It’s an awful distinction, but one team has to have it. In the NFL, the top draft pick is awarded to the last-place team in the league. A specific formula weighting the different outcomes allows the NFL to designate which franchise was worse than every other. Sometimes, one pick near the top of the draft can turn around a team’s misfortune. However, some organizations are perennially picking near the top with a seemingly neverending string of busts.
This year, we’re tracking the draft order and watching which teams have the best chance of selecting first overall.
2022 NFL Draft Order Entering Week 2
Pick This Week
Pick Last Week
It’s too early to push the panic button, but some typical patterns are emerging in this year’s draft order. The Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets both suffered losses in their season-opening matchups and are already in the running for the top selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. As with any league, it’s easier to fall in the standings than to rise. Teams eventually reach a point of futility when they stop being in control of their own destiny and need specific outcomes to surpass the franchises ahead of them in the standings.
At the end of the regular season, we will know which teams are picking 1-16. However, playoff exit determines positions for the bottom half of the draft. The further a team progresses in the postseason, the later they pick, with the Super Bowl-winning team selecting 32nd overall. Still, it may be a good omen for the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and Kansas City Chiefs to be ranked at, or near, the top of the standings.
It’s early, but we will start to see teams fan out across the rankings.
2022 NFL Draft Trades
The Los Angeles Rams mortgaged their future for last year’s Super Bowl Championship. In retrospect, I don’t think they’d do anything differently. However, that also means they still have a debt to pay and owe the Lions a first-round pick, as per the Matthew Stafford trade ahead of the 2021 season. A handful of other teams are trying to mimic their success, dealing away coveted first-round selections for a chance to win now.
Among those teams are the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns, who traded away their respective chances at a franchise player for proven NFL quarterbacks. In the Browns’ case, it was likely a wise move as Cleveland’s brass has a terrible track record of drafting competent signal callers, while the Broncos will assess their trade as the season progresses.
Similarly, the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers made moves up the board in previous drafts, forsaking future picks to nab their targets. That benefits the Philadephia Eagles and Miami Dolphins this year, who will be cashing in on their slick moves at the 2023 NFL Draft with extra first-round capital.
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