There are a fair amount of Detroit Lions fans out there that don’t want to bother spending hours in front of the ESPN Playoff Machine trying to figure out how the Lions can backdoor their way into the postseason. Many have given up on the season, despite Detroit’s realistic 21 percent chance at the playoffs.
While I don’t see things eye-to-eye with you, I like to think of Pride of Detroit as a place for every Lions fan. The pessimists, the optimists, the draft lovers and the film buffs.
So with that in mind, if you happen to be one of those fans that don’t want to bother thinking about playoffs, let’s take a moment to look ahead to the 2018 NFL Draft and where the Lions may be picking.
At 8-6, the Detroit Lions are currently tied with six other teams for the 10th best record in the NFL. Three of those teams (Bills, Titans and Chiefs) currently hold a playoff spot, and teams that make the postseason see their draft order change by how far they get in the postseason.
For the remaining non-playoff teams, strength of schedule is used to break ties, with the easier schedules getting higher priority in the draft. The Lions have had a pretty tough schedule so far, so of the four 8-6 teams that are not currently in a playoff spot, Detroit is slotted the second-lowest:
Here's the NFL draft order entering tonight pic.twitter.com/olgruxlPhb— Ryan McCrystal (@Ryan_McCrystal) December 18, 2017
The Falcons could finish 8-6 after Monday night, but they will remain in a playoff spot, so they will not jump ahead of Detroit in draft order.
Last year, the Lions picked 21st overall and grabbed Jarrad Davis in the first round. For reference, here’s who went 19th overall in the past five years:
2017: TE O.J. Howard
2016: DE Shaq Lawson
2015: C Cameron Erving
2014: OT Ja’Wuan James
2013: OT Justin Pugh
While that’s not exactly an exciting set of names, plenty of good players have gone around that pick. Kyle Long was taken 20th overall in 2013, Xavier Rhodes 25th in the same year, and Marcus Peters 18th overall in 2015.
So if the Lions remain out of the playoffs, they will have a better draft pick than they did last year. However at this rate, it won’t be much better.