With Week 9 in the books for most teams, the majority of the NFL is now exactly at the midpoint of its season. And despite half the year already down the drain, it's almost impossible to differentiate the contenders from the pretenders.
Ahead of the Monday Night Football matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, seven teams sit at .500 while another seven are either one game above or below. That's 14 of the league's 32 teams stuck in the mud, all of them just about as likely to sneak into the playoffs as they are to land in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL draft.
The gap between good and bad is so small that at just one game over .500, the Washington Redskins are currently in position to make the playoffs as the sixth seed in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals, who are one game under .500, are currently in position for the ninth pick in the NFL draft.
The draft order featured below is accurate through Sunday's action, using the full-season strength of schedule as a tiebreaker for teams with the same record. But it's probably too soon to get your hopes up for any picks you may like—with so many teams clustered together in the middle of the pack, the order is changing drastically every week.
|NFL Mock Draft|
|1||Cleveland Browns||Myles Garrett||DE||Texas A&M|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Mitch Trubisky||QB||North Carolina|
|3||Chicago Bears||DeShone Kizer||QB||Notre Dame|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jonathan Allen||DL||Alabama|
|5||New York Jets||Jabrill Peppers||LB/S||Michigan|
|6||Tennessee Titans (from LA)||Marlon Humphrey||CB||Alabama|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Malik McDowell||DT||Michigan State|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Leonard Fournette||RB||LSU|
|9||Arizona Cardinals||Deshaun Watson||QB||Clemson|
|10||Cincinnati Bengals||Zach Cunningham||LB||Vanderbilt|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Mike Williams||WR||Clemson|
|12||Indianapolis Colts||Derek Barnett||DE||Tennessee|
|13||San Diego Chargers||Cam Robinson||OT||Alabama|
|14||Miami Dolphins||Takkarist McKinley||DE||UCLA|
|15||Buffalo Bills||Carl Lawson||DE||Auburn|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||Malik Hooker||S||Ohio State|
|17||Pittsburgh Steelers||Marquis Haynes||LB||Ole Miss|
|18||New Orleans Saints||Gareon Conley||CB||Ohio State|
|19||Green Bay Packers||John Ross||WR||Washington|
|20||Cleveland Browns (from PHI)||Dan Feeney||OG||Indiana|
|21||Detroit Lions||Dalvin Cook||RB||Florida State|
|22||Washington Redskins||Lowell Lotulelei||DT||Utah|
|23||Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)||Sidney Jones||CB||Washington|
|24||New York Giants||Reuben Foster||LB||Alabama|
|25||Houston Texans||Jamal Adams||S||LSU|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Ryan Ramczyk||OT||Wisconsin|
|27||Atlanta Falcons||Tre'Davious White||CB||LSU|
|28||Denver Broncos||Budda Baker||S||Washington|
|29||Kansas City Chiefs||Tim Williams||LB||Alabama|
|30||Oakland Raiders||Jourdan Lewis||CB||Michigan|
|31||New England Patriots||JuJu Smith-Schuster||WR||USC|
|32||Dallas Cowboys||Teez Tabor||CB||Florida|
10. Cincinnati Bengals: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham made headlines on Saturday with a highlight-reel blocked field goal against the Auburn Tigers. But Cunningham is much more than a special teams standout.
Cunningham's impressive athleticism makes him a perfect fit in today's NFL, as more teams are favoring athleticism over size at the position in an effort to keep up with the fast-paced offenses around the league.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller recently compared Cunningham to Cleveland Browns linebacker Jamie Collins, who has been among the most explosive and well-rounded linebackers in the league in recent years.
In Cincinnati, Cunningham could potentially serve as a replacement for veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is a free agent at season's end.
13. San Diego Chargers: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The San Diego Chargers have failed to address the offensive line early in recent drafts, and quarterback Philip Rivers has paid the price. Over the past three seasons, Rivers has been sacked 98 times, including 22 sacks this year.
In Bleacher Report's recently released NFL 1000 midseason grades, Chargers left tackle King Dunlap graded out at No. 21 overall at his position, while right tackle Joe Barksdale was ranked 23rd.
This is a weak class for offensive linemen, with only a small handful of prospects deserving of first-round consideration. Alabama's Cam Robinson will likely be at the top of the class and is an early favorite to be the first lineman off the board.
Robinson fits the mold of the type of oversized lineman the Chargers typically target. Dunlap is listed at 6'9", 330 pounds and Barksdale is 6'5", 326 pounds. Alabama lists Robinson at 6'6", 327 pounds, giving him the measurables to catch the Chargers' attention.
If Robinson stays on the board long enough for the Chargers to get a shot at him, it may be tough for general manager Tom Telesco to pass him up.
21. Detroit Lions: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Detroit Lions are hanging around in the NFC, taking a 5-4 record into their bye week.
It's been somewhat surprising to see the Lions' effectiveness on offense, despite a lack of playmakers, especially in the wake of losing Calvin Johnson to retirement.
The Lions have survived despite needing three different starting running backs this season: Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner.
To take the next step on offense, the Lions might need to finally bring in a workhorse running back.
With a workhorse like Florida State running back Dalvin Cook in the backfield, Riddick and Abdullah could actually see their production increase. With a limited workload, the extremely athletic and versatile running backs may prove to be even more effective, as they could stay fresh and wouldn't have defenses focusing on them every play.
A more well-rounded rushing attack could also ease the burden on quarterback Matthew Stafford and create a more efficient passing attack in Detroit.