Projected 2018 NFL draft order: Browns inch closer to top pick

The Cleveland Browns haven't completely locked down the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, but they are tightening their grip. Following Sunday's games in which both the Browns and the San Francisco 49ers lost, Cleveland has a 76 percent chance to earn the right to pick first next year.

Each week, the Football Power Index (FPI) projects the order of next year's draft by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model's ratings for individual teams in addition to game location. FPI takes some time to run, but on Sundays we can produce a live projection that includes that day's results but does not incorporate changes to FPI ratings based on that day's performances.

In some cases, the projected draft order will not match the current draft order. That's because FPI is considering the probability of outcomes that haven't yet occurred and, crucially, projecting strength of schedule at the end of the season, because that is a tiebreaker for draft order.

That is why the Indianapolis Colts are projected to have a better pick than the New York Giants -- even though the Giants have a worse record at the moment, FPI believes the Colts will have fewer wins at the end of the season.

On Sunday, much of the status quo remained with most of the worst teams in the league losing again. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fresh off a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, slid into the top 10.

Below is FPI's projected order for the 2018 draft, based on each team's average draft position in the simulations. While each team's current record is listed below, remember that the order is based on the record the model believes the teams will have after 16 games:

1. Cleveland Browns

Record: 0-11
Average draft position: 1.3
FPI chance to earn top pick: 76 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: >99.9 percent

In addition to the Browns having a high likelihood of landing the top pick in the draft -- which could net them a quarterback such as USC's Sam Darnold or UCLA's Josh Rosen -- Cleveland is awfully close to having two top-10 picks. The Browns own Houston's first-round pick, which at the moment FPI has at No. 11. That's similar to what the Browns had entering the 2017 draft, in which they selected Myles Garrett at No. 1 and then traded down from the No. 12 spot.

2. San Francisco 49ers

Record: 1-10
Average draft position: 2.0
FPI chance to earn top pick: 23 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 99 percent

If -- and this is a big if -- Jimmy Garoppolo is everything the 49ers are hoping he is, then John Lynch could be holding a critical asset in a seller's market. With plenty of teams needing a franchise quarterback and a couple of seemingly good ones potentially available to be drafted, Lynch might be able trade the No. 2 pick for a ransom to ... the Jets? Broncos? Dolphins? Cardinals?

3. Indianapolis Colts

Record: 3-8
Average draft position: 4.0
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0.3 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 86 percent

The Colts will be in a similar position as the 49ers in that they will have a high draft pick but, presumably, won't need to spend it on a quarterback. They're also likely to fall behind San Francisco, so there may be slightly less of a market for their pick. Should the draft order work out this way, the Colts may have their pick of the non-QBs, and could spend it on someone like Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, the top two non-quarterbacks in Todd McShay's current Top 32.

4. New York Giants

Record: 2-9
Average draft position: 4.5
FPI chance to earn top pick: 0.7 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 78 percent

The silver lining of the 2017 season for the Giants is that it sets up, conceivably, a possible transition from Eli Manning to their next potential quarterback. While Davis Webb is on the roster, Big Blue might be able to snag one of the top quarterback prospects at this position. No matter how, the Giants need better production out of the quarterback position: Manning ranked 24th in Total QBR entering Monday night.

5. New York Jets

Record: 4-7
Average draft position: 6.7
FPI chance to earn top pick: <0.1 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 40 percent

Wouldn't it fit the Jets' mold if they don't tank quite well enough to land Darnold or Rosen?

Those Gang Green fans who have given up on this season (anyone who hasn't needs to take a long, hard look at the standings) might actually be pleased to find the Jets this high on this list. That's because, despite their four wins, the Jets have really never convinced FPI that they are anything other than a bad football team. Their best chance at landing a franchise quarterback might be to not win again.

6. Denver Broncos

Record: 3-8
Average draft position: 7.1
FPI chance to earn top pick: <0.1 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 36 percent

Can you find the theme among all these teams projected at the top of the order? It's both obvious and predictable: bad quarterback play. All of the top-five teams have a quarterback who ranks 24th or worse in Total QBR, Broncos included. The mix of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch isn't getting it done, so one way or another, the Broncos will need an upgrade. That isn't the only place they need help, though: Even Denver's defense has fallen off this year.

7. Chicago Bears

Record: 3-8
Average draft position: 7.3
FPI chance to earn top pick: <0.1 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 29 percent

GM Ryan Pace may be all-in on Mitchell Trubisky, even with the rookie's struggles, so perhaps Chicago will use this pick to upgrade elsewhere. Maybe they Bears will use it to try to get a weapon, such as Alabama's Calvin Ridley, for their young quarterback.

8. Miami Dolphins

Record: 4-7
Average draft position: 9.9
FPI chance to earn top pick: <0.1 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 8 percent

It's unclear what the Dolphins will want to do at quarterback when Ryan Tannehill returns to health (and after wasting $10 million on Jay Cutler), but that is far from their only problem. The Dolphins rank fourth worst in defensive efficiency this year, and the top 10 appears to be loaded with potential defensive talent, such as LSU's Arden Key or Boston College's Harold Landry.

9. Arizona Cardinals

Record: 5-6
Average draft position: 10.4
FPI chance to earn top pick: <0.1 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 7 percent

The goal for NFL teams at the moment is to win games, but by doing so this past week, the Cardinals hurt their draft stock. They moved from FPI's eighth-highest to ninth-highest projected average draft position after beating the Jaguars.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 4-7
Average draft position: 10.5
FPI chance to earn top pick: <0.1 percent
FPI chance to earn top-5 pick: 7 percent

The Bucs rank 27th in yards before contact on rushing plays, so perhaps they'll look to give a boost to the offensive line with their first-round pick. Perhaps Connor Williams, the Texas offensive tackle who will sit out the Longhorns' bowl game, could be an option for them here.