The San Francisco 49ers, presently, hold the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They have been in possession of the second overall pick for much of the year, with the Cleveland Browns holding the top spot. But Cleveland was on a bye week in Week 9, which means the 49ers moved to 0-9, leaving the Browns behind at 0-8.
If things continue being equal and both teams are 0-10 following the 49ers’ Week 11 bye, then the Browns would reclaim possession of the top pick as they have a weaker strength of schedule (SOS). Currently, the 49ers’ SOS is .590 while Cleveland’s is .507.
Fooch’s note: It sounds like the draft order is based on win percentage, not total wins and losses. Either way, the 49ers have the same rooting interests.
The New York Giants are the only one-win team in the league and thus have the third pick on lockdown for now. They also have a lower SOS than the 49ers, so all things being equal, the Giants would get the nod and pick ahead of the 49ers.
And, of course, the 49ers will play the Giants on Sunday. Obviously, it’s best for draft positioning if the 49ers lose, but the Giants are such a bad team it would certainly be deflating to see a loss. Sill, strictly speaking, the 49ers are primarily engaged with the Browns, Giants and the 2-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in draft positioning.
It only takes one team to ruin a draft for another team.
Below are the games you should care about and a rooting guide — get ready to root for some very bad teams.
Browns (0-8) @ Lions (4-4): Cleveland - Nothing surprising here — the Browns are winless, the only other team in the league to be so. The Lions aren’t out of the running for the top pick by any stretch, but a win for Cleveland is huge for the 49ers.
Jets (4-5) @ Buccaneers (2-6): Tampa Bay - Again, we have a matchup between two bad teams, but the Buccaneers are the only two-win team in the league right now. Getting them up to three wins would be ideal.
Bengals (3-5) @ Titans (5-3): Cincinnati - The Bengals were neck and neck with the 49ers and Browns for awhile there, but they went out and won some games. They got back to their losing ways in their last outing and we can’t have that. Another loss for them, please.
Steelers (6-2) @ Colts (3-6): Indianapolis - The Steelers are firmly entrenched as a good team. The Colts are about to blow everything up and start over, and would love better draft picks. They should get in their own way and win some games instead.
Chargers (3-5) @ Jaguars (5-3): Los Angeles - I don’t know if the Jaguars are actually decent or if it’s all a mirage, but right now they’re not a threat when it comes to draft positioning. The Chargers, losers in their last outing, definitely are, though.
Texans (3-5) @ Rams (6-2): Houston - This pick is going to the Browns, and strictly speaking, they could still end up with both of the top two picks in the draft. Scary proposition, so the Texans should go ahead and beat the Rams. You know, for funsies.
Giants (1-7) @ 49ers (0-9): New York - I can’t, in good conscience, root for the 49ers to lose on Sunday. Not against a disaster of a team like the Giants. But it would be better for draft positioning.
Patriots (6-2) @ Broncos (3-5): Denver - The Broncos stink pretty bad this year, and I think it’s only going to get worse for that franchise. A win here would be good for morale, and good for the 49ers.