FAB 4. Will The Bucs Wind Up With A Top 5 Draft Pick?
Thanks in part to a four-game winning streak, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently picking seventh in the 2018 NFL Draft with two games remaining. Due to the Bucs’ tougher strength of schedule, they pick last of the four teams that are 4-10 as of right now.
Current Top 7 Draft Picks
1. Cleveland – 0-14 (.513 SOS)
2. NY Giants – 2-12 (.527 SOS)
3. Indianapolis – 3-11 (.487 SOS)
4. Cleveland (from Houston) – 4-10 (.504 SOS)
5. San Francisco – 4-10 (.513 SOS)
6. Chicago – 4-10 (.558 SOS)
7. Tampa Bay – 4-10 (.563 SOS)
Here is the remaining schedule for the teams currently in line for a top 7 draft pick next April:
Tampa Bay (4-10 at Carolina
Cleveland (0-14) at Chicago (4-10)
Jacksonville at San Francisco (4-10)
Pittsburgh at Houston (4-10)
Indianapolis (3-11) at Baltimore
New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona
Chicago (4-10) at Minnesota
New Orleans at Tampa Bay (4-10)
San Francisco (4-10) at Los Angeles Rams
Houston (4-10) at Indianapolis (3-11)
Washington vs. New York Giants (2-12)
With the Bucs facing two playoff-caliber teams in the Panthers and the Saints down the stretch, whereas the Bears host the winless Browns this week and then square off against Minnesota to end the season. Chicago can help Tampa Bay move up a spot to No. 6 with a win against Cleveland to improve to 5-10.
San Francisco can also help Tampa Bay by beating either Jacksonville or the L.A. Rams to finish 5-11, but neither is likely, so it’s likely the 49ers stay at No. 5 or perhaps move up to No. 3 if Indianapolis beats both Baltimore and Houston to finish 5-11, but that doesn’t seem likely either.
Houston, who currently owns the fourth overall spot, but must surrender its first-rounder to Cleveland for a trade last year, faces Pittsburgh and three-win Indianapolis. The Texans could beat the Colts, which would move them to 5-11 and out of the top 5. If Houston stays at four wins don’t expect Tampa Bay (currently .563 SOS) to move ahead of Houston’s spot (currently .504 SOS) due to strength of schedule if both teams finish 4-12.
Tampa Bay doesn’t have any chance to move up into the top 5 if it finishes 4-12 aside from Houston and Chicago winning another game. Even if the 2-12 New York Giants win both of their remaining games against Arizona and Washington to finish 4-12 it would come down to strength of schedule. The Giants have a .527 strength of schedule rating, while the Bucs have a .563 strength of schedule ranking and that won’t change much over the next two weeks for either team.
Remember, the three tiebreakers when it comes to draft order are win percentage, strength of schedule and then a coin flip. Head-to-head games, such as the Bucs’ wins over the 2-12 Giants and the 4-10 Bears don’t factor in.
If Tampa Bay somehow beats Carolina or New Orleans over the next two weeks and finishes 5-11, the Bucs could slide all the way out of the top 10 depending on the outcomes of other games as the 2017 NFL regular season concludes. Having a high pick could be of great importance this year as Tampa Bay desperately needs to upgrade its pass rush with a player like like North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb, who is regarded as the top edge rushing prospect and a likely top 10 pick in a year when there aren’t many great 4-3 defensive ends.