2023 NFL Draft Order Entering the Wild Card Round

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 the Wild Card Round

Team

Pick This Week

Pick Last Week

Bears

1

2
Texans 2 1

Cardinals

3

4

Colts 4 5
Broncos 5

3

Rams

6

6

Raiders 7 8

Falcons

8

7

Panthers 9 9

Saints

10

10

Titans

11

11

Browns 12

12

Jets

13

13

Patriots

14

22

Packers

15

16

Commanders

16

14

Steelers

17

15

Lions

18

17

Buccaneers

19 21

Seahawks

20 19
Jaguars 21 20
Dolphins 22

18

Giants 23

23

Ravens

24 24

Chargers

25

25

Cowboys 26

28

Bengals 27 26
Vikings 28 27
49ers 29

29

Bills

30

30
Chiefs

31

31
Eagles 32 32

Evidently, the Houston Texans don’t care about picking first in the 2023 NFL Draft. Houston spent most of the season virtually guaranteed the top spot until they ran hot to end the season. The Texans won two of their last three games, pulling themselves out of the first overall slot. Their rise couldn’t have been more climactic. Down seven with less than a minute to go, Davis Mills found Jordan Akins 28 yards downfield for a score. Rather than playing it safe, the Texans went for two, assuring themselves of their third win and moving them ahead of the Chicago Bears in the standings.

The win came at the expense of the Indianapolis Colts, who dropped their seventh straight decision. Consequently, they moved up one spot and will choose from the four-slot in the draft. The Arizona Cardinals also continued their slide and will pick between the AFC South basement dwellers.

New England Patriots fans will lament the missed opportunities from last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. Mac Jones threw three interceptions, and Nyheim Hines returned two kick-offs for touchdowns, turning the tide on the Pats’ playoff hopes. Surely, Bill Belichick will use the 14th selection wisely, bolstering New England’s chances next season. 

It wasn’t all downward movement on the board, as several teams are worse off because of their improved play at the end of the year. The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t earn their third win until the middle of November, going 2-6 through the first nine weeks of the season. Undeterred, Mike Tomlin led the Steelers to a 9-8 record, winning the season’s last four games. In doing so, Pittsburgh avoided its first losing season since 2003 but occupy the 17th spot in the draft. 

With that, the bottom 18 picks of the draft are set, and we await the exciting conclusion of the postseason to see where teams are seeded as they are eliminated.

2023 NFL Draft Trades

One of the semi-surprising outcomes from Week 18 was the Denver Broncos knocking off the Los Angeles Chargers in the regular season finale. Although, based on the line movement at BetMGM, the outcome was easily predicted. The Broncos opened as +3 home underdogs before the line swung nine points, with Denver closing as -6 chalk. With the victory, the Broncos moved from third overall to fifth. However, the team that is worse off because of it is the Seattle Seahawks, who own Denver’s first-round selection after the Russell Wilson trade/debacle. 

The fifth overall selection will be the Seahawks’ only pick in the top 18, and many thanks are owed to the Detroit Lions. Detroit’s playoff fate was sealed less than an hour before Sunday Night Football kick-off. By virtue of the Seahawks’ win, the Lions were eliminated from postseason contention.
 
Still, they embraced the role of spoiler, knocking off their hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers, and keeping Aaron Rodgers and company out of the postseason. Consequently, the Lions pick 18th, with the Packers sliding down to 15. But we can’t forget the Lions have two first-round selections and will also be drafting in the Los Angeles Rams spots. That gives them some wiggle room to move up or down the draft board, depending on needs and how the first few picks play out. 
 
We’ve got the excitement of the playoffs to look forward to, but it won’t be long before the draft takes center stage.