With the Bears headed to the playoffs, we don't yet know where they will select in next April's NFL draft. Of course, we hope that selection will be 32nd and last... because that would mean the Bears will have won the Super Bowl. It appears that since there are four teams with better records than the Bears, they'd pick no higher than 28th.
Here's a preliminary look at some of the top spots.
The Carolina Panthers will have the first overall selection, as they finished with the league's worst record, 2-14. Three teams follow at 4-12 -- the Denver Broncos, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Buffalo Bills. When this happens, they are slotted in draft order with the team having the lowest opponent's winning percentage on top. As of now, then, the Broncos will pick second overall, followed by the Bengals with the third pick and the Bills fourth.
That's followed by the two 5-11 teams, the Arizona Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns, who get the fifth and sixth picks respectively. Then it gets a little dicey, because seven teams are tied at 6-10. After the jump, here's where all these 6-10 teams will pick (subject to change based on tiebreakers and the result of tonight's game):
No. 7: San Francisco 49ers
No. 8: Tennessee Titans
No. 9: Washington Redskins
No. 10: Dallas Cowboys
No. 11: Houston Texans
No. 12: Minnesota Vikings
No. 13: Detroit Lions
Looks pretty simple, right? But wait, there's more! If the Seattle Seahawks lose to the St. Louis Rams tonight, they will also fall to 6-10, and would likely slot in at the eighth pick, with that pushing everyone else down a slot. If the Rams lose, they'll only be 7-9, and the above order will remain unchanged. That ought to get you started on putting your draft books together.