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2011 NFL Draft Order: Week 17 NFL Schedule And 49ers Draft Position

The San Francisco 49ers square off with the Arizona Cardinals tomorrow afternoon in a game with no playoff implications. Week 17 of the NFL schedule leaves both teams on the outside looking in and more or less battling for pride. However, this game has numerous implications when it comes to the eventual draft order for the 2011 NFL Draft.

As it currently stands, the 49ers would be drafting either fifth or sixth. There are four teams with worse records than the 49ers and then five teams with the same 5-10 record. The first tie-breaker for draft order is strength of schedule. I can’t find the link now, but I recall seeing that the 49ers had one of the worst schedule strengths in the 5-10 group, with Arizona being either slightly better or slightly worse.

The loser of tomorrow’s 49ers-Cardinals game has the chance to rise as high as the number two pick in the draft if things fall their way. This is unlikely, but still possible. The 49ers and Cardinals are the only teams in the 5-10 and 4-11 group that is playing amongst themselves. The remaining teams are all facing better teams. Here’s a list of the pertinent games as far as 49ers draft position is concerned:

4-11 Bills @ 10-5 Jets
4-11 Bengals @ 11-4 Ravens
4-11 Broncos vs. 8-7 Chargers
5-10 Lions vs. 6-9 Vikings
5-10 Texans vs. 8-7 Jaguars
5-10 Browns vs. 11-4 Steelers
5-10 Cowboys @ 10-5 Eagles
6-9 Titans @ 9-6 Colts
6-9 Redskins vs. 9-6 Giants
6-9 Seahawks vs. 7-8 Rams

If the 49ers win tomorrow, they would then find themselves looking at how the 6-9 teams have faired. I don’t know how strength of schedule could change tomorrow but that could play a big impact on where the 49ers draft. The 49ers could draft as high as number two, but it seems like even with a win tomorrow they would still be drafting in the 10 or 11 range.