Race for 2018 NFL Draft No. 1 pick: Browns sitting pretty with two shots at No. 1
The Browns own the Texans' first-rounder in 2018. Will Cleveland make the draft's first two picks?
Don't look now, but the Moneyball-loving, analytics-driven, Harvard-educated Cleveland Browns front office has a relatively good shot to make the first two selections in the 2018 NFL Draft. That's about as dreamy of a scenario as it gets for Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta, the architects of Cleveland's rebuild. Having two top-10 selections could even be labeled as "likely."
Having the first two picks in the draft has actually happened before. In 1992, the Colts made the first two picks with brutal results. They chose Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt.
Houston traded its 2018 first-round choice to move up in April's draft to pick Deshaun Waton, the team's Cincinnati Bengals., beginning with Thursday's game against the
Here's a look at the current 2018 NFL Draft order. To break the plethora of ties after one game, I've used SportsLine's updated projected win totals. Of course, this order will drastically change throughout the regular season. Nothing officially official yet, people.
- San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
- Cleveland Browns (0-1)
- Chicago Bears (0-1)
- New York Jets (0-1)
- Houston Texans (0-1)
- Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
- Washington Redskins (0-1)
- New Orleans Saints (0-1)
- Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)
- Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
- Tennessee Titans (0-1)
- New York Giants (0-1)
- Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
- Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
- New England Patriots (0-1)
- Miami Dolphins (0-0)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)
- Buffalo Bills (1-0)
- Detroit Lions (1-0)
- Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
- Denver Broncos (1-0)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
- Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
- Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
- Oakland Raiders (1-0)
- Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
- Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
- Green Bay Packers (1-0)
- Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
- Carolina Panthers (1-0)
- Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
These are the Week 2 games with the most bearing on the race for the No. 1 pick.
Texans at Bengals
The Bengals' Week 1 performance led to Football Outsiders' worst offensive DVOA in the NFL by a wide margin... which isn't a shocking assessment of a unit that was blanked while mustering just 221 total yards to begin the season. The Texans didn't fair much better at home against a Jaguars squad with a revamped defense.
Like clockwork, Bill O'Brien, the head coach with the shortest fuse for bad quarterback play who's been given the longest leash by management to rifle through signal-callers, made an in-game change at the most vital position, as he benched Tom Savage for rookie Deshaun Watson. Now the first-rounder goes on the road on a short week. Not great, Bob.
With J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney up front, Houston will eventually play some stingy defense, but the offense could hold back this team once again.
Jets at Raiders
On the scoreboard, the Jets held their own against the Bills but, as expected, were limited offensively. Josh McCown averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt -- not ideal -- and ran for a total of 38 yards. Leonard Williams was tremendous as per usual, and overall, the defensive front didn't disappoint.
They have a much more challenging task as a defense against Oakland's brick wall offensive line, Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper, Michael Cra -- you get the picture. In 2016, the Raiders won their final six games at home.
Bears at Buccaneers
Gotta feel for the Bears. They went blow-for-blow with the defending NFC champ Falcons, had offensive skill-position players drop two passes that would've won the game on the final drive, and lost Kevin White and Jerrell Freeman to IR in the process. Now they face a Buccaneers team essentially coming off a bye.
Mike Glennon's performance didn't lead to a flurry of calls for Mitchell Trubisky on Chicago sports radio this week, so that's a positive for Da Bears, but he did average just 5.8 yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 86.8. Without the supremely underrated Freeman and a threatening wideout contingent, Chicago will have a difficult time upending the Bucs in Tampa Bay. You need to watch waterbug Tarik Cohen though. He's fun.
Cardinals at Colts
The Colts were humiliated against the Rams -- yes, the Rams -- in the season opener. Scott Tolzien was inept, the offensive line struggled, and the defense surrendered 46 points, the most given up by any team in Week 1. Andrew Luck has already been ruled out for this one and Vontae Davis is not expected to be available. Woof.
The Cardinals led 17-9 in the third quarter against the Lions last week but collapsed in the fourth quarter as Matthew Stafford and Co. scored 20 points en route to a comeback victory. Carson Palmer completed 56.2 percent of his throws with three interceptions. There's a good chance this outing won't feature the finest quarterback play you've ever seen in your life.
Browns at Ravens
The Browns weren't all that bad against Pittsburgh. No, really. They weren't. Cleveland trailed just 14-10 midway through the third quarter and were it not for a ridiculous 38-yard reception from Antonio Brown late, Hue Jackson's crew would have had the Steelers in a third-and-12 situation while trailing just 21-18 with 2:47 left.
Baltimore's defense thoroughly handled the Bengals in Week 1, and it's always difficult at home. Cleveland will have to play as well, if not better against the Ravens than it did against the Steelers to avoid starting 0-2, but don't be shocked if this game is closer than expected.
49ers at Seahawks
How the 49ers played in Week 1 against the Panthers is what I think will typical during the 2017 season. Bland offensive effort, respectable defensive showing.
Going up to Seattle is typically nightmarish for any team, especially one like San Francisco that lacks firepower and has a porous offensive line. The 49ers are likely to begin the year 0-2.
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