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Keeping an eye on the Browns’ 2018 draft position: Week 17 rooting guide

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The Browns still have the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft heading into Week 17. Here’s how they can hold on.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans
That’s right...just keep sitting over there as Houston keeps losing.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Here is your Week 17 NFL rooting guide that would help Cleveland’s chances of finishing with higher draft picks.

Outlook on the Browns’ own pick

Cleveland is the only winless team at 0-15, and the next worst team has two wins. With only one game remaining, that means the Browns have officially clinched the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. This will be the second year in a row they’ve had that selection.

Outlook on Texans’ pick

Last week, we discussed how the Texans had the No. 4 overall pick. After their Christmas Day loss to the Steelers, they retained that position. With the 49ers and Bears both winning last week, that helps improve the strength of Houston’s pick, even if they did manage to win in Week 17 against the Indianapolis Colts.

  • The Colts (3-13) have the No. 3 overall pick with a SOS of .4833.
  • The Texans (4-12) have the No. 4 overall pick with a SOS of .5083.
  • Although they face each other this week, the SOS is too far apart for Cleveland to have a shot at the No. 3 overall pick in the first round. However, we’d still love for the Colts to win.
  • If Indianapolis wins, it locks the Texans in to the No. 4 overall pick.
  • If Houston wins, it opens the door for a few other teams to move up.
  • Based on record alone, if the Texans win to finish 5-11, the furthest they could possibly drop is to No. 9 overall. Let’s look at the table below to see the 1-9 picks heading into Week 17.

NFL Draft Order (heading into Week 17)

# Team W L T W% SoS %
# Team W L T W% SoS %
1 Browns 0 15 0 0.000 0.5167
2 Giants 2 13 0 0.133 0.5333
3 Colts 3 12 0 0.200 0.4833
4 Texans (pick belongs to CLE) 4 11 0 0.267 0.5083
5 Buccaneers 4 11 0 0.267 0.5583
6 Broncos 5 10 0 0.333 0.4833
t-7 49ers 5 10 0 0.333 0.5208
t-7 Jets 5 10 0 0.333 0.5208
9 Bears 5 10 0 0.333 0.5583
  • Look at the 7-9 picks. Each of those teams has a 5-11 record. The 49ers (.5208), Jets (.5208), and Bears (.5583) all have SOS numbers that the Texans are unlikely to fall behind. Therefore, we can update our statement to say that the worst that Houston’s pick can fall to is likely No. 6 overall. Then, it would be dependent on whether the Buccaneers and/or Broncos win in Week 17.
  • In a unique twist, the Browns also own the Texans’ second round pick. In subsequent rounds after the first round, teams with the same record simply have their draft orders flipped from round-to-round. So if the Colts win (meaning the Texans lose) and the Buccaneers win, the Colts and Texans would both be 4-12. Then, in the second round, Houston (Cleveland owns the pick) should pick before Indianapolis.

Week 17 Rooting Guide Summary

In a best-case scenario for Cleveland’s draft position, we want the following to happen:

  • Indianapolis Colts defeat Houston Texans

First-Tier Bonus Rooting

To protect ourselves in case Houston beats Indianapolis, we also want to root for:

Second-Tier Bonus Rooting

These games would only really have an impact on the Texans’ second-round pick.

The Browns also own a second round pick from the Eagles, but at this rate, that pick won’t improve as they have the best record in football (and the pick will be determined by how far they go in the postseason).

TLDR Summary

The Browns will definitely pick 1st overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Then, they will either be picking 4th, 5th, or 6th overall, depending on what happens in Week 17.