There is nothing like the feeling of the Detroit Lions beating the Green Bay Packers. I don’t care if both teams are out of the playoff race or if it’s a battle for the title, beating a division rival—especially one headed by the villain that Aaron Rodgers is—is satisfying to no end.
Of course, the downside to winning games in the middle of what appears to be a “lost” season is that it hurts the team’s draft stock. That should not be the No. 1 priority of any team—especially a team that desperately needs signs that the team is headed in the right direction—but it’s something we also have to keep in mind.
The Lions went into Week 9 with the first overall pick in their sights. But after the win, they are barely clinging to a top-five pick anymore.
Let’s take a closer look at where the Lions’ first and second-round 2023 NFL Draft picks stand going into Week 10.
Lions first-round pick: Fifth
With the win on Sunday, the Lions drop from one to five in draft order. They are now one of four teams with just two wins on the season, with the Houston Texans being the sole one-win team left. Here’s a closer look at the bottom five teams in the league, with Tankathon’s 17-game strength of schedule in parentheses.
- Texans: 1-6-1 (.524)
- Panthers: 2-7 (.445)
- Raiders: 2-6 (.472)
- Steelers: 2-6 (.524)
- Lions: 2-6 (.571)
As you can see, the Lions are getting hurt by their strong strength of schedule, which is currently the second-toughest in the league (behind the Packers). That seems unlikely to change, so be prepared for the Lions to be at the bottom of the order with any teams that finish with the same record.
Next week: at Bears (3-6)
Rams’ first-round pick: 12th
After losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a last-second touchdown, the Los Angeles Rams’ season is spiraling out of control. They have now lost four out of their last five games, and at 3-5, they’re well behind the division-leading Seahawks (6-3) and just under the 49ers (4-4).
That said, there are some ways the Rams could turn it around. Despite the losing record, the Rams are just a game out of the NFC’s final Wild Card spot, which is currently held by the 49ers. Right now there is a log jam of mediocre-to-bad teams fighting for that last spot:
- 49ers (4-4)
- Falcons (4-5)
- Commanders (4-5)
- Rams (3-5)
- Saints, Cardinals, Packers, and Bears are all 3-6
It’s not hard to see the Rams jumping some of these teams, but having already been swept by the 49ers is going to make things a lot more difficult for LA. Still, the rest of Los Angeles’ schedule is not particularly daunting. Although it’s probably worth noting that by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, the Rams are the 27th-best team in the NFL. They simply are not playing good football right now.
Note: Every pick in the second round and beyond is actually one pick higher than listed because the Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering. However, I’m keeping the original draft order numbers to avoid confusion.
Lions second-round pick: 36th (Round 2, Pick 4)
One interesting note here is that while the Lions picked fifth in the first round, in this scenario they’d pick fourth in the second. That’s because when teams finish with the same record, they rotate the order of those teams in subsequent rounds. So with three teams currently 2-6 (Raiders, Steelers, Lions), here’s how the order of those three teams would look throughout the draft.
Basically, you bump up one draft spot in subsequent rounds until you’re at the top of your tiebreaking group. Then you jump to the back of the line.
Vikings second-round pick: 62nd (Round 2, Pick 30)
The Vikings are sole owners of the second-best record in the NFL at 7-1. But because they’re behind the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC, they are “projected” to lose in the conference finals, which would land them with the third-lowest pick in each round.
The Vikings have been just barely getting by week-to-week, winning each of their last six games by a single possession. It seems like there’s some regression coming soon, and we’re about to find out just how real they are. Their next four games are:
- @ Bills (6-2)
- vs. Cowboys (6-2)
- vs. Patriots (5-4)
- vs. Jets (6-3)
Thus far, only one of the Vikings’ wins has come against a team with a winning record (Dolphins), and Miami didn’t have Tua Tagovailoa in that game. Though it’s worth pointing out that the Bills may not have Josh Allen this week.
Lions third-round pick: 67 (Round 2, Pick 3)
The Lions jump to the front of the 2-6 line, rounding out with five picks in the top 67.