And then there were four. The weekend's series of playoff games left us with just four teams alive, meaning 28 are tabulating their offseason plans.
The San Francisco 49ers are the only team remaining without a head coach; that means 27 have already begun looking forward to free agency and the draft. The former comes first, but the latter remains at the forefront of most teams' minds.
Free agency is about recycled players from old teams. Draft day springs new hope and the potential of adding a foundational player who will be around for the next decade. Fans may reluctantly buy the new jersey of a free-agent acquisition; they'll rush to the team website for their first-round pick.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how things could play out heading into Championship Game Weekend.
|1||Cleveland Browns||Myles Garrett||DE||Texas A&M|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Jonathan Allen||DL||Alabama|
|3||Chicago Bears||Jamal Adams||S||LSU|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Leonard Fournette||RB||LSU|
|5||Tennessee Titans (from LA)||Jabrill Peppers||S/LB||Michigan|
|6||New York Jets||Tim Williams||LB||Alabama|
|7||San Diego Chargers||Marlon Humphrey||CB||Alabama|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Mike Williams||WR||Clemson|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||Derek Barnett||DE||Tennessee|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Reuben Foster||LB||Alabama|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Marshon Lattimore||CB||Ohio State|
|12||Cleveland Browns (from PHI)||Cam Robinson||OT||Alabama|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Mitch Trubisky||QB||North Carolina|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)||Corey Davis||WR||W. Michigan|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||Dalvin Cook||RB||Florida State|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||Charles Harris||DE||Missouri|
|18||Tennessee Titans||John Ross||WR||Washington|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Malik McDowell||DL||Michigan State|
|20||Denver Broncos||Christian McCaffrey||RB||Stanford|
|21||Detroit Lions||Charles Walker||DT||Oklahoma|
|22||Miami Dolphins||Teez Tabor||CB||Florida|
|23||New York Giants||O.J. Howard||TE||Alabama|
|24||Oakland Raiders||Sidney Jones||CB||Washington|
|25||Houston Texans||Carl Lawson||LB||Auburn|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Dan Feeney||OG||Indiana|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs||Jarrad Davis||LB||Florida|
|28||Dallas Cowboys||Gareon Conley||CB||Ohio State|
|29||Green Bay Packers||Takkarist McKinley||LB||UCLA|
|30||Pittsburgh Steelers||Ryan Ramczyk||OT||Wisconsin|
|31||Atlanta Falcons||Jake Butt||TE||Michigan|
|32||New England Patriots||Lowell Lotulelei||DT||Utah|
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Cleveland Browns have what feels like a self-explanatory pick at No. 1. Jonathan Allen of Alabama has a claim, but the Browns are moving to an attacking-style defense under new coordinator Gregg Williams. Allen is versatile enough to play inside and out on the defensive line. Garrett, on the other hand, could anchor an entire pass rush from the outside.
The Texas A&M product is double-digit sacks waiting to happen, a 6'5", 262-pound beast of a person who hasn't lost a step as he's put on muscle weight in college.
The Browns could roll the dice on a quarterback, but they passed on Carson Wentz a year ago. This front office seems committed to a long-term rebuild. There are more than enough holes on the roster for the Browns to take Garrett here and wait another year for a quarterback.
8. Carolina Panthers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Here's to hoping this Mike Williams turns out a little better than the others. Clemson's Mike Williams, like the others, is a preternatural talent who racked up big plays and touchdowns at the collegiate level and was a saving grace for his quarterback.
The Panthers passing offense took a major step back in 2016, with quarterback Cam Newton setting a number of career worsts—particularly in rate stats and downfield passing. Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen remain solid targets, but Newton needs a more dynamic No. 2 wide receiver than Ted Ginn.
Slotting Williams into that spot next year, with plans of eventually having him be the No. 1, is a good way to start rebuilding an offense that needs some fresh wrinkles.
Number TBD, Team TBD: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Let's play the game where we avoid people angrily emailing and tweeting at me to ask where Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is. I'm not going to grandstand and say Watson will not be a first-round pick; the overwhelming odds are that he will be.
But we're not mocking up fake trades in this scenario. The full draft order is not even set. It is always a little nonsensical when mock drafts, an inherently flawed process with a 0 percent chance of getting everything right, start going into fan fiction and mocking trades.
If every team stays where it is and there is no movement, there isn't an easy landing spot for Watson in Round 1 unless he unseats North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky as the draft's top quarterback.
The Houston Texans could make some sense at No. 25, but they're a year removed from investing a Brink's truck in Brock Osweiler. I doubt they're going to give up on him already. The best option for Watson is a team trading back into the first round, which would give you the usual suspects atop the first round.
The Browns, 49ers, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills could all move back into Round 1 for Watson in the mid-20s.