This is a look at the first-round order of the 2019 NFL Draft through Week 9. The order is determined by record, using strength of schedule as a tiebreaker. Keep in mind — teams 21-32 would make the playoffs if the season ended today. The draft order for playoff teams is determined by the results of postseason play.
And then there were two.
As we zoom into the second half of the season, the field of one-win teams has been trimmed to the not-so-dynamic duo of the Raiders and Giants.
Could those teams win another game before the season is over? Sure. The Giants come off their bye to face a beatable two-win Niners squad on Sunday (then again, ask the Raiders about how beatable San Fran is). Will one of them win again in this 2018 season? At last glance, they certainly didn’t look like they were on the verge of a breakthrough … which means strength of schedule could ultimately determine which team picks first in 2019.
Oakland currently holds the SOS tiebreaker over the Giants for the No. 1 overall pick (.486 to .585), but the Raiders have a far tougher road the rest of the way. In fact, it’s the toughest path to the finish line — winning percentage of the Raiders’ remaining opponents: .610 (highest in the league); Giants’: .438. It’s a role reversal of sorts, one that could eventually lead the teams to flip spots in the order if they remain stuck on one win, with the Giants going from one of the toughest first-half schedules to one of the easiest second-half schedules, and vice versa for the Raiders. But hey, we’re not here to predict the future. If they both win again, well, this race for the top pick could get really fun, with four other clubs sitting at two wins.
Here’s the order heading into Week 10, along with the top three needs for each team.
Arrows indicate how far up or down a team has moved relative to last week.
Record: 1-7 (.486 strength of schedule)
Previous week: No. 3
This week’s game: vs. Chargers
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DB, WR
There are needs across the board here, which was obvious if you watched Oakland’s 34-3 loss to the Niners in Week 9, but the pass rush is an especially odious facet of their game right now. The Raiders rank last in the league with seven sacks — that’s an average of fewer than one per game. Oakland last recorded a sack on Oct. 14. Yes, Jon Gruden, it is hard to find good pass rushers.
Record: 1-7 (.585)
Previous week: No. 2
This week’s game: at 49ers
Biggest needs: QB, DL, OT
The Giants could end up in position to have their choice of QBs in the 2019 draft — but will there be one worth taking this early? Something tells me Dave Gettleman isn’t going to be pressured into addressing a certain position if he doesn’t see value. He also has huge needs to address in the trenches on both sides of the ball. This season hasn’t been a particularly interesting one for the Giants, but their offseason could be riveting.
Record: 2-7 (.520)
Previous week: No. 1
This week’s game: vs. Giants
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, WR
The 49ers will almost certainly remove themselves from the running for the first pick with another win, and they’ve got a great shot at home against the G-Men. Let’s see if the San Francisco pass rush, which racked up eight sacks last week against the Raiders, can keep it going against the porous Giants O-line. I still think this defense could take a big step forward next season with more heat off the edge, even if it means drafting a defensive lineman with their top pick for the fourth time in five years.
Record: 2-7 (.579)
Previous week: No. 5
This week’s game: at Jets
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
In addition to finding a respectable backup QB for Josh Allen in the offseason, the team is going to have to find players that can improve their protection up front and playmaking ability at the skill positions. This Buffalo offense is in danger of going down as historically bad — it’s averaged 6.7 points in the three games Allen has missed since suffering an elbow injury.
Record: 2-6 (.500)
Previous week: No. 4
This week’s game: at Chiefs
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Just when this team gets a little positive momentum going with a win over the Niners before the bye week … it gets to visit the Chiefs. Ouch. Well, this team needs to be thinking long-term over short-term anyway, and that means putting Josh Rosen in the best possible situation to succeed …. starting with giving him a better offensive line next season. He might also need a new target, if Larry Fitzgerald either decides to retire or play elsewhere (he’s in the final year of his deal).
Record: 2-6-1 (.573)
Previous week: No. 6
This week’s game: vs. Falcons
Biggest needs: OT, WR, CB
The Browns have now dropped four straight heading into their meeting with the rising Falcons, and no team has allowed more sacks than Cleveland (35). John Dorsey has to give Baker Mayfield better protection and a big target to connect with downfield in 2019.
