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Before Monday Night Football in Week 17, the Cleveland Browns were eliminated from playoff contention. The team went into the week with three games that mattered most including their own matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Los Angeles Rams took care of the Baltimore Ravens but the Cincinnati Bengals took the division with a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now the Browns have two meaningless games, relative to anything on the field, that could drastically impact their NFL draft position. While many want to see the team send Ben Roethlisberger out with a loss and believe there is value in back-to-back winning seasons, those things would negatively impact the team’s draft pick next year.
Cleveland is currently slotted with the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Based on strength of schedule tiebreaker, a loss on Monday Night Football would not change that standing.
However, two straight losses could put the Browns in a position to draft as high as seventh overall. While unlikely due to so many teams and Cleveland’s strong strength of schedule (a positive in playoff tiebreakers but a negative in draft tiebreakers), a top ten pick could be significant.
A win tonight would move the team into a tie with three others and have them drafting 15th. If the team wins out, they could be drafting 18th overall.
Last week, we did two mock drafts against each other. One had the team drafting with the 10th pick, the other with the 20th. While those numbers will be slightly adjusted for the next mock draft post, the difference was staggering.
There are lots of reasons to want the Browns to win their last two games but the impact on their draft positioning must be noted. Lose out, a top ten pick is possible. Win out, a pick in the middle of the first round is likely.