How today's games could affect 49ers' first-round pick


Depending on a number of potential results from Sunday's slate of NFL games, the 49ers could end up with anywhere from the ninth overall pick to the 15th overall pick in April's NFL draft.

With a win against the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers almost certainly will hold at the No. 15 spot in the 2021 NFL Draft order. A New England Patriots win or a Las Vegas Raiders loss could sway this one spot, as KNBR's Jacob Hutchinson explains, but there won't be much movement in the order for the 49ers if they emerge victorious Sunday in Arizona.

Given that Seattle is a touchdown favorite and could clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC Playoffs with a win and losses by the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, the Seahawks will come out motivated, and a 49ers loss could bring the 49ers up multiple spots.

The primary tiebreaker between teams with identical final records comes down to strength of schedule, and as Hutchinson detailed, the results of six games among the Week 17 schedule Sunday could bump the 49ers up or down in the draft order.

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  • If the Carolina Panthers (5-10, .529 SOS) beat the New Orleans Saints (11-4), there is an outside chance that the 49ers could gain a spot. It would require the Panthers’ strength of schedule to jump significantly and for the 49ers’ to drop. A Saints loss would drop both teams’ strength of schedules. That is a very unlikely scenario, but it would mean +1 spot.
  • If the Denver Broncos (5-10, .567 SOS) beat the Las Vegas Raiders (7-8, .542 SOS), the 49ers would get +1 spot.
  • If the Dallas Cowboys (6-9, .465 SOS) beat the New York Giants (5-10) and Washington (6-9, .465 SOS) beats the Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1), the 49ers would gain +1 spot. Washington is currently in a playoff spot, but if they lose and Dallas wins, they would drop back out of that playoff spot and into a high draft pick, making it a wash. Nothing changes if Dallas loses.
  • If the Los Angeles Chargers (6-9, .490 SOS) beat the Kansas City Chiefs (14-1), who are resting many of their starters, including Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, and who the Chargers took to overtime earlier this season, the 49ers would gain +1 spot.
  • If the Minnesota Vikings (6-9, .508 SOS) beat the Detroit Lions (5-10, .504 SOS), the 49ers gain +1 spot.
  • If the New England Patriots (6-9, .533 SOS) beat the New York Jets (2-13) or if the Patriots’ strength of schedule rises and the 49ers’ (.544) falls enough, a Patriots loss could also mean +1 spot.

Keep your eyes locked in on these games throughout the day, as the 49ers' final spot in the 2021 draft order will be solidified by the end of the night on Sunday. 

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