It’s hard to say which teams will be bottom-dwellers in 2022, but here’s why ESPN has the Jets and Bears landing the top picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Last year, it didn’t seem like a difficult task to predict who the worst teams in the league were going to be for the 2021 season. The Jaguars and Lions were almost completely void of talent, and my original predictions proved to be true as they were the worst teams in football last year.
It also came as no surprise to see teams like the Giants, Texans, Panthers, and Jets struggle last year. While we might be able to accurately predict which teams will fall short of playoff contention this year, predicting the bottom-feeders might not be as easy.
Over the past two years, there have been many new ‘franchise’ quarterbacks drafted into the NFL, and their performances in 2022 could help dictate the success of their team.
Regardless, ESPN recently took a stab to predict which teams would have the worst records following the 2022 season. According to the article, Seth Walder and NFL Nation projected the top two selections in the 2023 NFL Draft to belong to the New York Jets and the Chicago Bears.
These are interesting selections considering that both teams chose quarterbacks early in the 2022 NFL Draft. Though Zach Wilson and Justin Fields both struggled for much of their rookie seasons, they each showed promise — particularly late in the season.
If this proves to be the case, it’s highly unlikely that either team would go after top quarterbacks, Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, and they may even try to trade back in the draft.
Following the Jets and Bears — who are projected to earn the 1st and 2nd overall picks, respectively — Walder and the ESPN team have the Texans, Jaguars, and Falcons earning picks three through five.
Almost surprisingly, they have the Steelers finishing the season poorly enough to earn the 6th overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. If this proves to be true, it would be Mike Tomlin’s least successful season and the only one in the first 15 years of his career in which he finished with a record under .500.
Who will earn the top picks in the 2023 NFL Draft?
It’s a relatively safe prediction to assume that the Jets and Bears will be among the worst teams in the NFL for the 2022 season. Obviously, this isn’t guaranteed to be the case, but I mostly agree with Walder here.
While the Jets had a great draft on paper and a young, talented roster overall, I think they are still years away from being a competitive franchise again. On the other hand, I did not like Chicago’s offseason at all, and I think they failed Justin Fields by not aggressively pursuing more offensive line help or receiving weapons.
Because of this — even though the NFC North isn’t the most brutal division anymore (with some very winnable games against the Lions thrown in the mix) — I’m predicting that the Bears will be the worst team in football in 2022; thus earning the first overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.
After that, I think there’s a good chance that a Marcus Mariota-led Falcons team could be the second-worst team, followed by a pedestrian Carolina Panthers team that seems to be heading in the wrong direction and had very little draft capital to improve their roster this offseason.
It will be interesting to see how things unfold this season. With so many quality quarterbacks and young signal-callers with upside set to start this year, it will be harder than ever to predict which teams will be handed the top picks in the NFL Draft following the 2022 season.