NFL power rankings: Detroit Lions tumble to No. 30, eyes toward 2022 draft

Detroit Free Press

It’s the first week of October, I know, but I glanced at the projected 2022 NFL draft order Tuesday morning just to see where the Detroit Lions’ second first-round pick was slotted — that sounds good, doesn’t it, having two first-round picks? — and something caught my eye up top.

The Philadelphia Eagles, if the season ended today, would have three picks in the top 10.

The Eagles have their own first-round choice, plus picks from the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts acquired in trades this spring. The Eagles, Dolphins and Colts are among the 12 NFL teams currently with losing records, and if things stay that way, Philadelphia would have an unprecedented amount of ammunition for its rebuild.

So what are the chances that happens?

Well, the Eagles seem destined for a high draft pick. They sit 25th in this week’s power rankings, and while their three losses have come against three of the NFL’s best teams — the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs —they are the start of my NFL version of the Mendoza line, teams with virtually no chance of making the playoffs this fall.

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As usual, the NFL has a few very good teams up, a few very bad teams at the bottom, and a whole bunch of teams in the middle. I count seven truly bad teams this year, with the Eagles, Jets, Giants, Falcons, Jaguars, Texans and, yes, Lions, comprising that group

Neither the Dolphins nor Colts made that cut, but both have tough enough schedules and big enough issues at quarterback that top-10 picks are not out of the question. The caveat, of course, is that the Eagles get the Colts’ first-rounder only if Carson Wentz plays 70% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps this season. Wentz is 98.2% right now, and if the Colts don’t turn their season around soon, they will have to bench Wentz for the good of the franchise.

The Giants are another team that could end up with two top-10 choices (they get the Chicago Bears’ first-round pick from the Justin Fields trade), while the Lions will have their own very high pick in the draft plus a pick in the 20s or 30s, depending on how far the Los Angeles Rams go in the playoffs.

If you’re keeping track at home, the Lions currently sit No. 2 in the draft order now, behind the Jacksonville Jaguars, which means they’re in the perfect spot to miss out on top pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and roll the dice on whatever quarterback tears up college football the next two months. Their second pick, if the season ended today, would be No. 26 overall.

This week’s power rankings:

1. Arizona Cardinals (4-0)

2. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)

4. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

5. Cleveland Browns (3-1)

6. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1)

7. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

8. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

9. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)

10. Las Vegas Raiders (3-1)

11. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

12. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)

13. Carolina Panthers (3-1)

14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)

15. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

16. Denver Broncos (3-1)

17. Tennessee Titans (2-2)

18. Washington Football Team (2-2)

19. New Orleans Saints (2-2)

20. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)

21. New England Patriots (1-3)

22. Chicago Bears (2-2)

23. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)

25. Miami Dolphins (1-3)

26. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)

27. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

28. New York Giants (1-3)

2. New York Jets (1-3)

30. Detroit Lions (0-4)

31. Houston Texans (1-3)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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