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Projected 2018 NFL draft order top 32 picks after Week 15 of 2017

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What if the Cleveland Browns end up with two top-five picks?

That is becoming an increasingly realistic possibility after the Houston Texans lost again — this time in a blowout at the hands of the Jaguars. At the moment, the Texans’ pick is projected to have the fifth-best average position — though that average spot is actually 6.2. There is a 42 percent chance the selection will land in the top five. The Browns already were virtually assured the No. 1 overall pick even before they lost to the Ravens on Sunday.

Each week, the Football Power Index (FPI) projects the order of next year’s draft by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model’s ratings for individual teams, in addition to game location.

In some cases, the projected draft order will not match the current draft order. That’s because FPI is considering the probability of outcomes that haven’t yet occurred and, crucially, projecting strength of schedule at the end of the season, since that is a tiebreaker for draft order.

Beyond the Browns, the Indianapolis Colts slid ahead of the New York Giants for the No. 2 pick. Though the Colts have a better record than the Giants at the moment, FPI’s projections give Indy (barely) a better average draft position than Big Blue. That’s because the Colts are by far the worst team in football going forward, and because the Giants have a slightly easier schedule remaining.

Below is FPI’s projected order for the 2018 draft, based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. While each team’s current record is listed below, remember that the order is based on the record the model believes the teams will have after 16 games.


1. Cleveland Browns

Record: 0-14
Average projected draft position: 1.0
FPI chance to earn top pick: >99 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 100 percent

There are now four quarterbacks on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board. The only question now is: which one will Cleveland take first overall? Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold are the favorites at this point, but in terms of draft season, it’s awfully early.


2. Indianapolis Colts

Record: 3-11
Average projected draft position: 2.6
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 98 percent

If the Colts can land the No. 2 overall pick, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley could go this high. As a team seemingly out of the quarterback market, they’re candidates to land the playmaker. But then again, maybe they ought to learn from former GM Ryan Grigson’s past mistake and avoid committing such an important asset to a running back.


3. New York Giants

Record: 2-12
Average projected draft position: 2.7
FPI chance to earn top pick:
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: >99 percent

If Big Blue slips behind the Colts, then this draft becomes awfully interesting. Though they don’t have a GM at the moment, one has to imagine the Giants will be in the market for a quarterback. So will someone — perhaps the Jets even — trade up to jump them?


4. San Francisco 49ers

Record: 4-10
Average projected draft position: 5.1
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 67 percent

What do they need a draft pick for? They have Jimmy G.


5. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans)

Record: 4-10
Average projected draft position: 6.2
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 42 percent

With so many holes to fill, it’s fairly obvious the Browns should trade down from this spot if they land their (possible) franchise quarterback first overall. Will they? Tough to say, given that there is a new general manager.


6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 4-10
Average projected draft position: 6.8
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 37 percent

Remember when the Bucs were a frisky, talented, up-and-coming team with playoff aspirations? No, they didn’t amount to that. By losing again on Monday Night Football, they at least helped their draft stock.


7. Chicago Bears

Record: 4-10
Average projected draft position: 7.4
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 21 percent

It’s unclear if Mitchell Trubisky will wind up being a productive quarterback (currently he is anything but), but no matter what, he needs more talent at receiver. Is this spot too early to take Alabama’s Calvin Ridley?


8. Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 5-9
Average projected draft position: 7.4
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 20 percent

Is it totally crazy to think the Bengals will be in the first-round quarterback market? Andy Dalton has a Total QBR of 39 (28th-best) this season and would only leave behind a $2.4 million dead cap hit if he were cut. And while the Browns apparently like AJ McCarron, it’s not like he’s been amazing in limited work so far in his career.


9. Denver Broncos

Record: 5-9
Average projected draft position: 8.4
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 12 percent

The Broncos haven’t drafted a Pro Bowler since Von Miller was selected in 2011. If that doesn’t change with this year’s selections, might it with this pick?


10. New York Jets

Record: 5-9
Average projected draft position: 8.5
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 2 percent

Though they lost, the Jets’ projected draft slot is actually a little worse this week. That’s because FPI had a very strong feeling they would lose to the Saints anyway, and that they impressed and kept it close against New Orleans caused Gang Green’s FPI rating to rise slightly.


11. Arizona Cardinals (6-8); average projected draft position: 11.4
12. Oakland Raiders (6-8); 11.6
13. Miami Dolphins (6-8); 13.6
14. Washington Redskins (6-8); 14.0
15. Green Bay Packers (7-7); 16.6
16. Los Angeles Chargers (7-7); 17.2
17. Buffalo Bills (8-6); 17.9
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-6); 18.7
19. Detroit Lions (8-6); 18.8
20. Seattle Seahawks (8-6); 19.1
21. Tennessee Titans (8-6); 19.8
22. Baltimore Ravens (8-6); 22.9
23. Atlanta Falcons (9-5); 23.8
24. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs, 8-6); 24.4
25. Carolina Panthers (10-4); 25.0
26. New Orleans Saints (10-4); 26.2
27. Los Angeles Rams (10-4); 26.2
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4); 26.7
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3); 28.9
30. Minnesota Vikings (11-3); 29.3
31. Philadelphia Eagles (12-2); 30.0
32. New England Patriots (11-3); 30.0



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