Anything could happen to the 2024 NFL Draft order in the coming months. Last season, the Chicago Bears started 3-4 and then lost the rest of their games, leading to the number one overall pick and trading that to the Carolina Panthers for a bounty of picks and D.J. Moore. Other teams rebound from poor starts and may even end up in the playoffs, well out of range of the top-5 picks.
But after getting blown out by the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 and potentially putting quarterback Matthew Stafford on IR in the near future due to a hand injury, the L.A. Rams know one thing: They’re a lot closer to the number one pick today than they were after beating the Seahawks in Week 1.
Per the latest draft order posted at tankathon.com, the Rams now hold the ninth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft with a 3-5 record and a .512 strength of schedule. The harder your strength of schedule, the lower you are in draft order compared to teams with the same record. With 5 losses, the Rams now only have one fewer loss than the teams picking 2 through 5.
Right now, the Arizona Cardinals, one of the two teams that the Rams have defeated since Week 1 (the other being the Colts, and they’re also picking ahead of L.A.), have the number one pick in the draft with a 1-7 record. The Bears hold picks 2 and 3 and are hoping that the Carolina Panthers don’t win any more games; if the Panthers were 1-7 and didn’t have a bye week already, they would still have the number one pick because of strength of schedule.
Let’s say that the Rams start Brett Rypien over the next four games (Packers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns) and go 2-2, then it would be unlikely that L.A. moves up in the draft order. It is also possible that they do go 2-2 because Green Bay and Arizona are terrible.
However, if the Cardinals bring back Kyler Murray in 2 weeks, maybe Arizona is a little more dangerous. Maybe because of that, the Cardinals won’t bring Murray back.
On the other hand, if Rypien (and maybe Stetson Bennett or a street free agent) are that bad, what if the Rams go 0-4 in the next four weeks? Well, not only would they be 3-9, they would have also helped the Cardinals and Packers win games, giving L.A. a significant boost in draft order.
If the Rams are 3-9 in five weeks, then they’re certainly set to pick in the top-5, if not the top-3.
There is no amount of rational belief that one can have in the rest of L.A.’s roster to not think it possible that the Rams go 0-4 during a Stafford IR stint—and if they do, there’s no reason to believe that Stafford’s IR stint will end with him returning to the team this season.
Anything could happen to draft order in the second half of the season and you could make a case that the worst case scenario is actually the best case scenario.