Record: 3-6 (.455)
Previous week: No. 7
This week’s game: vs. Bills
Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, WR
Sam Darnold is going to have to stop playing " stupid football" if the Jets are going to compete for a playoff spot in 2019. Mike Maccagnan needs to do everything he can to help his young QB in that effort by shoring up a leaky offensive line and adding more playmakers at the receiver position. Finding the edge rusher they’ve long been seeking will still be a priority, too.
Record: 3-6 (.564)
Previous week: No. 10
This week’s game: On bye
Biggest needs: QB, CB, OL
Denver keeps inching up the board after back-to-back losses, and the streak could continue with the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals up next after a Week 10 bye. With Case Keenum not exactly exciting the masses, there’s going to be pressure on John Elway to go get a QB in 2019. After passing on Josh Allen and Josh Rosen this year, will Elway shake things up at the position in ’19 or stay the course?
Record: 3-5 (.478)
Previous week: No. 11
This week’s game: at Bears
Biggest needs: DB, edge rusher, TE
The offense couldn’t get anything going against the Vikings on Sunday ( Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times), but looking ahead to 2019 … addressing the secondary (potentially by adding a corner and strong safety) figures to rank high on the to-do list. With Ziggy Ansah playing on the franchise tag, the Lions should be searching for players who can help them get after the quarterback. The need for a playmaker in the slot becomes even greater with Golden Tate’s departure — Detroit could go get a wide receiver or tight end (or maybe both) to help fill that void.
Record: 3-5 (.485)
Previous week: No. 8
This week’s game: vs. Jaguars
Biggest needs: DL, WR, CB
Colts fans have to like the trajectory their team is on right now, even though the win-loss record isn’t pretty. In the AFC South, with some smart free-agent moves and draft picks to give Andrew Luck a nice complement for T.Y. Hilton and a stouter defense, this club could be vastly improved a year from now.
Raiders (via Cowboys)
Cowboys’ record: 3-5 (.492)
Previous week: No. 13
This week’s Cowboys game: at Eagles
Cowboys’ biggest needs: TE, DL, S
See above (No. 1) for the Raiders’ needs — they acquired this pick in the Amari Cooper trade. After another disappointing offensive performance, Dallas should still be scouting for future Dak targets, even with Cooper in the fold. There’s plenty of room for improvement at safety, and DeMarcus Lawrence is in a contract year, as he’s playing on the franchise tender.
Record: 3-5 (.529)
Previous week: No. 9
This week’s game: at Colts
Biggest needs: QB, WR, OL
The Jaguars have a chance to put their disappointing first half of the season in the rearview, with the Colts — winners of two straight — and Steelers — winners of four straight — in the next two weeks. Of course, the doubts about Blake Bortles and this offense aren’t going away.
Record: 3-5 (.600)
Previous week: No. 15
This week’s game: vs. Redskins
Biggest needs: QB, CB, S
The Bucs don’t have the answer at QB right now, and the defense gets gashed every week (Tampa Bay is allowing a league-high 34.4 points per game). That’s not good.
Record: 3-4-1 (.543)
Previous week: No. 19
This week’s game: vs. Dolphins
Biggest needs: WR, S, edge rusher
Aaron Rodgers’ frustration is … understandable. After going 0-for-2 against the Rams and Patriots, Green Bay needs to start stacking wins to avoid falling into the abyss of also-rans. The Packers already traded away Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who’s in a contract year, and come this offseason, there will be big decisions to make about longtime staples like Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb, who are also due to become free agents.
Record: 4-5 (.540)
Previous week: No. 18
This week’s game: On bye
Biggest needs: WR, edge rusher, ILB
The Baltimore pass rush didn’t get to Ben Roethlisberger nearly enough on Sunday. There could be some major turnover in that area this offseason — Terrell Suggs is 36 and in the final year of his deal, as is the much younger Za’Darius Smith. Stud ILB C.J. Mosley is in his contract year, too. This club still lacks a No. 1 receiver.
