<
>

NFL draft update: Loss puts Cardinals back in the hunt for No. 1 pick

play
Rosen: Going 3 and out messes up rhythm (0:20)

Josh Rosen discusses the Cardinals' offensive struggles saying they missed opportunities and going 3 and out can completely ruin the rhythm of the offense. (0:20)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals are back in the hunt for the 2019 No. 1 pick.

And their timing couldn't have been better.

Sunday's 17-3 loss to the Detroit Lions, paired with wins by the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, catapulted the Cardinals from the fourth-highest chance to secure the top pick to the highest. According to the ESPN NFL Football Power Index, Arizona has a 52 percent chance of landing the first pick while San Francisco has a 35 percent chance and Oakland has an 8 percent chance.

And as of now, the Cardinals own the second overall pick behind the 49ers.

All three teams are 3-10.

The Cardinals finish the season at Atlanta, home against the Los Angeles Rams and at the Seattle Seahawks. All three games could have draft or playoff implications.

With the Falcons sitting at 4-9, a Cardinals win would give them the same record, meaning their strength of schedule would determine who had the higher pick if they finished the season tied. Depending on how the Raiders and 49ers finish, a tie with the Falcons likely means the Cardinals will fall out of the top three.

A week later, the Rams will come to Arizona likely fighting with the New Orleans Saints for the top overall seed in the NFC and the home-field playoff advantage that comes with that distinction.

Then, in Week 17, the Seahawks may still be fighting for a playoff slot.

It's safe to say the Cardinals don't have it easy the rest of the way. They, in fact, have a 40.5 percent chance of losing out, according to the ESPN Football Power Index projections, which could then lead them to the No. 1 overall pick.

After taking quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round of the 2018 draft, having the first pick could give the Cardinals a bevy of options.

Even though the 2019 draft doesn't boast the same caliber of quarterbacks as 2018, a quarterback-needy team could be willing to move up to anywhere in the top five to get their guy. Should the Cardinals get the No. 1 pick, they'll likely be able to trade it for a package of picks sprinkled throughout the 2019 draft and beyond to bolster an already young roster. They could keep the No. 1 pick and choose defensive end Nick Bosa out of Ohio State. A telling sign to how the Cardinals are thinking should they get the top pick will be whether they extend Markus Golden, who's in the final year of his rookie contract.

Even if the Cardinals don't end up with the No. 1 pick but land in the top three, there are enough options in this year's class to fill some much-needed holes, which have been magnified recently.

They need help on an offensive line that has been riddled with injuries. All five of the team's starters from the beginning of the season have been put on injured reserve or have been let go. Left guard Mike Iupati is in the final year of his deal and left tackle D.J. Humphries will be going into the final year of his. A potential replacement for Iupati or depth at tackle with someone who could be a future starter could be an option.

Arizona has needed a cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson for a few years, a position that was a revolving door this season. Two former starters this season -- Bene Benwikere and Jamar Taylor -- were cut, and Arizona is on its third, David Amerson. But spending the first pick on a corner isn't likely.

The Cardinals also have gaping holes at wide receiver, which they could potentially fill outside the top five or in later rounds. The Cardinals don't have a tall threat who can work the sidelines, and outside of Larry Fitzgerald, who could retire after this season, and Christian Kirk, who's on injured reserve with a broken left foot, Arizona's options at wide receiver are limited.

All of which makes the race for the top pick all the more intriguing as the season enters its final three weeks. Having the top pick may be a blessing or a curse. The Cardinals may get more bang for their buck other places in the top five.

This much is known: The race for the No. 1 pick is back on and the Cardinals are in the thick of it.