The New England Patriots are no longer slotted to pick in the top 10 of the 2021 NFL Draft. For now, at least.
The Patriots had moved up to No. 9 in the first round after losing to the Buffalo Bills in Week 8. It was the Patriots' fourth consecutive loss, which the team hadn't suffered through since 2002.
New England finally snapped its losing streak on Monday night with a 30-27 comeback victory over the New York Jets. The victory moved the Patriots down four spots to No. 13.
For some fans, the team's Week 9 victory was not a good outcome. It's a longshot that the Patriots make the playoffs. They have a less than 10 percent chance to win the AFC East, per ESPN's Football Power Index, and a wild card spot is going to be difficult to secure as well.
So, if the Patriots aren't going to make the playoffs, you could argue that losing as many games as possible to improve their draft position is the best route to take for the remainder of the regular season. There are plenty of pros and cons to both sides of the debate, but it doesn't seem like Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has any interest in tanking.
But even if the Patriots don't actively try to lose games, it might just happen anyway. This is not a good football team, and that was pretty evident Monday night when New England struggled mightily to beat a very bad Jets team that still hasn't won a single game.
The Patriots also have a few more difficult games on their schedule, including Sunday night's matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Even without tanking, it's quite possible the Patriots could end up with a top 10 or 12 selection when the regular season is finished.
Where do the Patriots stand right now?
Here's the updated order (non-playoff teams only) for the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft entering Week 10, via Tankathon.
- New York Jets, 0-9
- Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-7
- Dallas Cowboys, 2-7
- New York Giants, 2-7
- Washington Football Team, 2-6
- Los Angeles Chargers, 2-6
- Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans, 2-6)
- Cincinnati Bengals, 2-5-1
- Carolina Panthers, 3-6
- Atlanta Falcons, 3-6
- Detroit Lions, 3-5
- Minnesota Vikings, 3-5
- New England Patriots, 3-5
- Denver Broncos, 3-5
- San Francisco 49ers, 4-5
- Chicago Bears, 5-4
- Cleveland Browns, 5-3
- Indianapolis Colts, 5-3