With so many good games on Sunday, few people paid much attention to the ugly battle between the Jaguars and the Texans. But where the 2014 NFL draft is concerned, that was a huge game.
All season the Jaguars have been the favorites to land the first overall pick in next year’s draft, but by defeating the Texans on Sunday, the Jaguars have made the battle for the first overall pick a close one. Both the Jaguars and the Texans are 2-9 right now, as are the Falcons, and those three teams are currently in a three-way tie for the first overall pick. The tiebreaker is strength of schedule, with the team that played the weakest schedule getting the highest pick. Although it’s too soon to say how the final strength of schedule numbers will look, the Jaguars would likely win the tiebreaker thanks to their last-place schedule this season. The Falcons and Texans both won their divisions last year and are playing first-place schedules.
The Jaguars and Texans will face each other on Thursday, December 5, and the loser of that game will have the inside track for the first overall pick. Interestingly, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, viewed as a potential first overall pick, will be playing his team’s regular-season finale that same night.
But what could really make things interesting is if the Falcons lose all of their remaining games, and the Jaguars and Texans both win at least one. That would give Atlanta the first overall pick, and with Matt Ryan already in place as the franchise quarterback, a Falcons team that already has a lot of the pieces in place could land the first overall pick and select South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney, who could significantly upgrade their pass rush as a rookie.
If the Jaguars, Texans and Falcons all win games in December, the 2-8-1 Vikings could get into the mix. Minnesota’s tie in Green Bay on Sunday moved the Vikings into the fourth spot in the draft order, for now.
After the Vikings in the draft order come two teams with three wins apiece: Tampa Bay, which has amazingly gone from 0-8 to 3-8, and Washington, which is currently at 3-7 and plays San Francisco tonight. Rams fans will be rooting for the 49ers: Washington sent its first-round pick to St. Louis as part of the trade to acquire Robert Griffin III.