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What would the NFL look like if it used the NBA draft lottery?

Well, for one, the Browns would probably get screwed.

2008 NHL Draft Drawing Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL

The 2017 NBA Draft is Thursday night, with the Philadelphia 76ers set to pick first after trading with the Boston Celtics. The Celtics got that pick via a 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets — the team that finished with the NBA’s worst record — but unlike the NFL, the worst record doesn’t guarantee the first pick.

Thanks to a draft lottery that decided the first 14 picks in May, losing the most games just means the best chance at picking No. 1.

For the Cleveland Browns — a team that finished the 2016 season 1-15 — the NFL’s system meant a secured opportunity to select Myles Garrett with the top pick. But what if the NFL adopted the lottery system that both the NBA and NHL use?

In the NBA, every team that doesn’t make the postseason has a chance at the No. 1 pick. That’s 14 teams, and this year the Celtics had the top odds and a 25 percent shot at picking first. After the first three picks of the NBA draft are decided by the lottery, picks Nos. 4-14 are then established by the standings.

But with more teams on the outside of the playoffs in the NFL (20), the odds would likely be diluted and give the Browns an even smaller chance at the No. 1 selection. SB Nation’s Jason Kirk broke down how the NFL could set up a draft lottery — with the Browns receiving a 20 percent chance at the right to take Garrett.

There’s one more stipulation that could throw a wrench in things, too. In the event of two NBA teams finishing with equal records — something that occurs less frequently in the NBA, due to a 82-game schedule — they split the chances equally.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how a draft lottery could’ve been set up for the 2017 NFL draft:

2017 NFL Draft lottery

Team Winning numbers Odds of #1 pick
Team Winning numbers Odds of #1 pick
Browns 1-200 20%
49ers 201-350 15%
Bears 351-458 10.80%
Jaguars 459-565 10.70%
Rams (pick goes to Titans) 566-640 7.50%
Jets 641-695 5.50%
Chargers 696-750 5.50%
Panthers 751-795 4.50%
Bengals 796-835 4%
Bills 836-866 3.10%
Saints 867-897 3.10%
Eagles (pick goes to Browns) 898-927 3%
Cardinals 928-948 2.10%
Colts 949-960 1.20%
Vikings (pick goes to Eagles) 961-972 1.20%
Ravens 973-984 1.20%
Washington 985-991 0.70%
Titans 992-994 0.30%
Buccaneers 995-997 0.30%
Broncos 998-1000 0.30%

The Browns probably have close to a 50 percent chance at a top-three pick — feel free to calculate for yourself ... it’s not easy — but can’t pick any lower than fourth overall.

Now — using a random number generator — let’s see a mock at how things could’ve gone down.

2017 NFL draft lottery mock

The first number the random number generator spit out was 441, making the Chicago Bears the lucky winner of the top pick. In the real 2017 NFL draft, the Bears traded up one spot, giving up a package of mid-round selections to get the No. 2 pick and take Mitchell Trubisky.

Maybe the opportunity to take Garrett would make the Bears think twice, but let’s just assume Chicago’s infatuation with Trubisky makes him the new No. 1 pick.

The second winning number is 845, making the Bills jump all the way from No. 10 to No. 2.

This one is a little tougher to choose because Buffalo traded down and took a cornerback near the bottom of the first round. The Bills didn’t look for a pass rusher this offseason, but let’s not overthink this too much: Garrett is Buffalo’s guy.

Winning No. 3 is 222, landing the San Francisco 49ers the third pick. That’s where they picked after all, and the draft board looks exactly the same way it did for them in real life. Solomon Thomas to San Francisco was meant to be.

Sorry, Browns. No Garrett, and the new top draft pick for Cleveland is No. 4. What do the Browns do with their new spot in the order? Uhh ... Jamal Adams, maybe? They took Jabrill Peppers later in the first round, so sure, let’s go with Adams.

