore in the draft.
Seattle (No. 4): The Seahawks are a major wildcard. They could be a trade partner for a handful of teams. Seattle could draft a quarterback, which is very much a possibility with Matt Hasselbeck getting a little older and having some injury issues last season. Another option could be at wide receiver with Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin. An offensive tackle, like Eugene Monroe could be there for the taking, as could nose tackle B.J. Raji.
If they pass on an offensive tackle and three of the primary players at that position are still available, it could delay possible trade offers to later in the draft for teams that considered trading up. The same could be said if Seattle bypasses on a quarterback or wide receiver.
Cleveland (No. 5): Potentially the biggest player in the first round. Its draft desires could be driven by a potential trade of wide receiver Braylon Edwards, which is very possible. The question is, would Cleveland wait to see if any of the teams ahead of it drafted Crabtree or would it make the deal prior to the draft and use one of the likely high picks it acquired -- maybe even this one -- to draft Crabtree or Maclin to fill the void at wide receiver?
There also is chatter the Browns could take a quarterback with this selection, if one that they like is still on the board. Drafting a signal caller this high would signal one of the existing quarterbacks (Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn) would be moved because of all the money Cleveland would have tied up at the position.
San Francisco (No. 10): The 49ers could be in position to draft Stafford or Sanchez or to take the last of the four top-rated offensive tackles. It's an enviable position to be in because they can choose to address a key position or have a team like the Jets or Bills -- Buffalo sits one position behind San Francisco in the draft and needs a tackle after trading Jason Peters -- try to trade into that spot.
Buffalo also holds the 28th overall pick, which it received from Philly in the Peters trade. That selection, as well as later-round picks, could be attractive enough to lure the 49ers in to trading out. Then the Bills would have the No. 10 and No. 11 picks and could load up on top-end talent, should they desire. That is a far-fetched scenario but it's not out of the question.
Should Crabtree or Maclin slip this far and the 49ers still have the pick, there is a chance this is where one of them could land as well.
Though most teams don't want to move into the top 10, there are some organizations that might want to trade up. Here are some of those teams.
Denver (No. 12, No. 18): The multiple first-round picks are nice pieces should the Broncos try to move up to get a quarterback (Sanchez, Stafford). They could be in a position to deal one of those picks before they would like to if they get jumpy about another team -- Seattle, Cleveland, Jacksonville (No. 8) or San Francisco -- angling for the player they covet. However, Denver is in a great spot to address some of its defensive concerns. Kansas State QB Josh Freeman might also be an option.
New York Jets (No. 17): New York could ride with quarterbacks Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge and Brett Ratliff but they may be in the market to draft a QB. The Jets could sit tight and select Freeman, who is expected to be available here. Either way, the Jets are in a desirable draft spot and could even deal up to take a shot at Stafford or Sanchez.
New England (No. 23): Besides this pick, the Patriots have three second-round choices, including the No. 34 overall selection. Those second-round picks are coveted, leaving New England, one of the most draft savvy teams, in a position to deal.
A trade scenario that has been simmering has been the Patriots sending one of those picks to Carolina for defensive end Julius Peppers. However, Peppers hasn't signed his franchise-tag tender, making trade talks impossible per league rules. If Peppers signs his tender this week, that could tip a trade to New England. If he fails to sign his tender, then Peppers figures to remain in Carolina, since, without immediate compensation to replace Peppers, there would be no reason for the Panthers to unload one of their best players.