As it stands right now, the Detroit Lions are on their way to yet another top-10 pick. After making the playoffs last season, the Lions had a rare pick in the 20s in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. This year, however, the Lions have reverted back to their old ways. As a result, based on the current standings, they are in line to pick seventh overall in 2013.
The current 2013 NFL Draft order will likely change in the final three weeks of the season, but here's a snapshot of what the top 13 looks like right now (via SB Nation):
1. Kansas City Chiefs - 2-11 (.485 SOS)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-11 (.550 SOS)
3. Oakland Raiders - 3-10 (.497 SOS)
4. Philadelphia Eagles - 4-9 (.497 SOS)
5. Carolina Panthers - 4-9 (.550 SOS)
6. Tennessee Titans - 4-9 (.550 SOS)
7. Detroit Lions - 4-9 (.556 SOS)
8. Arizona Cardinals - 4-9 (.565 SOS)
9. San Diego Chargers - 5-8 (.479 SOS)
10. Cleveland Browns - 5-8 (.485 SOS)
11. Buffalo Bills - 5-8 (.497 SOS)
12. Miami Dolphins - 5-8 (.527 SOS)
13. New Orleans Saints - 5-8 (.530 SOS)
While a win over the Cardinals this week would (for now) decrease the chances of the Lions finishing with a top-10 pick, a lot depends on what the rest of the teams that are currently 4-9 and 5-8 do. A lot of teams are bunched up right now, and the Lions' tough schedule hurts them a bit in the tiebreakers.
It's worth noting that all of this talk about a top-10 pick could be rendered moot if the Lions put together a winning streak to finish the season. We saw this happen in 2010 when the Lions turned a 2-10 record into a 6-10 record thanks to a four-game winning streak at the end of the season, and it actually turned out to be a pretty good thing. The winning streak gave the Lions a lot of momentum as they entered 2011, and it ended up resulting in them getting Nick Fairley with the 13th overall pick.
This year, the Lions finish the season with the Cardinals on the road and the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears at home. I would agree that hurting draft position in a season clearly not headed for the playoffs could be a bad thing, but it's more important at this point for the Lions to end their losing streak (this week against the Cardinals), pick up a win on national television (Week 16 against the Falcons) and avoid a winless season in the division (Week 17 against the Bears). In other words, I won't be losing any sleep over where the Lions pick if they manage to close out 2012 on a three-game winning streak.
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