There are a lot of NFL teams with similar records as we near the end of the season. Here’s why we could see a big mix-up in the 2022 NFL Draft order.
In many years, we have a really good idea of a small range of slots teams would be selecting from in the NFL Draft (minus playoff teams, of course). However, that’s not really the case in 2021. As we approach the end of the season, there are numerous squads with tied records and there could be some monumental shifts in the selection order for the 2022 NFL Draft.
According to Tankathon.com, the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) currently hold the number one selection with the Detriot Lions (2-12-1) right on their tail. If things continue to trend the way that they have all season long for these two teams, it seems likely that neither wins another game with the difficult schedules they have over the final two contests.
However, one win could shift the tides, and there could be numerous shakeups following these picks. The Texans, Jets, and Giants are each tied with a record of 4-11 with two games remaining, and there are three teams tied with a record of 5-10 (two of which the Giants and Jets own the picks of).
NFL Draft order could change significantly
This means that the 3rd overall pick all the way through the 10th overall pick could play out in a plethora of ways. The Texans, for example, close the season with games against the 49ers and the Titans. Though unlikely, winning these games could potentially drop them as many as seven spots in the draft order. For a team that is starving for talent, Houston would be better off throwing in the towel for significantly higher draft capital in each round of the NFL Draft.
It’s an even tighter race in the middle of the pack right now. Leading up to Week 17, there are six teams with 7 wins and another six teams with 8 wins. This group of teams currently stretches from the 10th pick in the draft all the way to the 21st pick in the draft, and some of these teams could end up picking even higher or lower than this range.
The Steelers, for example, at 7-7-1 mathematically have a chance at the 10th pick in the draft with two losses to close the season or potentially the 25th pick in the draft if they win out and the Bengals lose both of their final games against the Chiefs and Browns.
Why is all of this so important? The difference between 10 draft slots in the first round could be astronomical. History has shown that teams picking high in the NFL Draft are much more likely to hit on Pro Bowl and All-Pro football players, as there are typically only a select few elite talents in each draft.
Some teams that have been on top for a long time (like the Steelers, Saints, and Seahawks) are clearly lacking star power, and picking in the mid-to-late 20s every year has not done them any favors in terms of helping them build a talented roster for the future.
Elite capital in the NFL Draft cannot be undervalued and these front offices are well-aware of what’s on the line over the final two games of the season. How things play out to close the year could have a significant impact on the draft order this April.