Draft Order Scenarios for the New York Jets and the Other Five Worst Teams in the NFL

December 22, 2014

The Jets fans were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of Amari Cooper danced in their heads.

 

I know this has been true at least for myself, ever since ESPN’s Todd McShay released his first mock draft of Mock Draft Season last week and projected the New York Jets to draft Cooper, the star wide receiver and Heisman Trophy finalist from Alabama. The Jets were sixth overall in that mock, and they’ve moved up to fourth since then, thanks to wins by Washington and Oakland this weekend.

 

As luckier fans prepare playoff scenarios for the glorious NFL Week 17 that approaches, some of us have to look to 2015. (Some of us have been looking to 2015 since November.) The Jets aren’t the only team in the league’s cellar this year, and in fact have no chance of securing the #1 overall pick (more on that later). The following is the current draft order as it stands today:

 

1. Tampa Bay (2-13, .483 SOS)

2. Tennessee (2-13, .496 SOS)

3. Jacksonville (3-12, .513 SOS)

4. New York Jets (3-12, .552 SOS)

5. Oakland (3-12, .576 SOS)

6. Washington (4-11, .492 SOS)

 

The reason I list each team’s current strengths of schedule is because that is the first tiebreaker used in determining draft order, per NFL.com – not head-to-head. In the event that Washington and Jacksonville end up the only two teams tied at 4-12, it doesn’t matter that the Jags lost their matchup in Week 2. Washington had an easier SOS, and if you lose the same number of games but to an easier schedule than the team you’re tied with, you are decided to be the worse team and you get the higher draft pick.

 

Now, I’ve done the grunt work to determine each team’s range of possible final strengths of schedule. For a moment, it looked like Tampa and Tennessee could finish with identical strengths of schedule – Tampa’s strongest possible SOS versus Tennessee’s weakest possible – but I realized that that would require Cincinnati to both win and lose tonight’s Monday night game.

 

What am I trying to say? The strengths of schedule will obviously vary with Week 17’s results, but their order is officially locked. No team’s strength of schedule will change so much between now and Sunday night that it will change the draft order tiebreakers in any way.

 

Check this out: After next Sunday’s games, if Tampa Bay and Tennessee are tied at 2-14 (or 3-13, for that matter), the Buccaneers clinch the first overall selection by strength of schedule, and the Titans take the second.

 

For any combination of teams that finish tied at 3-13, use this order: TB, TEN, JAX, NYJ, OAK

 

For any combination of teams that finish tied at 4-12, use this order: WAS, JAX, NYJ, OAK

 

Now for a quick look at each team’s scenarios:

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Can pick: 1, 2

Will clinch #1 pick with a loss vs. New Orleans OR a Tennessee win

Will be awarded #2 pick with a win AND a TEN loss

 

Tennessee Titans

Can pick: 1, 2

Will clinch #1 pick with a loss vs. Indianapolis AND a Tampa Bay win

Will be awarded #2 pick with a win OR a TB loss

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Can pick: 3, 4, 5, 6

Will clinch #3 pick with a loss at Houston

Will clinch #3 pick with a win at Houston AND wins by NYJ, OAK and WAS

Will be awarded #4 pick with a win at Houston AND a WAS loss AND wins by NYJ and OAK

Will be awarded #4 pick with a win at Houston AND a WAS win AND a loss by either NYJ or OAK

Will be awarded #5 pick with a win at Houston AND losses by NYJ and OAK AND a WAS win

Will be awarded #5 pick with a win at Houston AND a WAS loss AND a loss by either NYJ or OAK

Will be awarded #6 pick with a win at a Houston AND losses by NYJ, OAK and WAS

 

New York Jets

Can pick: 3, 4, 5, 6

Will clinch #3 pick with a loss at Miami AND a Jacksonville win

Will be awarded #4 pick with a loss at Miami AND a JAX loss

Will be awarded #4 pick with a win at Miami AND wins by OAK and WAS

Will be awarded #5 pick with a win at Miami AND a WAS loss AND wins by JAX and OAK

Will be awarded #5 pick with a win at Miami AND a WAS win AND an OAK loss

Will be awarded #6 pick with a win at Miami AND losses by OAK and WAS

 

Oakland Raiders

Can pick: 3, 4, 5, 6

Will clinch #3 pick with a loss at Denver AND wins by Jacksonville and New York Jets

Will be awarded #4 pick with a loss at Denver AND a loss by either JAX or NYJ

Will be awarded #5 pick with a loss at Denver AND losses by JAX and NYJ

Will be awarded #5 pick with a win at Denver AND a WAS win

Will be awarded #6 pick with a win at Denver AND a WAS loss

 

Washington

Can pick: 3, 4, 5, 6

Will clinch #3 pick with a loss vs. Dallas AND wins by Jacksonville, New York Jets and Oakland

Will be awarded #4 pick with a loss vs. Dallas AND wins by exactly two of JAX, NYJ and OAK

Will be awarded #5 pick with a loss vs. Dallas AND win by exactly one of JAX, NYJ and OAK

Will be awarded #6 pick with a loss vs. Dallas AND losses by JAX, NYJ and OAK

Will be awarded #6 pick with a win vs. Dallas*

 

*Even if they win Sunday and finish 5-11, Washington will own the SOS tiebreaker over the only other potential 5-11 finisher: the Chicago Bears, another awful team we haven’t even discussed. Chicago clinches #7 with a loss.

 

Alright, that ought to account for every permutation except for those that predict any Week 17 ties, because come on, how much work do you expect out of me? But should any of the games in question head to overtime, and a tie seems to enter the realm of possibility, I’ll keep you updated with draft-order implications on Twitter. That’s @Adam_Zielonka, in case any of you don’t follow me yet, and you really should.

 

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