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How the 2018 NFL Draft order is determined

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 areΒ 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:

  1. First rank teams by strength of schedule, highest percentage getting the later pick
  2. If all remaining tied teams are in the same division, run the division tiebreaker to assign teams starting with the later pick
  3. If all remaining tied teams are in the same conference, run the conference tiebreakerΒ to assign teams starting with the later pick
  4. 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 willΒ 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).Β PS is how far a team advanced in the postseason.Β Sched is the win percentage of a team’s opponents (strength of schedule).Β Tiebreaker lists how ties broken after the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker.Β 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.

# PS W-L Sched Tiebreaker Subsequent Rounds
1. OUT Browns 0-16 .520
2. Giants 3-13 .531
3. Colts 4-12 .480 4 3 4 3 4 3
4. Texans 4-12 .516 3 4 3 4 3 4
5. Broncos 5-11 .492 8 7 6 5 8 7
6. Jets 5-11 .520 5 8 7 6 5 8
7. Buccaneers 5-11 .555 6 5 8 7 6 5
8. Bears 5-11 .559 7 6 5 8 7 6
9. 49ers 6-10 .512 coin flip 11 10 9 11 10 9
10. Raiders 6-10 .512 9 11 10 9 11 10
11. Dolphins 6-10 .543 10 9 11 10 9 11
12. Bengals 7-9 .465 14 13 12 14 13 12
13. Redskins 7-9 .539 Common opps
(GB 2-3, WAS 1-4)
12 14 13 12 14 13
14. Packers 7-9 .539 13 12 14 13 12 14
15. Cardinals 8-8 .488
16. Ravens 9-7 .441 20 19 18 17 16 20
17. Chargers 9-7 .457 16 20 19 18 17 16
18. Seahawks 9-7 .492 17 16 20 19 18 17
19. Cowboys 9-7 .496 Conf games
(DET 8-4, DAL 7-5)
18 17 16 20 19 18
20. Lions 9-7 .496 19 18 17 16 20 19
21. WC Bills 9-7 .563
22. Chiefs 10-6 .477
23. Rams 11-5 .504 24 23 24 23 24 23
24. Panthers 11-5 .539 23 24 23 24 23 24
25. DIV Titans 9-7 .434
26. Falcons 10-6 .543
27. Saints 11-5 .535
28. Steelers 13-3 .453
29. CC Jaguars 10-6 .434
30. Vikings 13-3 .492
31. SBL Patriots 13-3 .484
32. SBW Eagles 13-3 .461

 

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor-in-chief and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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