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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
DraftWatch: Lions between No. 3 and No. 9

By Kevin Seifert

We are now one Sunday's worth of games away from locking in the Detroit Lions' position in the 2013 draft. They've been running No. 5 overall for a few weeks in ESPN Stats & Information's projected draft order, and I've tried to expand upon their chances for moving up or down in Week 17 in the accompanying chart.

The most important fact is that the Lions have the NFL's highest strength of schedule (SOS) at this point, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That figure won't change dramatically with 15/16ths of the season's games already decided. Remember, ties in draft order are determined in reverse order of SOS -- which means the Lions will lose most, if not all, tiebreakers should it be necessary to use them after Week 17.

As you can see, the Lions technically are in contention to draft anywhere between No. 3 and the No. 9 position based on what happens in Week 17. But of the seven teams involved, the Arizona Cardinals are the only one close to the Lions in strength of schedule.

What that means: A loss Sunday to the Chicago Bears would leave the Lions drafting no lower than No. 5, but they would need victories by the Oakland Raiders and/or Philadelphia Eagles to move higher than that. A victory could put them as low as No. 9.

For those interested in continuing your draft research, ESPN.com's draft page has the top 32 prospects ranked from Scouts Inc. The top four players are linemen, and the highest-ranked offensive skill position player is West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith -- at No. 23 overall.