clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Racing The Rams For The Second Overall Pick

When you're 2-10 with four games left to go in the season, the tendency is to keep one eye on the draft and one eye on the season, and we have been no exception over here. As of now, barring a miracle run at the end of their season, the Indianapolis Colts are going to have the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and as far as we're concerned, the real race is for the second overall pick between our Minnesota Vikings and the St. Louis Rams.

Now, different websites are projecting different things as far as who has the second overall selection between us and the Rams, who also sit at 2-10 with four games remaining. When two teams are tied for a particular draft spot, the first tiebreaker that gets looked at is strength of schedule. The team with the weaker strength of schedule gets the higher selection, presumably because if you get a bad record against bad teams, you need more help than a team that has a bad record against good teams. . .or something like that.

Based on that, if the season were to end today. . .after 12 games. . .the Rams would, indeed, hold the second overall pick in the draft. The schedules thus far break down as follows:

Minnesota Vikings

St. Louis Rams

San Diego Chargers (5-7)

Philadelphia Eagles (4-8)

Detroit Lions (7-5)

New York Giants (6-6)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)

Baltimore Ravens (9-3)

Kansas City Chiefs (5-7)

Washington Redskins (4-8)

Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

Green Bay Packers (12-0)

Chicago Bears (7-5)

Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

Green Bay Packers (12-0)

New Orleans Saints (9-3)

Carolina Panthers (4-8)

Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

Green Bay Packers (12-0)

Cleveland Browns (4-8)

Oakland Raiders (7-5)

Seattle Seahawks (5-7)

Atlanta Falcons (7-5)

Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

Denver Broncos (7-5)

San Francisco 49ers (10-2)

Opponents Record: 82-62 (.569)

Opponents Record: 80-64 (.556)

However, the season does not end after 12 games, and if you at sites like the Great Blue North Draft Report (one of my personal favorites), they've obviously taken that into consideration, as their projection appears to take into consideration not only the strength of schedule of the games already played, but also the strength of schedule of the opponents that the teams have yet to play.

Minnesota's opponents over the final four games of the season have a combined record of 27-21, while the Rams' opponents over the final four games have a combined record of 31-17. (These numbers were done prior to the Thursday night game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, which affects the Rams, but not all that much since it puts one win and one loss on their opponents' record.)

If you take the records of the opponents that both of the teams will play the last four weeks into account, the Vikings jump ahead of the Rams, as their 16 opponents (as of today) have a combined record of 109-83 (.568), while the Rams' opponents have a combined record of 111-81 (.578), which matches the GBN projection. With that being the case, the Vikings would end up with the second overall selection.

As of now, it would appear that the Rams and Vikings are really the only two teams in play for the second overall pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars have three wins this season, but they should get a fourth as they play the (still) winless Indianapolis Colts in their regular season finale. That should push them to four. As far as the Rams and the Vikings? Well, it would appear that St. Louis' best chance for a win from here on out might be this weekend, as they take on the Seattle Seahawks (5-7) before finishing the season with Cincinnati (7-5), Pittsburgh (10-3), and San Francisco (10-2).

On the other hand, Minnesota might have a shot at playing themselves out of the race for #2. (Not to say that the Rams don't, but the Vikings' road looks significantly easier on paper.) The Detroit Lions (7-5) appear to be in the midst of a. . .dare I say. . .Viking-esque late-season implosion, and are starting to rack up a ton of injuries to key personnel. Home against New Orleans (9-3), as much as it pains me to say it, is likely going to be ugly for us. Minnesota's not winning that game. Then, there's a Christmas Eve trip to the nation's capital to take on the Washington Redskins (4-8) before celebrating New Year's by welcoming a Chicago Bears (7-5) team that could be without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.

As far as a potential race with the Jaguars for the third overall pick? Well. . .we'll cross that bridge when we get that third win. No point in doing it right now.

Oh, and if you want some food for thought, check out GBN's preliminary mock draft, too. They have the Vikings holding the #2 overall pick, and selecting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. However, they have the Vikings taking Claiborne at #5 overall, after trading down with the aforementioned Redskins, receiving Washington's second-round pick in 2012 and their first-round pick in 2013 in return for moving down three spots. The Redskins then take USC quarterback Matt Barkley with the second overall selection.

I don't know about you guys, but if that scenario were to play out, I would do that trade in a heartbeat. With apologies to our friends at Hogs Haven, the Redskins (in my opinion) aren't one player away from being a contender, so you would have to figure their 2013 first-rounder would be a fairly high pick as well. But, again, we'll have to see how things play out.