The Oakland Raiders beat their hated rival, the San Francisco 49ers, on Sunday. But the win was a costly one for the Raiders.
At 1-11, the Raiders were on pace to have the top pick in next year’s NFL draft. Even if the Raiders didn’t want to draft the presumed top pick, quarterback Marcus Mariota, they could have taken the best non-quarterback available or traded the pick to a QB-hungry team for a bounty of draft picks.
However, after the win, the Raiders are tied with four other teams at 2-11 and would actually fall all the way to the 5th pick because they would lose the tie-breaker to all four teams.
When teams have the same record, the NFL breaks draft pick ties based on strength of schedule. A team with the weaker schedule actually gets the better draft pick.
Here is what the top five picks would look like if the season ended today, with current strength of schedule (SOS) in parentheses (via SBNation.com):
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-11 (.488 SOS)
- Tennessee Titans, 2-11 (.490)
- Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-11 (.522)
- New York Jets, 2-11 (.549)
- Oakland Raiders, 2-11 (.590)
Certainly the Raiders can still move back up the draft board. But it is unlikely that they will be able to move all the way back to the top spot as their final three games are against teams with winning records.
In order for the Raiders to get the top pick now, they would have to lose more games in the final three weeks than any of the other teams.
So the big winner this weekend was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who would almost certainly want a quarterback and would not have to worry about somebody trading ahead of them to draft Mariota.
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