Record: 4-4 (.454)
Previous week: No. 16
This week’s game: vs. Cowboys
Biggest needs: OT, CB, RB
The Eagles are banged up right now at tackle, and with Jason Peters pushing 37 years old, it will be time for them to look to the future at the position in the offseason. The defensive line, while a team strength, could use some reinforcements, especially if Brandon Graham departs, but arguably more pressing is the need at corner. Philly can also give Carson Wentz more help by adding a workhorse in the backfield.
Record: 4-4 (.470)
Previous week: No. 21
This week’s game: at Rams
Biggest needs: DB, edge rusher, WR
Can the Seahawks survive this meat-grinder of a stretch? They came up just a bit short against the Chargers, and now get the Rams, Packers and Panthers in consecutive weeks. With the offensive line much-improved, WR could be the bigger priority come the offseason, and there could be a big hole or two to fill on defense, with Earl Thomas expected to depart.
Record: 4-4 (.485)
Previous week: No. 12
This week’s game: vs. Patriots
Biggest needs: WR, TE, OLB
Big win for the Titans on Monday night, but if Tennessee is really going to rise from the middle of the pack, it’s going to need some more explosiveness from the skill positions, particularly WR/TE. Tennessee could also be in the market for another outside ‘backer this spring with Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan in the final year of their deals.
Record: 4-4 (.570)
Previous week: No. 14
This week’s game: at Browns
Biggest needs: DT, edge rusher, OG
The Birds, once 1-4, have clawed their way back to .500, thanks to an explosive offense and a defense that has made major improvements in the past month, despite the continued absence of some key starters they lost to injury in the early going. Now, can this D keep playing well enough to be a solid complement for the offense? They face only one team with a winning record in the next six weeks.
Record: 5-4 (.487)
Previous week: No. 17
This week’s game: at Packers
Biggest needs: QB, DE, WR
Ryan Tannehill continues to deal with the capsule injury in his shoulder that has kept him out of the past four games. Regardless of his health, the Dolphins have to find a way to become more dynamic on offense and it starts with addressing the quarterback position this offseason. Defensive end also has to be a priority with Cameron Wake, who had a big day against the Jets, in his contract year and set to turn 37 in January.
Record: 5-3-1 (.454)
Previous week: No. 20
This week’s game: On bye
Biggest needs: OL, DT, LB
Minnesota’s defense stampeded through the Detroit O-line for a franchise-record 10 sacks on Sunday. The Vikings O-line bounced back from its struggles the previous week against New Orleans, but shoring up that unit still has to be a top priority this offseason. On defense, Sheldon Richardson and Anthony Barr are in contract years.
Raiders (via Bears)
Bears’ record: 5-3 (.434)
Previous week: No. 22
This week’s Bears game: vs. Lions
Bears’ biggest needs: OT, OG, DB
See above (No. 1) for the Raiders’ needs — they acquired this pick in the Khalil Mack trade. Chicago took care of business in the last two weeks, beating the Jets and Bills, and now they get the test of three games against division opponents in the span of 11 days (vs. Lions, vs. Vikings, at Lions). One thing to watch: Can the offensive line, now without Kyle Long (foot) through at least Week 16, be more consistent in generating a push in the running game.
Record: 5-3 (.461)
Previous week: No. 26
This week’s game: at Buccaneers
Biggest needs: WR, DB, LB
Painful, costly loss for Washington on Sunday. They got away from their old-school winning formula against Atlanta, and their limitations showed up in a big way. The team took a hit at its greatest area of need, with WR Paul Richardson being placed on I.R., and while the acquisition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix helps the secondary in the short term, he’s in the final year of his deal.
Record: 5-3 (.575)
Previous week: No. 24
This week’s game: vs. Saints
Biggest needs: TE, LB, OL
Cincinnati comes out of its bye ranked dead last in yards allowed per game (447.8) and third-to-last in average points allowed (29.6). And on Sunday they’ll go up against the league’s No. 2 scoring offense — they have to hope the Saints playing outside the comfort of the dome works in their favor in that matchup. As for the offseason to-do list, a playmaker at linebacker could go a long way toward pulling the Bengals defense out of a rut, while Andy Dalton will benefit from better protection as well as a threat who can attack the seams with Tyler Eifert injured again and in a contract year.
