Instead of cheering for the Browns to win, which has basically been a fruitless endeavor, Browns fans might want to spend more of their energy cheering for the Texans to lose, because that could mean big things for Cleveland in the 2018 NFL Draft.
If the Texans lose out, the big winner in that situation would be the Browns because they currently hold the rights to Houston's 2018 first-round pick Deshaun Watson back in April.the Texans to draft
The crazy part of all this is that the Browns could potentially end up with the top two picks in the 2018 draft if everything falls their way, and it wouldn't take much for that to happen.
First, let's take a look at how the draft order stands through Week 15. The teams below are listed with their current record and with their current strength of schedule, which is the first tiebreaker in draft order.
1. Browns (0-14, .510)
2. Giants (2-12, .544)
3. Colts (3-11, .495)
4. 49ers (4-10, .485)
5. Browns (from 4-10 Texans, .505)
6. Buccaneers (4-10, .541)
7. Bears (4-10, .582)
8. Bengals (5-9, .459)
9. Broncos (5-9, .480)
10. Jets (5-9, .515)
As you'll notice, the Browns have the first and fifth picks in the draft. New Browns general manager John Dorsey is probably already fantasizing about what he's going to do with all that draft capital.
Although having the first and fifth picks is nice, the Browns could have the top two picks if things play out perfectly for them. Here's Cleveland's simplest path to landing the top two picks:
- Texans lose out to finish 4-12 (vs. Pittsburgh, at Indianapolis)
- Giants win out to finish 4-12 (at Arizona, vs. Washington)
- Colts win out to finish 5-11 (at Baltimore, vs. Houston)
Since strength of schedule is the tiebreaker, it likely won't matter if the Bears and Buccaneers finish tied with the Texans at 4-12 because a weaker strength of schedule is what gets you a better pick and Houston will likely have a weaker SOS than Chicago and Tampa Bay. Not to mention, the 49ers likely won't have to win again because their next two games against the 10-4 Rams and the 10-4 Jaguars should pad their strength of schedule enough so that the Texans get a better pick.
If the three things above happen, it's almost a guarantee the Browns will land the top two picks in the draft, which would be nearly unprecedented. The last time it happened came in 1992 with the Colts.
Twenty-five years ago, the Colts "earned" the No. 1 overall pick by finishing with the NFL's worst record at 1-15. The Colts also got the second pick from the Buccaneers thanks to a trade that took place a full two years before the draft.
To see what the Browns might do with their first-round picks, make sure to click here and check out the latest mock drafts from CBSSports.com.