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2019 NFL draft order projections: Cardinals in line for top pick

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Six weeks into the NFL season, teams are beginning to break away from the pack -- for the playoff race, and for the 2019 NFL draft. The 49ers, Cardinals, Colts, Giants and Raiders are all clumped together at 1-5 and headed for lost seasons. If we went by tiebreakers to determine which team would have the No. 1 pick in next year's draft right now, it'd go to the 49ers.

But we don't want to know the order right now. We want to know what the order would look like at the end of the season. That's why we use ESPN's Football Power Index, a prediction system that leverages expected points added per play and other factors, to project how every team will finish the season.

FPI projects Arizona to have the NFL's worst record, giving the Cardinals a 33.7 percent chance to get the No. 1 overall pick. Here are FPI's projections for the top 10 picks, using average projected draft position, with offseason needs from each from our NFL Nation writers:


1. Arizona Cardinals (1-5)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 33.7 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 96.8 percent

Top offseason needs: WR, OL, CB

At some point, Larry Fitzgerald will hang up his cleats and the clock for his Hall of Fame induction will begin. But the Cardinals can't wait for that to happen to address the void the 35-year-old will leave, even if it's not with an early draft pick. With left tackle D.J. Humphries heading into his option season in 2019 and right tackle Andre Smith plagued by injuries, the Cardinals could strengthen the position. Another priority is finding a cornerback who could complement perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson and give the Cardinals one of the NFL's best secondaries. -- Josh Weinfuss

2. Oakland Raiders (1-5)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 20.7 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 92.2 percent

Top offseason needs: DE, DB, QB

The irony was as thick as the late Al Davis' Brooklyn accent when Jon Gruden said earlier this season that elite pass-rushers were hard to find -- after he traded away Khalil Mack. Same with Gruden saying he liked Derwin James, but Oakland had already used top picks on safeties the previous two seasons. And what if Derek Carr simply cannot survive, let alone thrive, in Gruden's system? Yeah, we're going full scorched Earth here, but drastic times call for drastic measures, with pass rush being the priority. Might the Nov. 1 game at the 49ers actually be an early preview of the Nick Bosa Bowl? The former Ohio State pass-rusher is No. 1 on both early draft boards of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. -- Paul Gutierrez

3. Cleveland Browns (2-3-1)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 7.7 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 84.8 percent

Top offseason needs: WR, LB, CB

The good news for the Browns is that this is the first time this century they won't have to worry about drafting a quarterback. That's assuming Baker Mayfield keeps progressing. What they need is to give Mayfield more talented pass-catchers. Defensively, the linebacker position could use reinforcements and depth. Jamie Collins Sr.'s up-and-down play remains a concern, and Cleveland could easily free itself from his contract if it releases him this offseason. As for cornerback, adding another premier corner to go with Denzel Ward, whose three interceptions are tied for the league lead, would be a major boost. -- Pat McManamon

4. New York Giants (1-5)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 11.4 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 82.4 percent

Top offseason needs: QB, Edge, OT

The Giants' needs begin and end at quarterback. If they don't find a solution to that position, all their young, talented playmakers -- including Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley -- will go to waste. Eli Manning has thrown only six touchdown passes in six games this season, and it would seem to be a longshot that fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta is the answer. They can't possibly pass on quarterback if they're in the top 10 again after taking Barkley at No. 2 this year over Sam Darnold and other strong options. But that's not it. The Giants need help at premier positions such as edge rusher and offensive line, specifically right tackle. Nobody would argue they could use an infusion of talent at either of those spots, with New York tied for last in the NFL with seven sacks, and right tackle Chad Wheeler with the worst pass block win rate (54 percent) among offensive tackles with at least 100 pass blocks this season. -- Jordan Raanan

5. San Francisco 49ers (1-5)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 10.4 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 82.0 percent