Record: 6-3 (.408)
Previous week: No. 23
This week’s game: On bye
Biggest needs: OL, S, CB
Denver wreaked havoc against the Houston O-line, recording four sacks and six other tackles for loss, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Texans, who’ve now won six straight since starting 0-3 (becoming the first team to do so since 1970). Is anyone else going to beat Houston? They only have one team with a winning record remaining on the schedule ( Redskins in Week 11).
Record: 5-2-1 (.478)
Previous week: No. 25
This week’s game: vs. Panthers
Biggest needs: CB, ILB, edge rusher
The Pittsburgh defense played much better football in the second quarter of the season, but Artie Burns has been benched in favor of Coty Sensabaugh, which only reinforces the need for a big, physical CB1. The Steelers should be looking for help at every level of the defense.
Record: 6-2 (.446)
Previous week: No. 28
This week’s game: at Steelers
Biggest needs: S, edge rusher, OL
This team is hot right now, finding itself very much in contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. When we get to the offseason, the offensive line will require some attention — Ryan Kalil has already announced he plans to retire after 2018. A couple more things to watch: Who’ll be getting after the passer and providing the last line of defense? DE Julius Peppers and S Mike Adams are both over the age of 37 and in the final year of their deals, while S Eric Reid joined the team on a one-year contract.
Record: 6-2 (.457)
Previous week: No. 27
This week’s game: at Raiders
Biggest needs: OT, DT, S
Five wins in a row for the Chargers, and it could easily become eight with the Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals up next. The holes aren’t glaring right now (aside from cleaning up that kicking game, obviously), but the Chargers should be eyeing their next protector for Philip Rivers, and preparing for life after Brandon Mebane up front on defense.
Record: 7-2 (.507)
Previous week: No. 29
This week’s game: at Titans
Biggest needs: DL, LB, WR
The Patriots, winners of six straight, just keep on rolling. They should cruise to another AFC East crown, but interesting questions await in the offseason: Darren Andrews, Braxton Berrios, Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman are the only wide receivers under contract beyond 2018 ( Josh Gordon will be a restricted free agent). Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers and Danny Shelton are due to hit the market, as well, and there’s a need for another playmaking ‘backer. Something tells me the Pats will figure it out, like they always do.
Packers (via Saints)
Saints’ record: 7-1 (.485)
Previous week: No. 30
This week’s Saints game: at Bengals
Saints’ biggest needs: DB, LB, TE
See above (No. 14) for the Packers’ needs. The Saints sent them this pick in their trade to move up for Marcus Davenport in the 2018 draft. New Orleans did a nice job of keeping Todd Gurley in check on Sunday (19 touches for 79 yards, TD), but still gave up plenty of big plays through the air, even after addressing its biggest need with the trade for cornerback Eli Apple. The squad is left with only one pick (its second-rounder) in the first four rounds of the 2019 draft.
Record: 8-1 (.453)
Previous week: No. 32
This week’s game: vs. Seahawks
Biggest needs: OLB, DT, S
The Rams didn’t manage to sack Drew Brees on Sunday, as the defense was gashed for 45 points and 487 yards. With a need for more pressure off the edge fueling the team’s decision to acquire contract-year Dante Fowler at the trade deadline, and DT Ndamukong Suh and S Lamarcus Joyner also due to hit free agency, the D could be in for some significant remodeling in 2019.
Record: 8-1 (.481)
Previous week: No. 31
This week’s game: vs. Cardinals
Biggest needs: CB, S, DL
The defense continues to show signs that it’s much better than it looked early in the season, but that’s still the area, especially in the secondary, that should be priority No. 1 in the offseason. Kansas City gets one more tune-up before its highly anticipated matchup with the Rams — which will be that improved D’s toughest test of the season — in Week 11.
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