Lions Would Fall Heavily in Draft if They Defeat Bucs

Logan Lamorandier

The Lions sit at 3-9-1, and currently sit fifth in the NFL Draft order. 

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, there is a lot on the line in terms of where the team's final draft position will end up being. 

At this point, the Lions are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, can't finish better than last in the division and key players are dropping like flies.

So, in short, it's draft season. Here's the NFL Draft order, if the season were to end today:

1. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-12‬
‪2. New York Giants: 2-10‬
‪3. Washington Redskins: 3-10‬
‪4. Miami Dolphins: 3-10‬
‪5. Detroit Lions: 3-9-1‬
‪6. Arizona Cardinals: 3-9-1‬
‪7. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-9‬
‪8. Atlanta Falcons: 4-9‬
‪9. New York Jets: 5-9
‪10. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-8‬

In regards to the Lions, the highest pick they can end up with is the No. 2 overall pick. But that is a very unlikely scenario.

Of the three teams ahead of the Lions for the No. 2 pick, the Lions have the most difficult schedule ahead. 

As you can see below, as of Week 15, the Dolphins are the only team that will play an opponent with a winning record the rest of the way.   

New York Giants: 
‪vs. Miami Dolphins (3-10)‬
‪at Washington Redskins (3-10)‬
‪vs. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)‬

Washington‬ Redskins:
‪vs. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)‬
‪vs. New York Giants (2-11)‬
‪at Dallas Cowboys (6-7)‬

Miami Dolphins‬:
‪at New York Giants (2-11)‬
‪vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)‬
‪at New England Patriots (10-3)‬

Detroit Lions‬:
‪vs. Tampa Bay Bucs (6-7)‬
‪at Denver Broncos (5-8)‬
‪vs. Green Bay Packers (10-3)‬

Fortunately for the Lions, if they are to lose out, they will be no lower than fourth in the draft order due to the teams ahead of them playing each other. 

It's not guaranteed that the Lions will land a top-five pick, however.

According to ESPN's Power Football Index (PFI), the Lions have a 50.9 percent chance of landing in the top five and a 95.4 percent chance of a top-10 selection.

Obviously, ESPN must feel that the Lions have a solid chance to win at least one more game of their remaining three. 

The PFI is only giving the Lions a 4.6 percent chance of dropping out of the top 10 altogether.

It's important to note that a win this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could drop the Lions all the way to the ninth spot.

So, although it's never fun to lose -- and boy, do Lions fans know that -- it may be what is best for the franchise long term.