Entering Week 13, the Redskins were slotted to selected fourth in the 2020 NFL draft behind the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, and Miami Dolphins.
Washington defeated the Panthers 29-21 on Sunday for their third win of the season, but as they enter Week 14, the Burgundy and Gold actually improved their draft position. If the draft were tomorrow, Washington would select No. 3 overall.
Well, how is that possible?
The Dolphins won in Week 13 as well, putting both Washington and Miami at 3-9. Although Washington beat Miami in Week 6, the head-to-head record is not a factor in determining draft order.
When two teams have the same record, the determining factor as to which team selects first is their strength of schedule. In simpler terms, that is determined by each team's combined opponent's record. Whichever team's opponents have combined for fewer wins will select first.
After Week 13, the Redskins have a lower strength of schedule than the Dolphins, meaning Miami has played opponents with an overall better record. Therefore, the Redskins move to the No. 3 overall spot in the draft order, with Miami sliding back to four.
If the Redskins and Dolphins were to finish with the same strength of schedule, a coin flip at the NFL combine would determine who picks first. For teams that are in the same division or conference, playoff tiebreakers would be used to determine the draft order. But since Miami and Washington play in different conferences and different divisions, neither apply.
The top two picks remain the same. The Bengals won their first game of the season on Sunday, but their 1-11 record is still the league's worst. The Giants lost their eighth consecutive game, putting them at 2-10 and just one game out of the top overall selection.
At 3-9, the rest of the season is about building the foundation for the future in Washington.
The team was able to do both on Sunday, as they came out victorious over Carolina (thanks to crucial contributions from second-year RB Derrius Guice, rookie Montez Sweat among others) and still improved their draft position.
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