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2011 NFL Draft Order: Panthers Locked In To #1, Texans Could Pick As High As #2

Here is your up-to-the-date NFL Draft order through Week 16:

1) Carolina Panthers (2-13) — .576 Opponent’s Win% (.559)
2) Denver Broncos (4-11) — .508 Opponent’s Win % (.507)
3) Cincinnati Bengals (4-11) — .582 Opponent’s Win % (.570)
4) Buffalo Bills (4-11) – .580 Opponent’s Win % (.576)
5) Arizona Cardinals (5-10) — .456 Opponent’s Win % (.464)
6) San Francisco 49ers (5-10) — ..494 Opponent’s Win % (.505)
7) Dallas Cowboys (5-10) — .521 Opponent’s Win % (.509)
8) Houston Texans (5-10) — .527 Opponent’s Win % (.527)
9) Detroit Lions (5-10) – .549 Opponent’s Win % (.561)
10) Cleveland Browns (5-10) — .576 Opponent’s Win % (.565)
11) Minnesota Vikings (5-9) — .542 Opponent’s Win % (.545)
12) Seattle Seahawks (6-9) — .482 Opponent’s Win % (.489)
13) Tennessee Titans (6-9) – .513 Opponent’s Win % (.500)
14) Washington Redskins (6-9) — .518 Opponent’s Win % (.509)
15) Oakland Raiders (7-8) – .469 Opponent’s Win % (.458)
16) Miami Dolphins (7-8) – .536 Opponent’s Win % (.513)

Those win percentages are through Week 15. I haven’t found ESPN’s SOS numbers to be particularly reliable in this matter. But I’ve included them in parentheses so we can see how they hold up to reality once someone who is actually double checking these comes through. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference either way, as most teams are just about where they’re supposed to be.

EDIT: All the 5-9/5-10 and above teams' OW%s have been updated thanks to Paul Kuharsky.

Basically, there are a few things in favor of the Texans getting a (Nick) Fairl(e)y high pick here:
-Arizona and San Francisco play each other, which means one of them has to win and leapfrog the Texans should they lose.
-The Bills will be playing the Jets, who have nothing to play for, and rumors have already started to spread that the Jets will rest Mark Sanchez in that game.
-Denver draws an opponent, San Diego, that also has nothing to play for.
-While Cincinnati and Cleveland get the Ravens and Steelers, who do have the division to play for, they both have their spots locked in.
-Should the Eagles lose to the Vikings on Tuesday, they will also have nothing to play for against the Cowboys next week.

The Texans, of course, host a Jaguars team that is fighting for their playoff lives and who need to win to have a chance. So there is still a little bit of drama left in the Texans season: just instead of them competing for the playoffs, it’s the other team.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.