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Sizing up NFL draft order: No. 1 overall pick still Browns' to lose


With one week left in the NFL's 2016 regular season, here's a look at which teams are in contention to make the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, and the picks that immediately follow.

First and goal: Cleveland Browns

Record: 1-14
Week 17 opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers.
The skinny: It was good news, and then even-better news for the Browns in Week 16. First, they won for the first time this season. Even better, they stayed in command for the No. 1 pick because the San Francisco 49ers also pulled off a victory to keep the Browns alone as the NFL team with the worst record. If Cleveland loses to or ties Pittsburgh in Week 17, the Browns clinch the No. 1 pick. If the Browns somehow stun the Steelers, the 49ers lose to Seattle and the two teams end up tied for the NFL's worst record at 2-14, the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker could favor the 49ers. The team with the lower SOS picks first, and as of this week, Cleveland's has the higher SOS (.538 to .493).

Still in the game: San Francisco 49ers

Record: 2-13
Week 17 opponent: Seattle Seahawks.
The skinny: The 49ers had the inside track for the No. 1 pick for a few fleeting hours this weekend after Cleveland's win left both clubs with only one win. By the end of NFL play on Saturday, however, San Francisco had knocked off the Los Angeles Rams, 22-21, making the top pick Cleveland's to lose again. The 49ers would pick second if the season ended today. Like Cleveland, San Francisco faces a tough divisional opponent in its final regular-season game (vs. the Seahawks).

Top-five-pick territory

Bears (3-12): With a week to go in the season, Chicago's draft slot is still looking fairly fluid. The Bears currently hold the No. 3 pick, but they could still climb as high as the No. 2 pick. The Bears could also slip out of the top five if they beat the Minnesota Vikings and then find themselves on the wrong end of SOS tiebreakers with other four-win clubs. Chicago can pick no lower than No. 6, though.

Jaguars (3-12): Jacksonville thrashed the Tennessee Titans on Saturday and fell out of contention for the No. 1 pick. In doing so, the Jaguars fell into a tiebreaker situation with Chicago for the No. 3 pick of the draft. Their strength-of-schedule percentages (Jacksonville .536, Chicago .525) are very tight entering week 17. If the two clubs finish with identical records, the tiebreaker could still go either way, but as of now, Jacksonville would pick fourth (the team with the lower SOS picks first).

Titans (8-7): Tennessee holds the Rams' No. 1 pick, which is currently positioned at No. 5 with the 4-11 Rams on a six-game losing streak. As of this week, the Rams' strength-of-schedule (.507) is lower than that of the Jets (.522), which gives the Titans a slim edge over the Jets for the No. 5 pick.

Jets (4-11): If the season ended now, the Jets would hold the No. 6 overall pick. Like the Bears, however, a lot can happen in the last week to shuffle things for GM Mike Maccagnan. Depending on Week 17 outcomes, they could possibly end up in an SOS tiebreaker with any or a combination of four clubs: the Jaguars, Bears, Titans (who hold the top pick of the 4-11 Rams) and San Diego Chargers.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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