BRONCOS

Broncos need wins as first-round pick keeps getting better for Seahawks

Nov 15, 2022, 10:44 AM
Pete Carroll...
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Normally when an NFL season goes South, it’s in a team’s best interest to tank.

The more losses they rack up, the higher the first-round pick in the following year’s NFL Draft. Pretty simple, right?

That’s not the case for the 2022 Broncos, as their top pick in 2023 is headed to Seattle. It was part of the Russell Wilson trade last March. So, not only do the Seahawks have a great chance to win the NFC West, or at least make the playoffs, but they’ll also be rewarded with a high selection in next April’s draft.

After Denver lost to the Titans on Sunday and dropped to 3-6 on the season, that pick would currently be No. 7 overall. And there’s nothing the Broncos can do about it, other than win games down the stretch. Even if the playoffs aren’t a realistic possibility, at least keeping Pete Carroll and Seattle from hitting the jackpot again on this trade should be plenty of motivation.

Just last week, QB Russell Wilson had to fire back at Carroll after he made some petty comments about “resistance” to Wilson wearing a play-calling wristband in Seattle. It’s clear there’s a ton of bad blood there, particularly on Carroll’s side. The last thing the Broncos want to do is reward him with a premium selection in the draft because of their inept play.

The good news is Denver has two very winnable games coming up in the Raiders and Panthers. They’re favorites against Las Vegas on Sunday at home, and might be in Carolina the following week as well. If they can get to 5-6 and crawl back toward .500, the future first-round pick will no longer be in the top-10.

But that relief will be temporary, with a trip to Baltimore and two games against the Chiefs looming after that. It underscores the importance of winning the next two contests. A couple of losses, or even a split, and this pick could get really, really good for the Seahawks.

The worst teams in the NFC are all 3-7, just a half-game behind the Broncos. The worst team in the AFC is the 1-7-1 Texans, who Denver already beat. After that the 2-7 Raiders are the only team without at least three wins. The point? If things continue to go awry, Denver could realistically finish with the second worst record in the NFL.

That would obviously be a disaster, and gift Seattle the No. 2 overall selection in the spring. Even if wins won’t matter for the postseason, they matter very much for the future pick. That should hopefully be enough incentive for Wilson and the rest of the Broncos to go earn some victories.

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