Race for 2018 NFL Draft No. 1 pick: Browns almost a lock due to Kizer turnovers

The Browns remain the front-runner to obtain the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and they get Joe Flacco and Co. in Week 15 in Cleveland.

For the vast majority of the game last week, the arrow was pointing up for DeShone Kizer. Through three quarters, he had completed 17 of 22 passes for 196 yards with three touchdowns and one pick. Then all hell broke loose for Cleveland. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Kizer went 3 of 6 for 18 yards with the ghastly interception in the extra session that essentially sealed the win for the Packers. He leads the league with 17 picks and has fumbled on eight occasions. 

If Kizer doesn't have a rash of turnovers, the Browns can compete with about half the league. I'm serious. But they aren't good enough to win games in which they lose the turnover battle. The Ravens have run hot and cold this season and are fresh off a high-scoring affair no one really saw coming last week against the Steelers. The Browns should be up for this one. They're at home, in a rivalry game, and are still looking for their first win of the year. In September, Flacco completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 217 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 24-10 win over Cleveland, a contest in which Kizer threw three picks. 

Let's look at the current 2018 NFL Draft order. I'm now using the official draft order, which will still change a lot.

Draft Order

  1. Cleveland Browns (0-13)
  2. New York Giants (2-11)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (3-10)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
  5. Denver Broncos (4-9)
  6. Cleveland Browns from Texans (4-9)
  7. Chicago Bears (4-9)
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
  9. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8)
  10. New York Jets (5-8)
  11. Washington Redskins (5-8)
  12. Arizona Cardinals (6-7)
  13. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
  14. Miami Dolphins (6-7)
  15. Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
  16. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
  17. Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
  18. Detroit Lions (7-6)
  19. Green Bay Packers (7-6)
  20. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
  21. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs (7-6)
  22. Buffalo Bills (7-6)
  23. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
  24. New Orleans Saints (9-4)
  25. Tennessee Titans (8-5)
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
  27. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
  28. Carolina Panthers (9-4)
  29. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
  30. New England Patriots (10-3)
  31. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2)
  32. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)

Eagles at Giants

At least the Giants get a Carson Wentz-less Eagles club on Sunday. That's basically the only hopeful aspect of this game for New York. Then again, with a new GM to be hired soon, Giants ownership probably wouldn't be devastated with a loss. One more of those and the G-Men will almost be locked into a top 3 pick, which should guarantee either Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, or whichever quarterback prospect the next GM and head coach like the most. 

Titans at 49ers

The Titans are not easy to figure out. Well, let me go deeper there. On paper, at 8-5, they're one of the better teams in the AFC. Their roster isn't rife with holes, and they have someone in Marcus Mariota who's presumed to be a good, young quarterback. However, they have a -21 point differential on the season, snuck by the Browns 12-9 in overtime, and fell flat against the Cardinals in Arizona a week ago. Mariota's 30th in passer rating (76.9). Yeah. Really. Don't be shocked if this is a tightly contested game.

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