Now that we’ve exhausted talk about the Detroit Lions playoff chances, time to talk about the other side of the coin: draft position.
With their win on Sunday, the Lions dropped from fifth in the 2019 NFL Draft order all the way to ninth. But it wasn’t all bad for Detroit. Here’s a look at the draft order after 14 weeks in the NFL season.
(Strength of schedule is based on the entire 17 week schedule, as provided Tankathon)
- 49ers: 3-10 (.529 SOS)
- Cardinals: 3-10 (.529)
- Raiders: 3-10 (.567)
- Falcons: 4-9 (.493)
- Jets: 4-9 (.502)
- Bills: 4-9 (.529)
- Jaguars: 4-9 (.546)
- Buccaneers: 5-8 (.500)
- Lions: 5-8 (.505)
- Giants: 5-8 (.505)
With the same strength of schedule as the Giants, the Lions occupy the ninth spot due to having a worse conference record than New York (3-7 vs. 4-7).
The good news for Detroit is that many of these teams in the top 10 won in Week 14. The 49ers, Raiders, Jets and Giants all won on Sunday. That not only keeps a top five pick in the realm of possibilities, but Detroit could theoretically crack the top three if the Cardinals, 49ers or Raiders go on a late-season run. Of course, that’s extremely unlikely, especially for a team like the 49ers—whose remaining games are against the Seahawks, Bears and Rams... ouch.
Still, if Detroit falters down the stretch—and they could realistically be underdogs in all three remaining games (the Bills are favored by 2.5 this week)—there’s more than enough opportunity to jump right back into the top five.
So #TeamTank, do not fear. Sunday’s win over the Cardinals certainly didn’t help Detroit’s chances at a top pick in the NFL Draft, but the rest of the results made it so the Lions could certainly be one of the first teams to approach the podium on draft day.