CINCINNATI — The Bengals are in the process of hitting rock bottom. They've lost three-straight games and six of their last seven.
Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow will have reconstructive surgery on his left knee later this week.
Most fans are already thinking about the offseason following Burrow's season-ending injury.
Will this team make the necessary upgrades? Are they willing to move on from head coach Zac Taylor following a second-straight disappointing season?
Those questions have yet to be answered, but one thing is clear: the Bengals are in prime position to finish with a top-five draft selection for the second-straight season.
Here's an updated look at the 2021 NFL Draft order if the season ended today.
1. Jets (0-11)
2. Jaguars (1-10)
3. Bengals (2-8-1)
4. Cowboys (3-8)
5. Chargers (3-8)
6. Philadelphia (3-7-1)
7. Carolina (4-8)
8. Washington (4-7)
9. Detroit (3-7)
10. Atlanta (4-7)
11. Miami [Houston Pick] (4-7)
12. Denver (4-7)
The Bengals would love to jump the Jaguars or Jets for one of the first two selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, but that is unlikely, even if they lose their final five games.
The Jets' remaining games are against the Raiders, Seahawks, Rams, Browns and Patriots. All five of those teams have playoff aspirations. There's a good chance that New York becomes the third team in NFL history to finish 0-16.
The Jaguars play the Vikings, Titans, Ravens, Bears and Colts. They could win another game, but are they going to win two and leap the Bengals in the draft order?
They can compete with the Vikings and the Bears. Maybe the Colts rest some players in Week 17.
It's still unrealistic.
The Bengals play the Dolphins, Cowboys, Steelers, Texans and Ravens. There's a chance Baltimore is resting players in Week 17. They could also push Andy Dalton and the Cowboys a week from Sunday.
If you're rooting for the Bengals to lose out and gain draft position, then you should be cheering for Mike Glennon and the Jaguars down the stretch.
The Jets aren't winning three of their final five games, which is what would need to happen for the Bengals to move ahead of them.
Cincinnati's only chance of moving up is dependent upon losing their final five games and Jacksonville winning two of their five remaining contests.
The chances are slim, but stranger things have happened.
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