Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers Getty Images | Scott Taetsch

The NFL is heading into Week 12, and the playoff picture is coming into focus. As teams make plans for playing in the postseason, the worst ranked teams find a glimmer of hope for the future in next year’s draft.

These 3 teams are in contention for the number one pick in the draft, an 'honor' bestowed on the team with the worst record in the league.

Houston Texans (1-8-1)

The Houston Texans (1-8-1) are last in the AFC South. Their season continues to nosedive under the leadership of veteran NFL head coach Lovie Smith. Houston figures to have at least a top 3 pick in the 2023 NFL draft in April if they lose more than their remaining games in the season. If their losing trend continues, the Texans will find themselves nestled at the bottom of the NFL standings, and the honor of the first pick in the draft.

Despite the tremendous play of offensive rookie of the year candidate Dameon Pierce, accounting for 780 rushing yards so far this season, the Texans offense has not had too many other bright spots in 2022. Second-year starting quarterback Davis Mills future is in question, as he now has just as many interceptions as touchdowns (11) and a 78.1 qb rating for the season.

Houston Texans must decide if they're committed to Davis Mills. If the Texans decide to give Mills another shot as a starter in 2023, Houston could consider bolstering up their defensive pass rush or plug up the holes in their run defense. Alabama standout, outside linebacker Will Anderson, can provide a defensive pass rush for the Texan's, something Houston has not seen since the likes of JJ Watt. The Alabama linebacker can also set the edge for their run defense, in a manner reminiscent of former Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Carolina Panthers (3-8)

The Carolina Panthers 3-8 are not competing for much in 2023, besides a top draft pick.

Since the Carolina Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule in October and installed Steve Wilks as the interim coach, Carolina has gone 2-4. In their most recent win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers received key contributions from several young defensive players. Linebacker Marquis Haynes Sr. Racked up two sacks, and second-year cornerback Jaycee Horn accounted for an interception, in the victory over Atlanta. Along with Brian Burns, they are set with a young defensive core for next season.

Carolina has not found much success with the addition of veteran quarterback, aquired in the offseason, Baker Mayfield. Panthers are in need of a franchise quarterback to complement their defensive core. Despite drafting former Ole Miss quarterback, Matt Corral in the third round, Carolina could be tempted to go with another selection at QB should they end up with the number one pick.

Look for the Panthers to move on from Baker Mayfield after the 2022 season, and have college standout quarterback, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud or Alabama quarterback Bryce Young in their sight.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars have a chance of a déjà vu moment drafting number one overall for the second year in a row.

After the Urban Meyer head coaching experiment in 2021 went south, the Jacksonville Jaguars had hoped the addition of head coach Doug Pederson would turn this team around in 2022. The Jaguars have been more competitive this season, but late-game issues have spelt disaster for the 3-7 Jaguars.

After finishing the 2021 season 3-14, the Jags’ selected Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker first overall in the 2022 NFL draft.

Giving up fourth quarter leads has been frustrating for the Jags this season and losing within one score in six of their seven losses does not help either.

Standout college quarterbacks C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young might not be on the Jaguars radar, if they select first overall for the second year in a row. The Jags' could elect to complement their defensive front with a run stopping defensive tackle.

Selecting Walker’s former college teammate, Georgia's defensive tackle Jalen Carter, could cement Jacksonville’s front seven for years to come.

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