The close of Week 12 has the San Francisco 49ers currently settled in at the No. 5 spot in the 2016 NFL Draft order. They are tied with the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers at 3-8, a game back of the 2-9 Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns. The strength of schedule tiebreakers have left the 49ers at the back of the pack, at .534, compared to the Chargers (.528) and the Cowboys (.523). The Tennessee Titans get the edge for the top pick (.511) over the Cleveland Browns (.517).
We have five weeks left in the season, which means draft positioning is going to change a decent amount. All five teams will lose more games, but I would be surprised if in five weeks the top five looked exactly like it does today. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at the schedules of the teams ahead of the 49ers. I might do a one-off looking at the 4-7 teams, but for these four teams in front of the 49ers, I thought I'd break it up into four articles over four days. On Tuesday, we discussed the Titans. Today, we move on to the team holding the No. 2 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns.
Browns remaining schedule
Week 13: vs. Bengals
Week 14: vs. 49ers
Week 15: @ Seahawks
Week 16: @ Chiefs
Week 17: vs. Steelers
Week 12 Injury news
QB Josh McCown - Suffered broken collarbone, out for the season
CB Joe Haden - Suffered second concussion of the season on November 1, and has not returned to practice
DE Randy Starks - Inactive due to a knee injury suffered in Week 10
What to make of them
The Browns be the Browns. Cleveland seemed set to start Johnny Manziel the rest of the season, and see what he could do for them. Some video of him partying during the bye week surfaced, and he was promptly demoted to third string QB. Josh McCown got the start in Week 12, and was replaced by Austin Davis after breaking his collarbone. The QB situation remains a mess, with Austin Davis set to start in Week 13. Oh, and let's not forget the agonizing way they lost their Monday Night Football contest against the Ravens: a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown as time expired. So basically, same ol' Browns.
The Browns are the only team in the top four the 49ers will play the rest of this season. That Week 14 matchup is looming kind of large for draft purposes. Beyond that, the Browns do not have winnable games on their schedule. They could surprise Kansas City on the road or Pittsburgh at home, but I see little reason to think either of those things happen. There is a very real possibility the Browns go 2-14. The 49ers are better than the Browns, but the 49ers have struggled on the road, so who knows what to make of that game. My guess is whatever happens in that game, the Browns end up picking higher than the 49ers next April.