This is our new draft order and a quick mock of how the top 10 could’ve been changed by the lottery:

2017 NFL Draft lottery mock

# Team Player Pos College
# Team Player Pos College
1 Bears (from 3rd) Mitchell Trubisky QB North Carolina
2 Bills (from 10th) Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
3 49ers (from 2nd) Solomon Thomas DE Stanford
4 Browns Jamal Adams S LSU
5 Jaguars Leonard Fournette RB LSU
6 Titans (via LAR) Corey Davis WR Western Michigan
7 Jets Malik Hooker S Ohio State
8 Chargers Mike Williams WR Clemson
9 Panthers Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford
10 Bengals John Ross WR Washington

The toughest ones are figuring out what the Browns do at No. 4 and what the New York Jets do at No. 7 if Cleveland takes Adams. Mike Williams could be a possibility for the Jets, and Malik Hooker ended up at No. 15, but let’s keep things simple and assume New York still wants a safety.

Four more years of NFL draft lottery

Now that the parameters have been set, let’s repeat the experiment for four more seasons, reordering the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 NFL drafts.

Unfortunately, it’s not a good situation for the Browns, while the Bills keep being the luckiest team on the planet:

2013-16 NFL Draft lottery results

2016 NFL Draft order Winning # 2015 NFL Draft order Winning # 2014 NFL Draft order Winning # 2013 NFL Draft order Winning #
2016 NFL Draft order Winning # 2015 NFL Draft order Winning # 2014 NFL Draft order Winning # 2013 NFL Draft order Winning #
Cowboys (from 4th) 489 Giants (from 9th) 810 Bills (from 8th) 798 Cardinals (from 7th) 698
Bills (from 19th) 997 Jets (from 6th) 655 Buccaneers (from 6th) 682 Chiefs (from 1st) 114
Titans (from 1st) 101 Raiders (from 4th) 551 Rams (via WAS) (from 2nd) 269 Panthers (from 14th) 935
Browns - Buccaneers - Texans - Jaguars -
Chargers - Titans - Jaguars - Raiders -
Jaguars - Jaguars - Browns - Eagles -
Ravens - Washington - Raiders - Lions -
49ers - Bears - Falcons - Browns -
Dolphins - Falcons - Vikings - Bills -
Buccaneers - Rams - Lions - Jets -
Giants - Vikings - Titans - Titans -
Bears - Browns - Giants - Chargers -
Saints - Saints - Rams - Dolphins -
Eagles - Dolphins - Bears - Buccaneers -
Raiders - 49ers - Steelers - Saints -
Rams - Texans - Ravens - Rams -
Lions - Chargers - Cowboys - Steelers -
Falcons - Chiefs - Jets - Cowboys -
Colts - Browns (via BUF) - Dolphins - Giants -
Jets - Eagles - Cardinals - Bears -

Buffalo jumps all the way from No. 19 to No. 2 in 2016 and from No. 8 to No. 1 in 2014. Meanwhile, the Browns drop out of the top three again in 2016 and fall two spots each in 2014 and 2013.

The mock drafts would be a lot more convoluted in these years, but there are a few interesting situations:

  • The Cowboys probably don’t take a running back with the first pick in 2016, even if Ezekiel Elliott was in the top spot on the team’s draft board. The logical strategy is to trade the pick away like the Titans did or just grab Carson Wentz as Tony Romo’s eventual successor — a job that eventually went to Dak Prescott instead.
  • Buffalo picked Shaq Lawson in the first round in 2016 and Cardale Jones in the fourth round. But now at No. 2, the Bills have the choice of taking a quarterback or the top defensive end in the class, Joey Bosa.
  • What do the Giants and Jets do with the first two picks in 2015? The Jets could certainly use Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, but the Giants may be better served trading that pick away. Maybe the Buccaneers or Titans would want to come up from No. 4 or No. 5, respectively, to secure a franchise quarterback.

Weird lucky streaks like the Bills’ in this scenario aren’t uncommon in real draft lotteries. The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers picked first four times in a six-year span and the NBA’s Orlando Magic once won back-to-back No. 1 picks, despite having the second-best and 11th-best chance at winning those selections.

The team with the worst record in the NBA ended up with the No. 1 pick in 2015 and 2016, and the Nets gave the Celtics the first pick this year, but that ended a streak of 10 consecutive years with a team jumping into the top spot despite not having the best odds at the pick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and the Chicago Bulls in 2008 each jumped from No. 9 in the draft order to take over the No. 1 pick.

It’s a system that adds a little bit more drama to the draft process but certainly isn’t as nice to teams that struggle to win games. And for that, the Browns can be thankful that the NFL doesn’t toy with lotteries.