The NFL Draft order is determined by a combination of regular season records, postseason performance, and the strength of schedule in the 2017 season.
The Super Bowl winner is 32, the Super Bowl loser is 31.
Next, assign the remaining teams in 4 groups based on their playoff performance: losers of the Conference Championships (29, 30), Divisional Playoffs (25-28), and Wild Card games (21-24); and non-playoff teams (1-20).
Within those groups, order teams based on win-loss record in the regular season, with the better record getting the later pick. Teams in different groups with the same W-L record are not tied. For example, the team with the highest record of Wild Card losers will be 24, even if it has a better record than a Divisional Playoff loser.
If there is a tie within a group (examples: 2 Wild Card losers with a 10-6 record, or 4 non-playoff teams with a 7-9 record), these tiebreaker steps are applied:
- First rank teams by strength of schedule, highest percentage getting the later pick
- If all remaining tied teams are in the same division, run the division tiebreaker to assign teams starting with the later pick
- If all remaining tied teams are in the same conference, run the conference tiebreaker to assign teams starting with the later pick
- Interconference ties that remain are broken by coin flip at the NFL Combine
(Note that this will not necessarily match the division and conference seeds from the previous season, as the tiebreakers will only include teams tied after the strength of schedule step.)
Teams that are involved in a tiebreaker will cycle through the order each round, based on the tiebreaker order. Thus, in a 4-team tiebreaker, a team will rotate 1-4-3-2, the second team 2-1-4-3, the third 3-2-1-4, and the fourth 4-3-2-1.
2018 basic draft order
For the 2018 NFL Draft, the basic order of selections shown below (not including trades, compensatory selections, and forfeited picks). PS is how far a team advanced in the postseason. Sched is the win percentage of a team’s opponents (strength of schedule). Tiebreaker lists how ties broken after the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker. Subsequent rounds shows the order cycle in Rounds 2-7, where the first round follows the basic order. Color banded rows group the teams that are involved in the same tiebreaker cycle.
(GB 2-3, WAS 1-4)
(DET 8-4, DAL 7-5)