Imagine NBA Draft Lottery Results for the 2021 NFL Draft Order and the Impact on the Cowboys

Currently 2021 NFL Draft is good in hindsight. That Dallas Cowboys selected 11 players in total highlighted by the latest number 11 in linebacker Micah Parsons, and overall committed to rebuilding a defense that struggled strongly last season.

Everywhere in the sport, many are currently reacting to the results from Tuesday night NBA draft Lottery. Of course, the way the NBA handles its non-playoff teams is very different from the way the NFL does, but it manages to make things interesting.

There are probably no NFL fans who prefer a lottery system as opposed to a true worst-is-first-style draft order, but what if there was a lottery involved in the NFL draft?

In the context of this exercise, we will need to be a little creative as we compare two different sports. Here are the basic rules of our hypothetical:

  • The original 2021 NFL draft order is what we look at, as any hypothetical (even if we assign the third overall pick to Miami Dolphins even though it originally belonged Houston Texans)
  • While some NBA teams had equal odds for this year’s lottery, we listed them per the association’s distribution formula
  • The chart reads (from left to right) the original 2021 NFL Draft Order, their corresponding NBA team in terms of lottery odds for this year, how the 2021 NBA Draft Order will actually be settled, and what the then imagined NFL Draft Order would look like if it was the teams that were connected instead

Imagined NFL Draft based on NBA lottery results

Select number Original NFL draft order Original NBA lottery odds (%) Lottery result NBA draft Lottery Result NFL Draft
Select number Original NFL draft order Original NBA lottery odds (%) Lottery result NBA draft Lottery Result NFL Draft
1 Jacksonville Jaguars Houston Rockets (14) Detroit Pistons New York Jets
2 New York Jets Detroit Pistons (14) Houston Rockets Jacksonville Jaguars
3 Miami Dolphins Orland Magic (14) Cleveland Cavaliers Cincinnati Bengals
4 Atlanta Falcons Oklahoma City Thunder (11.5) Toronto Raptors Detroit Lions
5 Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Cavaliers (11.5) Orlando Magic Miami Dolphins
6 Philadelphia Eagles Minnesota Timberwolves (9) Oklahoma City Thunder Atlanta Falcons
7 Detroit Lions Toronto Raptors (7.5) Minnesota Timberwolves Philadelphia Eagles
8 Carolina Panthers Chicago Bulls (6) Chicago Bulls Carolina Panthers
9 Denver Broncos Sacramento Kings (4.5) Sacramento Kings Denver Broncos
10 Dallas Cowboys New Orleans Pelicans (4.5) New Orleans Pelicans Dallas Cowboys
11 New York Giants Charlotte Hornets (4.5) Charlotte Hornets New York Giants
12 San Francisco 49ers San Antonio Spurs (1.8) San antonio sporer San Francisco 49ers
13 Los Angeles Chargers Indiana Pacers (1.7) Indiana Pacers Los Angeles Chargers
14 Minnesota Vikings Golden State Warriors (0.5) Golden State Warriors Minnesota Vikings

The Dallas Cowboys are not affected at all in terms of their original choices. The Cowboys held the 10th overall pick for which they settled the trade Philadelphia Eagles on draft tonight, but if this hypothetical lottery were to exist, it might never have happened.

Consider that the choice that Dallas ultimately brought Micah Parsons with (number 12 overall) technically went hands three different times. It originally belonged San Francisco 49ers, who traded it to the Miami Dolphins as they moved up to number three overall to take what was settled as Trevor Lawrence. It was Miami that traded up from 12 to number six with Philadelphia right after the San Francisco trade, which led to the positioning we drafted tonight with.

In this hypothetical it is Cincinnati Bengals who has the number three overall pick and not the Miami Dolphins. Would San Francisco still have traded with them as they did Miami? The Bengals took a skill player in wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, but perhaps they would not have had the creativity to jump back up into the top six as Miami did (they ended up taking Jaylen Waddle). Maybe Cincinnati would have been too happy to tell Kyle Pitts to move from there, which would have opened up another opportunity for Atlanta Falcons two elections later.

These results are obviously just hypothetical, but they are fun to consider and talk about. So much of the draft and real football in general (including life in general) can be boiled down to a moment in time, and if it had gone a different direction, a completely different timeline with several different factors would unfold.

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