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Five teams make their case for the No. 1 pick

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

Yes, we've only crossed the midpoint of the NFL season, but for some teams, it's not too early to look ahead to the offseason.

According to 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, we can predict final records and draft order.

These teams -- including the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants, who meet on Monday Night Football -- project to finish with the worst records. Here's a look at what those teams need and what they might do with the top choice:

Arizona Cardinals (2-7)

Arizona Cardinals The Cardinals are still in the hunt for the No. 1 pick, but any more wins and they can slip down the draft board. It's more likely they'll pick somewhere between Nos. 2-5. What could hurt the Cardinals' chances of getting the top pick, depending on how the second half plays out, is that they'll lose the tiebreaker to the 49ers, who also have just two wins, after beating San Francisco twice this season. The Cardinals already have their quarterback of the future, Josh Rosen; if they were to have the No. 1 selection, they could either trade it for a stockpile of picks or draft an offensive lineman, pass-rusher, cornerback or receiver who could be a cornerstone of their franchise for years to come. -- Josh Weinfuss

Buffalo Bills (3-7)

Buffalo's record has been the result of a revolving door at quarterback and also the NFL's hardest schedule to this point, including five of their first seven games on the road. If the Bills want the top overall pick, they will likely need to lose most or all of their December home games against beatable opponents -- the Jets, Lions and Dolphins. It would be the Bills' first time selecting at the top of the draft since 1985, when they took Hall of Famer and NFL all-time sacks leader Bruce Smith.

If the Bills do earn the No. 1 overall pick, quarterback would be out because of their multiple trades to acquire the No. 7 overall pick in last April's draft to choose Josh Allen. There would be intriguing defensive names at the top of the board for Buffalo, including Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver, but the Bills will face pressure to address their historically bad offense with their first pick. Wide receiver would be the most pressing need, especially with an underperforming Kelvin Benjamin becoming an unrestricted free agent in March, but the draft seems to lack top-caliber receivers. The best bet for Buffalo would be either to stock its on-the-rise defense or trade down and use multiple lower draft picks to restock its offensive skill positions and line. -- Mike Rodak

New York Giants (1-7)

The Giants are tied for the worst record in football at the midway point of the season. This after finishing last season 3-13 and with the second-worst record in the NFL. They're struggling to score points (again!) and soon will want to get a look at rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta, a fourth-round pick out of Richmond. It's not an ideal situation to win games.

The higher the Giants pick, the better. They need a franchise quarterback to build around after passing on Sam Darnold, Rosen and Allen in favor of running back Saquon Barkley in last year's draft. Eli Manning will be 38 before this season's Super Bowl and is a stationary piƱata in the pocket. If Oregon QB Justin Herbert declares for this year's draft, expect the Giants in the mix. Otherwise they can go in any direction other than a skill position on offense. The Giants desperately need to address premium positions such as offensive tackle and edge rusher, among other needs. Even collecting more picks would be beneficial, considering they're in rebuild mode. -- Jordan Raanan

Oakland Raiders (1-7)

The Raiders are in serious danger of losing out and going 1-15 for the first time in franchise history and securing the No. 1 overall draft pick (Oakland also has two other first-round picks, those belonging to Dallas and Chicago). The Raiders need those selections and need to hit on them badly, with Jon Gruden's Deconstruction/Reconstruction and after missing and giving up on so many draft picks over the past six years. Only 11 of general manager Reggie McKenzie's 50 pre-Gruden draft picks from 2012 through 2017 are on the current 53-man roster. Of course, trading away first-rounders like Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper factor in, and that's why playmakers, on both defense and offense, are badly needed. An edge rusher, though, should be the likely first target. Think, then, Ohio State's Bosa. Through 10 weeks, the Raiders have eight sacks, or 23 fewer than the league-leading Minnesota Vikings. In fact, 11 -- ELEVEN! -- individual players have at least eight sacks. Yeah, pass-rusher is an obvious need. -- Paul Gutierrez

San Francisco 49ers (2-7)

The 49ers are still in the thick of the race for the top overall pick, but a convincing win against the Raiders put a dent in their chances. Another victory against the Giants would probably all but remove them from that race, though, as the Giants and Raiders also are in the mix. Given the 49ers' schedule the rest of the way, it would be a surprise if they didn't win at least two or three more games, which will probably be too many to secure the No. 1 spot. Regardless, the Niners should still pick high enough to land a difference-making talent at a position of need, such as edge rusher, cornerback or wide receiver. At this early stage, landing Bosa appears ideal but the early read on this draft class is that there are multiple top-10-caliber pass-rushers available. If the Niners do go that direction, they need to get it right and atone for some recent misses on highly drafted defensive linemen (save for DeForest Buckner, of course). -- Nick Wagoner