Cleveland Browns look to be sitting pretty for the 2018 NFL Draft

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are just four weeks and a little bit of luck away from owning the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Cleveland Browns are now 0-12 after Sunday’s road loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Cleveland is also the NFL’s lone winless team, and thanks to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s ability to lead his team to multiple field goals, the Browns hold what is likely an insurmountable lead for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Browns would have to split their final four games – home the next to Sundays to the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, then road games against the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers – and have the New York Giants and 49ers each close out with four consecutive losses to lose out on the top pick.

So, with the first pick pretty much locked up – be real, with head coach Hue Jackson in charge the Browns are not getting to two wins this season – fans can comfortably turn their attention to the Lone Star state, where the Houston Texans are sitting in the No. 8 position in the draft.

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The Browns, of course, hold Houston’s first-round pick (as well as the Texans second-round pick) in the upcoming draft, so the fate of the Texans is very much on the mind of the Browns.

Houston closes out the season with games against the 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.

In a perfect world, Garoppolo leads the 49ers to just enough field goals this Sunday to take down the Texans. The Jaguars and Steelers and both in the playoff race, so they will not be taking the day off against Houston. It is only the season finale, where neither the Texans or Colts will have anything to play for, that looks worrisome.

It is highly unlikely that the 49ers or Giants will catch the Texans, but a Colts win in Week 17 would be a big help, as would a win somewhere along the way from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Browns could further help their cause by dropping their Christmas Eve game to the Chicago Bears.

As it stands, the Browns are going to have two picks among the first 10 selections, and with a little luck the Texans pick could be as high as No. 4 or No. 5, which would make for quite an opening night of the draft.

While you ponder that, Browns fans, let’s take a dive into the weekly NFL power rankings.


"No. 32 (no change): It’s really hard to lose this much, but even the projections don’t think the Browns are going to find the win column frequently down the stretch. They haven’t won the turnover battle in any game this season and have the worst team Total QBR. (Pittsburgh No. 4, Baltimore No. 20, Cincinnati No. 27)"

Pete Prisco at CBS Sports: 

"No. 32 (no change): At least they know they have a weapon for the future with Josh Gordon back. But who will be throwing to him? (Pittsburgh No. 2, Baltimore No. 13, Cincinnati No. 21)"

Frank Schwab at Yahoo Sports:

"No. 32 (no change): Lions safety Glover Quin said the Browns “probably” have more athletes than 25 of the 32 teams in the NFL, according to It seems he meant it as a compliment to their roster and not a shot at Hue Jackson, but it ends up reflecting poorly on Jackson. So does the debacle at the end of the first half Sunday, which is more evidence the Browns are a sloppy, poorly-coached team. Even if Quin is way off on his assessment and the Browns don’t have that much talent, this coaching staff obviously is not getting the most out of what talent it does have. The problem is if the Browns fire Jackson, who is going to want that job? (Pittsburgh No. 5, Baltimore No. 18, Cincinnati No. 24)"

Elliot Harrison at

"No. 32 (no change): Need to rewatch some of Sunday’s loss on Game Pass. I want to see what went terribly wrong in the second half. At one stage of the third quarter, the Brownies were up seven and moving the ball. Hue Jackson’s offense piled up 413 yards on the road, which is no joke (only the Falcons have gained more in Detroit this season). Rarely do I get a not-sarcastic Browns take on Twitter. Send any you might have along to me. Feel the offense is best when Isaiah Crowell gets going and Duke Johnson is heck-on-wheels on third down. Defensively, team brass needs another pass rusher and a cover corner. You? (Pittsburgh No. 5, Baltimore No. 20, Cincinnati No. 27)"

The Browns have put in a considerable amount of hard work to get where they are. With a little bit of luck, and the continued mismanagement of Jackson, the Browns are going to be in a prime position come draft weekend.

Next: Josh Gordon can't lead the Browns to a win by himself

All they need now is the fortitude to see the plan through to fruition.