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As NFL season winds down, teams at bottom can look to draft

Buccaneers, Jaguars, Jets, Raiders, Titans vie to be worst in the NFL, get first pick in NFL draft

Who is the worst of the worst?

That's one of the big questions as the NFL's regular season draws to a close, with a five-way tie at 2-11 among the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The "winner" of the race to the bottom gets the No. 1 overall pick in next spring's draft.

The way many draft analysts see it, there's no Andrew Luck in this field of prospects, no sure-fire top selection. But there are several intriguing candidates, some of whom are mentioned below.

As is the case every year, many devoted fans of losing clubs will be pulling for their teams to tank it down the stretch, thus improving their position on draft day.

"If there was a Peyton Manning out there, or whoever out there, a Walter Payton, then I say you throw it," Jets Coach Rex Ryan joked with reporters this week. "No, I'm just kidding. We're not. We're trying to win the game."

With three games left in the season, and four months until the draft, plenty can happen between now and decision day.

A glimpse at the field:

New York Jets

Remaining opponents (combined winning percentage): at Tennessee, New England, at Miami (.487).

Last time they selected No. 1: 1996, USC receiver Keyshawn Johnson.

The skinny: Time to scrap the Geno Smith experiment. The Jets are still looking for an answer at quarterback. They could use a cornerback too, but it's unlikely they will use their top pick on one as they did two years ago when they took Alabama's Dee Milliner. Another big question: Who's going to be making the pick? Ryan is almost certainly gone, but General Manager John Idzik also could be on his way out the door.

Possible pick: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Heisman Trophy favorite has a staggering touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio of 38-2, but is that because he's such a sharp passer or his receivers are that wide open?

Tennessee Titans

Remaining opponents: Jets, at Jacksonville, Indianapolis (.333).

Last time they selected No. 1: None since relocating to Tennessee; took Texas quarterback Vince Young third in 2006.

The skinny: The Titans need to find their answer at quarterback, but they might have one in rookie Zach Mettenberger, so they might just stick with him. A pass rusher is high on their wish list, but so are offensive tackle, receiver and safety. The team has so many needs, trading down for more picks would be the most obvious move.

Possible pick: Alabama receiver Amari Cooper. He doesn't have the stature of 6-foot-5 rookie sensations Kelvin Benjamin or Mike Evans, but the 6-1 Cooper still could be a game-changer at the next level. Draft analyst Mel Kiper compares him to former Indianapolis star Marvin Harrison.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Remaining opponents: at Carolina, Green Bay, New Orleans (.500).

Last time they selected No. 1: 1987, Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde.

The skinny: Taking a quarterback at the top of the draft would be going against type for Coach Lovie Smith, who has never drafted one earlier than the fourth round, doesn't have a history of playing young ones, and still believes in Josh McCown (if Tampa Bay can find a way to protect him.). Still, a quarterback might be too tempting to resist.

Possible pick: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. Character questions could cause Winston to drop in the draft, but he will generate a ton of interest. The Buccaneers will take a hard look at offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi of Texas A&M and Brandon Scherff of Iowa, but they're probably closer to mid-first rounders.

Oakland Raiders

Remaining opponents: at Kansas City, Buffalo, at Denver (.615).

Last time they selected No. 1: 2007, Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

The skinny: At this point, the Raiders probably would try to trade down. They have their quarterback of the present and future in Derek Carr, and they could use a play-making receiver for him. LaMarr Woodley didn't pan out for them at defensive end — he lasted six games before a season-ending biceps injury — so a promising young talent at that spot would be welcomed. No one would be surprised if the Raiders used their top pick on a defensive player for the third consecutive year.

Possible pick: USC defensive end Leonard Williams. Many scouts see Williams as raw but with tremendous potential, and a guy who knows how to get to the quarterback. That's especially key in a division with quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Remaining opponents: at Baltimore, Tennessee, Houston (.436).

Last time they selected No. 1: Never, but the Jaguars had the second pick in 1995 (USC tackle Tony Boselli), 1996 (Illinois linebacker Kevin Hardy), and 2013 (Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel).

The skinny: Like most teams drafting near the top, the Jaguars have a long list of needs. They have a quarterback to build around in Blake Bortles, and they might not grab a receiver early because Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, their second and third picks in April, are starting to play well. When General Manager Dave Caldwell came on board two years ago, he said he figured it would take three years to get quarterback, tackle and defensive end fixed. Bortles and Joeckel are the first two parts, so that leaves defensive end.

Possible pick: Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory. He's lanky at 6-5, 242, but Gregory is an outstanding edge rusher who should be able to get to quarterbacks in the NFL … if he's able to stay healthy, and that was a bit of a problem in college.

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