Pats fans may want to check 2021 NFL Draft order ahead of Jets game originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
We know this is unfamiliar territory for New England Patriots fans. But we're just here to help.
The Patriots are one of the NFL's worst teams at the midway point of the season, and they'll face the NFL's actual worst team Monday night in the 0-8 New York Jets.
New England technically could run the table to finish 11-5, and it'd be foolish to count a Bill Belichick-coached team out of the playoff hunt until they're mathematically eliminated.
But after a four-game losing streak that dropped the Patriots to 2-5, it might be time for fans to look toward the future.
Yes, we're talking about tanking. If the season ended before Monday night's game, New England would have the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft based on its record.
If the Patriots somehow lose to the Jets -- they wouldn't dare, would they? -- they could "jump" to as high as the No. 5 pick. If they take care of business, however, they'd slip into the double digits with half of their season remaining.
Tanks for the memories
The last time the Patriots drafted inside the top 15 (Jerod Mayo, 10th)
There are plenty of talented quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft who may interest New England, and the worse Belichick's team is, the better shot it has of landing an elite QB like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields.
We're not telling Patriots fans to root against their team the rest of the way. But they might want to keep an eye on the bottom of the standings -- especially if Joe Flacco and Co. pull off an upset in the Meadowlands.
Here is the current 2021 NFL Draft order as of Monday afternoon:
1. New York Jets (0-8)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)
3. Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
4. New York Giants (2-7)
5. Washington Football Team (2-6)
6. Los Angeles Chargers (2-6)
7. Miami Dolphins (from 2-6 Texans)
8. New England Patriots (2-5)
9. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
10. Carolina Panthers (3-6)
11. Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
12. Detroit Lions (3-5)
13. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
14. Denver Broncos (3-5)
15. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)
16. Chicago Bears (5-4)
17. Cleveland Browns (5-3)
18. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)
20. Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
21. Miami Dolphins (5-3)
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (from 5-3 Rams)
23. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
24. Tennessee Titans (6-2)
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
26. New York Jets (from 6-2 Seahawks)
27. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
28. Buffalo Bills (7-2)
29. Green Bay Packers (6-2)
30. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)
31. New Orleans Saints (6-2)
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)