Even because the Texans threaten to tug away (fade away?) within the race for the No. 1 choose, there’s nonetheless the potential for chaos within the picks proper behind them. Two extra groups (Carolina and Chicago) are sitting on eight losses, with a slight hole between them and 1-8-1 Houston, whereas one other 9 groups will head into Week 12 with seven losses. An ill-timed win might drop a rebuilding membership from a top-five choice as far down as No. 11 or 12 within the order.

There’s nonetheless an extended method to go, after all. Here’s how The Athletic’s Austin Mock tasks the highest 10 will settle when all is alleged and finished:

Austin Mock’s projected prime 10

Mock tasks the rating for each recreation and the ultimate win share for each crew utilizing his NFL betting mannequin. His mannequin phases out older knowledge and makes use of knowledge from this 12 months because the season progresses. The simulation then runs 100,000 occasions after every day of video games to offer us, on this case, our No. 1 choose odds and every crew’s likeliest draft touchdown spot.

There are a few important variations between that checklist and the present order: Las Vegas holds the No. 4 choose heading into the weekend, however Mock tasks the Raiders to land seventh (with 6.4 projected wins); Cleveland’s first-round choice, owned by Houston by the Deshaun Watson commerce, is No. 7 within the present order however lands at No. 12 in Mock’s order.

We’ll see the way it shakes out. What we are able to speak about within the meantime is what these groups headed for top draft picks want on their rosters. Nick Baumgardner breaks down essentially the most urgent difficulty for every membership within the present prime 10:

1. Houston (1-8-1): Quarterback

It is perhaps secure to say, regardless of their document and lack of hope in 2022, that the Texans may need extra property than precise remaining wants on this rebuild. As issues stand, they maintain 12 picks (5 within the prime 70) for the upcoming draft. If the entrance workplace thinks quarterback Davis Mills can get them to the Drake Maye-Caleb Williams sweepstakes of 2024, commerce this choose for a haul and discover receivers. If not, it’s Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud time.


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2. Carolina (3-8): Quarterback

Yeah, nothing’s modified. Derrick Brown, Brian Burns and Jaycee Horn make for a better-than-you-realize defensive basis, and Ikem Ekwonu continues to enhance. The Panthers want playmakers, after all, however this ship goes nowhere till they determine one thing out at QB. There are groups that ought to draft a quarterback this 12 months after which there may be Carolina, which can as properly flip in its franchise card if it doesn’t.

3. Chicago (3-8): Picks

The Bears want offensive line assist, particularly a middle and a deal with (however, actually, everywhere). They traded Roquan Smith and used that asset for broad receiver Chase Claypool, which roughly simply moved one downside space to a different. Instead of further receiver assist, the Bears now want a lift at linebacker. This crew’s defensive position wants work, inside and outside. You see the purpose. This shouldn’t be an excellent soccer crew in any respect. Having 9 picks is good, however bettering on their early stockpile (two picks within the prime 60, three within the prime 70) could be massive for the Bears.

4. Las Vegas (3-7): Quarterback

Unless one thing loopy occurs right here, the Raiders look like a franchise that’s in want of a restart at QB, both due to the place they’re within the draft or as a result of Josh McDaniels didn’t draft Derek Carr and desires his personal man. In actuality, the Raiders might in all probability cool down, determine issues out with Carr and their new offensive items and take Jalen Carter or Will Anderson. Carr’s 31, although. This isn’t a foul roster, so a gifted rookie might have some success right here.



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5. Seattle, through Denver (3-7): Pass rush

While Geno Smith is not fairly as on fireplace as he was early within the 12 months, he’s nonetheless enjoying terrific soccer. Quarterback has not been a priority for the Seahawks this season. That’s a terrific growth for the 32-year-old Smith, who might not be a 10-year reply in Seattle however is greater than able to steering the ship proper now. There’s nonetheless some offensive line want right here, however that is additionally a luxurious choose (courtesy of the Russell Wilson commerce), so touchdown somebody like Myles Murphy or Bryan Bresee could be dynamite.

6. Detroit, through L.A. Rams (3-7): Quarterback

The Lions, now winners of three in a row, out of the blue look extra like a younger crew figuring itself out than the rudderless mess we noticed at 1-6. Detroit’s current turnaround has been keyed by a few of the youth common supervisor Brad Holmes has drafted on protection, together with nice work from the offensive line. Jared Goff hasn’t finished something to price Detroit a recreation on this stretch, however the Lions nonetheless are approaching a fork within the highway: Stay the course and proceed to slowly enhance with Goff beneath heart or roll the cube on a extra dynamic (however probably much less regular) playmaker?

7. Houston, through Cleveland (3-7): Wide receiver

What’d I inform you about all these picks? Take no matter you need up right here, actually. What a boon for GM Nick Caserio.

8. Pittsburgh (3-7): Offensive deal with

There are a number of choices right here that type of run even in the mean time. Pittsburgh wants assist in the secondary and up entrance, so cornerback or a defensive lineman may be on the desk early in Round 1. The Steelers additionally badly want a middle, although that’s not taking place right here. But this nonetheless appears like a crew in want of extra premium assist at deal with. Everything with Kenny Pickett stays TBD, so the Steelers have to enhance round him.

9. Jacksonville (3-7): Offensive line

The Jaguars have potential future stars in Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker have had some terrific defensive flashes as rookies this 12 months. Get the blokes on offense extra assist up entrance and begin engaged on this run recreation. The Jaguars are one of many worst run-blocking outfits in soccer and whereas this may increasingly really feel like a tempting spot to go broad receiver for Lawrence — he wants extra assist up entrance.

10. Philadelphia, through New Orleans (4-7): Edge rusher

I imply, frankly, the Eagles want subsequent to nothing. Philadelphia’s roster is as near “complete” as we have now within the NFL, in my view. So Howie Roseman might have the luxurious of seeing who desires to offer him even extra picks for this spot, or he can do one thing like spend money on the eventual substitute for one among his getting older stars up entrance (Brandon Graham turns 35 in April; Lane Johnson is 33 in May).

(Top photograph of Baker Mayfield: Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

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