Top offseason needs: DE, WR, CB

The 49ers' edge rush has been almost nonexistent in recent years as they haven't had a player exceed 6.5 sacks since 2013 or reach double digits since 2012. San Francisco is in desperate need of a dominant "LEO" defensive end to complement tackle DeForest Buckner. At wideout, Pierre Garcon is under contract for 2019, but his $8.4 million cap number for next season might be untenable, and the Niners could move on. Either way, the offense could still use a reliable top target for Jimmy Garoppolo. Richard Sherman has been a strong addition at corner, but the Niners haven't gotten the step forward they had hoped from Ahkello Witherspoon, and Jimmie Ward continues to struggle with injuries and is a free agent in 2019. The 49ers could use a starting-caliber corner to pair with Sherman and potentially replace him some day at the team's No. 1. -- Nick Wagoner

6. Denver Broncos (2-4)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 3.2 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 64.7 percent

Top offseason needs: CB, QB, OT

This is going to depend on how quarterback Case Keenum finishes the season. The Broncos gave him a prove-it two-year deal when he signed in March, and they were also scouting the top quarterbacks in the 2018 draft. They didn't elect to pick one, but general manager John Elway and three other members of the team's personnel staff have already scouted potential Class of 2019 quarterbacks in the Oregon-Washington game this month. If Keenum can help the Broncos snap out of the current doldrums, they might be inclined to have him start next season and mentor a young quarterback. The Broncos' other two most immediate needs are at cornerback, where the talent level has dropped off from previous years, and offensive tackle, where the play has been shaky the past two seasons. -- Jeff Legwold

7. Buffalo Bills (2-4)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 2.5 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 62.4 percent

Top offseason needs: WR, CB, OL

Bills wide receivers have averaged 78 receiving yards per game this season, the second-worst mark of any NFL team since at least 2001. With Kelvin Benjamin in the final year of his contract and doing little to justify an extension, the Bills could use as many as three new wide receivers in 2019. Their cornerback spot opposite Tre'Davious White has also been a revolving door this season between Phillip Gaines, Ryan Lewis and briefly Vontae Davis. The offensive line, which has contributed to a league-worst sack-per-drop back rate of 11.2 percent, could also use upgrades at every position except left tackle. -- Mike Rodak

8. Indianapolis Colts (1-5)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 3.9 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 62.3 percent

Top offseason needs: WR, DE, CB

The Colts shied away last offseason from addressing a No. 2 receiver to play alongside T.Y. Hilton. They've realized what it's like to not have a threat without Hilton (hamstring) the past two games. The Colts have 13 drops over the past three games. They have managed to get by without a legitimate pass-rushing threat so far this season -- their 19 sacks are tied for third most in the league -- but they don't have a player who causes opposing quarterbacks to look for them at the line of scrimmage. And just like with receiver, the Colts shied away from dealing with cornerback after Rashaan Melvin signed with Oakland last spring. They lack a clear-cut No. 1 cornerback on the roster. -- Mike Wells

9. Detroit Lions (2-3)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 2.0 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 52.5 percent

Top offseason needs: Edge, DT, TE

Ezekiel Ansah's pending free agency (and continued injury issues) make finding a quality edge rusher paramount. It was also a need last year ... and the year before that, too. If Ansah departs, however, Detroit has no established edge rushers, with linebacker Devon Kennard the only player under contract for 2019 showing promise. The Lions' run defense issues scream needing an addition on the interior of the defensive line as well. If the Lions can find an interior pass-rusher in the draft who is good against the run, it could solve two issues with one prospect. But with the Lions' skill positions in good shape on offense, and a bunch already invested in the offensive line, focusing on the defense is something Detroit must do no matter where it picks in Round 1. -- Michael Rothstein

10. New York Jets (3-3)

Chances for No. 1 pick: 1.1 percent
Chances for top-10 pick: 45.1 percent

Top offseason needs: Edge, OL, WR

The Jets have been looking for a premier edge rusher for more than a decade; a pass-rushing outside linebacker is the major weakness in their 3-4 front. After failing in their bid to trade for Khalil Mack, it now becomes their No. 1 priority this offseason. They will need a left guard to replace James Carpenter, free agent after the season, and their receiving corps might need an overhaul, with Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse and Terrelle Pryor set to hit free agency. -- Rich Cimini