Yesterday, I was playing around on the ESPN Playoff Machine, every fan’s last stop when they’re on the brink of postseason elimination. I wasn’t using it to see how the Green Bay Packers could sneak in as the NFC’s seventh seed, though. Rather, I used the tool to figure out what’s the highest potential draft pick the Packers could be awarded at the end of the season.
The answer might be surprising: A top-3 selection.
The Packers can still get a top-3 pick in the draft, technically pic.twitter.com/NdHAaEV7F3— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) December 22, 2022
That’s right, there’s a chance that Green Bay still could pull in one of the top prospects in the upcoming draft class, despite their current 6-8 record. Is it likely? Absolutely not. It involves the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, the three teams with 4-10 records, winning out all but one game to end the season. The other game, Broncos-Rams on Christmas, needs to end in a tie, as either team losing would likely push the Packers back to at least the fourth overall pick. Is this exercise rooted in reality? No.
Should that happen, though, and the team gets a little more help from the teams whose records range from 4-9-1 and 6-8, it’s technically possible to land a top-3 pick. The two teams that Green Bay can’t jump in the draft order are the Houston Texans (1-12-1) and the Chicago Bears (3-11). Should the Texans win out, their 4.5 wins still rank below the Packers’ six. The Bears, who lost two games to Green Bay in 2022, would end up getting the nod in a 6-11 tie-breaker scenario unless it was a three-way tie. The Packers’ strength of schedule of .548 is the second-highest in the league behind the Bears, meaning that whoever the third team in this hypothetical three-way tie would be would likely draft the earliest out of the trio.
For what it’s worth, ESPN came out with their draft order predictions this week and claimed their Football Power Index gives the Packers a 10.2 percent chance to draft in the top 10 and less than a 0.1 percent chance to pick in the top 3. Currently, the Packers are slated with the 13th overall pick and their average draft position, per ESPN’s model, has them picking at about 15th overall.
One Twitter follower asked me if there’s a higher chance for the team to pick in the top 3 or win a Super Bowl this year. FiveThirtyEight gives Green Bay right around a 0.1 percent chance to bring the Lombardi home, so it’s probably winning the title, considering that the FPI model only published data on a top-five selection — not a top-three selection.
Hey, it’s still possible, though.