With the growing popularity of the NFL Draft, it’s never too early to look at the standings and evaluate where teams may be picking next May. Six teams have separated themselves from the pack — in a bad way — and have emerged as the front-runners to land the bittersweet No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In compiling this list, I considered the team’s current record and the combined winning percentage of all of their remaining opponents. Here is a look at the top six contenders for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
6. New York Jets (1-5)
Opponents’ Combined Winning Percentage: .474
The Jets have the most favorable schedule out of all of the winless and one-win teams in the NFL. The Jets are a disaster offensively, but have a defense that can keep them in some games. Head coach Rex Ryan may be on the hottest seat of any coach in the league and though unlikely, he could be fired as soon as next week. If the Jets can get their running game going and get average quarterback play out of Geno Smith, they are unlikely to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5)
Opponents’ Combined Winning Percentage: .500
It is somewhat shocking that the Buccaneers are not winless in 2014. They have looked competitive at times, and downright awful at other times. They rank near the bottom of the league in total offense and total defense and have given no indication that those rankings will improve any time soon. Despite a somewhat favorable schedule ahead of them, the Buccaneers are serious candidates to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
4. Washington Redskins (1-5)
Opponents’ Combined Winning Percentage: .542
The Redskins have an explosive offense — they rank fifth in the NFL in passing yards per game — and a defense that ranks in the top third of the league in both passing yards and rushing yards allowed per game. It’s hard to envision the Redskins not winning some games down the stretch despite playing in a rejuvenated NFC East.
3. St. Louis Rams (1-4)
Opponents’ Combined Winning Percentage: .559
The Rams are falling victim to a brutally tough schedule. With the usual two games against each of their NFC West counterparts, and games against the entire AFC West on their 2014 schedule, the Rams would have had to perform near their peak just to reach a .500 winning percentage for the season. The Rams are down to Austin Davis, who was their third stringer entering the season, at quarterback. He has performed quite admirably considering the situation, but unfortunately for him, the schedule for the Rams doesn’t get any easier.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
Opponents’ Combined Winning Percentage: .570
The Jaguars are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, so landing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft would likely come as good news for the franchise. Even though the Jaguars play in a fairly weak division, they still have several difficult games ahead of them in 2014. The team has heavily invested in Blake Bortles as the future of the franchise, so he will be allowed to learn on the job, regardless of the team’s win/loss record. The Jaguars have a very strong chance of landing the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft
1. Oakland Raiders (0-5)
Opponents’ Combined Winning Percentage: .603
The Raiders showed signs of life against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6, but there is no denying that they are facing a schedule ahead of them that is among the toughest remaining schedules for any team in the league. It looks like Derek Carr has the makings of a future Pro Bowl quarterback, but it won’t be happening in 2014. Much like the Jaguars, the Raiders would probably welcome the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft with open arms. Also, given that the Raiders are in the market for a new head coach, the combination of a promising young quarterback and the No. 1 pick in the draft may make them a much more attractive option for big-name head coaching candidates.