With three weeks left in the NFL season, the race to first overall pick in the NFL Draft, and with it in all likelihood Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, has entered the home straight. There were no major changes to the top three positions in Week 14, with the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals all tightening their grip on the first three overall picks after losing their games.
After flirting with a potential season-altering win in terms of the race for the first overall pick in Week 13, the Jets reverted to type and were on the receiving end of a 40-3 shellacking in Seattle, dropping to 0-13 for the season and remaining in the box seat in the race to be the first team to pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
As per Tankathon, the Jets have the third-hardest remaining schedule strength in the NFL, with road trips against the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots either side of a home game against the Cleveland Browns.
Following an overtime loss in Week 13, meanwhile, the Jaguars never looked in danger of beating the Tennessee Titans, losing 31-10 to their AFC South rivals and racking up a 12th consecutive loss. The Jaguars have the fifth-hardest remaining schedule, with a home game against the Chicago Bears sandwiched in between road trips to Baltimore and Indianapolis. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Jacksonville finish 1-15.
The Bengals, meanwhile, failed to score more than seven points for the second consecutive week in a 30-7 home loss against the Dallas Cowboys. They still have to face the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens at home, with a trip to Houston in Week 16.
A major logjam looms behind the top three, with five teams—the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans—all at 4-9. Of the quintet, the Falcons have the hardest remaining schedule in the league with a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed by back-to-back trips to Kansas City and Tampa Bay.
The Panthers and the Chargers have the second- and fourth-hardest remaining schedule, while the Texans—whose pick has already been traded to the Miami Dolphins—have the 13th-hardest reaming schedule and the three games left on the Cowboys’ schedule rank as the third-easiest in the NFL.
Along with the 4-8-1 and the 5-8 New York Giants, Dallas is one of three NFC East teams simultaneously in the race for a top-10 draft pick and with playoff hopes, however slim they may be, still alive—the Washington Football Team currently leads the division with a 6-7 record.
The Giants are one of four 5-8 teams, along with the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, who are followed by a trio of 6-7 teams comprising the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots.
The 7-6 Las Vegas Raiders and 8-5 Ravens are the only two teams currently holding a top-18 draft pick with a positive record and both are still in the hunt for a playoff place. The Raiders’ quest for a wildcard spot got more complicated after a home loss against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, while the Ravens kept their playoffs hopes alive with a dramatic late win in an epic Monday Night Football matchup against the Browns.
Baltimore has the easiest remaining schedule in the league and will be far more focused on clinching a postseason berth than securing a top-10 draft pick.
2021 NFL Draft order as of Week 14
- New York Jets (0-13)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12)
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1)
- Los Angeles Chargers (4-9)
- Dallas Cowboys (4-9)
- Carolina Panthers (4-9)
- Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
- Houston Texans (4-9)—Pick already traded to the Miami Dolphins
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1)
- New York Giants (5-8)
- Detroit Lions (5-8)
- San Francisco 49ers (5-8)
- Denver Broncos (5-8)
- Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
- New England Patriots (6-7)
- Chicago Bears (7-6)
- Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)
- Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
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