In most cases, the first pick of the NFL Draft isn’t officially locked up until Week 17, but the Cleveland Browns have a good chance at locking it up early. With a 35-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, the Browns dropped to 0-9 and still have three more games before a Week 13 bye.
It was clear early in the season and possibly even before the season that the Browns were the favorite for the top draft pick, and a slew of quarterback injuries exacerbated that. Five different quarterbacks have already taken significant snaps behind center and that doesn’t even include Terrelle Pryor, a quarterback-turned-wide receiver who has been asked to handle passing duties in a pinch a few times.
The struggles have left the Browns winless and ahead of the 1-7 San Francisco 49ers for the No. 1 pick. But thanks to a schedule that features games against the AFC East and NFC East, two of only three divisions in the NFL with collective winning records, the Browns have a higher strength of schedule than the 49ers.
That’s not the best news for Cleveland as lower strength of schedule is the tiebreaker. However, the Browns don’t look like they’re ready to start rattling off wins any time soon.
With eight weeks left to play there is still plenty of time for the playoff picture and the 2017 NFL Draft order to get flipped on their heads.
This is the draft order for the top 20 after Week 9:
|#||Team||Rec.||Rec. %||SoS %|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||1-7||0.125||0.512|
|5||New York Jets||3-6||0.333||0.488|
|6||Los Angeles Rams (pick belongs to Titans)||3-5||0.375||0.484|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3-5||0.375||0.534|
|14||San Diego Chargers||4-5||0.444||0.537|
|17||New Orleans Saints||4-4||0.500||0.523|
|18||Green Bay Packers||4-4||0.500||0.534|
|19||Philadelphia Eagles (pick belongs to Browns)||4-4||0.500||0.551|
(Picks 21-32 are determined by finishing order in the playoffs. Teams currently in line for a postseason bid are not included.)