2023 NFL Draft Entering Week 12

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 weighing 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.

2023 NFL Draft Order Entering Week 12

Team

Pick This Week

Pick Last Week

Texans 1 1

Bears

2

5
Panthers 3 6

Steelers

4

7

Rams

5

8

Raiders 6 2
Jaguars 7 4
Broncos 8

10

Browns 9

11

Saints

10

3

Packers

11

12

Cardinals

12

14

Lions

13

9

Colts 14 15

Falcons

15

13

Buccaneers

16 17

Chargers

17

20

Commanders

18

16

Seahawks

19 22
49ers 20

18

Jets

21

24

Patriots

22

19
Bengals 23 21

Titans

24

23

Giants 25

29

Dolphins 26

28

Cowboys 27

25

Bills

28

26

Ravens

29 27
Vikings 30 32
Chiefs

31

30
Eagles 32 31

The top ten teams in the NFL standings have remained relatively consistent. The Philadelphia Eagles eeked their way to victory in Week 11, needing a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback to get past the Indianapolis Colts. That win, paired with the Minnesota Vikings’ home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, propelled Philadelphia back to the top spot in the standings, with the Vikings falling two places to 30th overall. Other teams that aren’t at risk of dropping out of the top ten include the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Baltimore Ravens, all of whom are at least four games above .500, with convincing wins over their schedules. Of course, all of this is a moot point, as the draft order for the playoff teams will be determined by how far each team progresses in the postseason. 

The static nature of the standings is also reflected among the worst teams in the league, with the bottom ten franchises maintaining the status quo. The Houston Texans remain the odds-on favorite to pick first in the upcoming draft. The Texans have fallen two wins behind the next closest teams, the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers, leaving little hope that they will climb out of the basement. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a tough choice with their first pick in the draft. Pittsburgh selected quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall selection last year. With a quarterback group as deep as the 2023 class, they may be tempted to take a highly-projected signal caller with their top pick. However, if they believe that Pickett is a franchise cornerstone moving forward, they’ll have their choice of the skill position players with a top-five spot. 

2023 NFL Draft Trades

The Los Angeles Rams are an interesting case study. The team mortgaged its future, trading away three of its top five picks in 2023, plus several picks last year, for a Super Bowl LVI win. With a ring on their finger, Sean McVay and company may not have any regrets, but the constant finagling may have sunk the team for years to come. The Detroit Lions are better for it this year and could potentially have two top-ten picks to bolster their roster. 

Although the Denver Broncos were able to recoup some draft capital with the Bradley Chubb deal at the trade deadline, they are also filled with repentance after giving up their first and second-rounders for Russell Wilson. The benefit of hindsight quickly reveals how lopsided the trade was, with the AFC West basement dwellers trading away a top-ten pick for a losing record and an aging quarterback. Denver will draft in the Miami Dolphins’ spot, with most of the top position players likely having new homes before the Broncos will step to the podium. 

Neither team faces an impossible climb back to relevance, but the path becomes much more challenging without top prospects leading the way.