Week 17 in the NFL not only decides on the playoff spots, but of course also on the draft order for the coming year. Who is particularly at stake this year? We give an overview of all teams with realistic chances of a top 10 pick.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14)
One thing is clear: after 14 (!) Defeats in a row, the Jaguars have the first pick in the 2021 draft one game before the end of the season. The Jets can no longer achieve a worse record after defeating the Browns, the simpler game plan ultimately gives Jacksonville the nod.
As the first overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence of the Clemson Tigers seems already set in stone today. Anything other than Lawrence’s selection would be a real sensation.
Possible draft choices: Quarterback
New York Jets (2-13)
The second pick in the upcoming draft is also already clear after 15 games. With their victories over the Rams and Browns, the Jets no longer have any chance of winning the number one pick, but slipping to third is also no longer possible.
Choosing a quarterback, such as Ohio State’s Justin Fields or BYU’s Zach Wilson, still seems likely with the Jets – despite the loss of Lawrence. If New York decides against a quarterback, the team should actually inevitably trade back.
Possible draft choices: Quarterback, Offensive Tackle
Miami Dolphins (von den Houston Texans, 4-11)
An absolute dream scenario for the Dolphins: The Texans’ first round pick, which Miami received in the trade for Laremy Tunsil last year, could actually be the third pick in the 2021 draft. Given the success of the Texans over the past few years, the Dolphins would not have dreamed of that themselves.
With another loss for Houston, the third pick in the draft would be set in stone. If, contrary to expectations, the Texans win against their division rivals, the pick could fall back to ninth place in the draft.
Miami will therefore very likely be able to select another top talent in the draft, for example Oregon’s Penei Sewell or LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. Another quarterback pick is not entirely ruled out.
Possible draft selection: offensive tackle, wide receiver, linebacker
Atlanta Falcons (4-11)
After four defeats in a row, the Falcons are suddenly the fourth worst team, which gives them the fourth pick in 2021. If the Texans win over the Titans and Atlanta defeat the Buccaneers at the same time, the Falcons could even make up one place and pick third in the draft. In the event of a victory over Tampa Bay, Atlanta could still drop a few places, from position five to ninth everything would be possible.
Due to the surprisingly high draft placement, the pick of a quarterback and thus the slow development of a successor to Matt Ryan is quite possible. If the Falcons continue to try to attack with Ryan, picking a defensive player would be an obvious choice. Michigan’s Kwity Paye, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley or Miami’s Gregory Rousseau would be possible options in this case.
Possible draft choices: Edge, Cornerback, Quarterback
Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)
With two surprising victories in a row, the Bengals have dropped from the third pick, which they believed to be almost certain, to fifth position in the draft. If Cincinnati lost their last game of the season to the Ravens, they would still have guaranteed a top five pick.
If the Texans or the Falcons (or even both) win their last game of the season, Cincy could jump back to fourth or even third. In the event of a victory against Baltimore, the Bengals could fall back to tenth place.
Cincinnati is also likely to squint at Penei Sewell, one of the greatest tackle talents in a long time, in the 2021 draft. However, with her mini-winning streak, Cincy may have to orientate herself elsewhere. In that case, the receivers Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith or a defense pick would be obvious.
Possible draft selection: offensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker
Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)
After 15 games, the Eagles also have four wins, ten losses and one draw. The Bengals’ slightly lighter game plan gives them the higher pick in a direct comparison, so the Eagles would currently pick sixth.
In the last game of the season Philly meets Washington, in the event of a defeat the Eagles could climb to third place, but if they win, the team would fall back to tenth place in the worst case.
The Eagles have numerous construction sites in their squad, so many different players should come into question in the draft. Should Philadelphia climb a little in week 17, they too could hope for Sewell, but Chase or Smith or Penn States linebacker Micah Parsons would also make sense.
Possible draft selection: offensive tackle, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback
Detroit Lions (5-10)
The Lions have lost three games in a row and have thus climbed back into the top 10 of the preliminary draft order. Due to the simple game schedule, the team should currently pick first of all 5-10 teams. Detroit face the Minnesota Vikings in the final game of the season.
In the event of a defeat, the Lions could gain a few places, but climb to fourth place at most. In the event of a victory, the Motor City franchise could drop to position twelve.
Whether the Lions could also go looking for quarterback in the 2021 draft depends on both their final draft placement and the team’s new general manager, which is currently vacant in Detroit.
If the team decides against a new quarterback, the choice could fall on a defensive player: Again, Paye, Farley, Rousseau and Parsons would all be options.
Possible draft choices: linebacker, defensive tackle, edge, quarterback