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How the 2019 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 2018 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:

  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 tiebreaker 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 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.

2019 basic draft order

For the 2019 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 are 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. (When these columns are blank, that team has the same position every round.) Color banded rows group the teams that are involved in the same tiebreaker cycle.

# PS W-L Sched Tiebreaker Subsequent Rounds
1. OUT Cardinals 3-13 .527
2. 49ers 4-12 .504 4 3 2 4 3 2
3. Jets 4-12 .506 2 4 3 2 4 3
4. Raiders 4-12 .547 3 2 4 3 2 4
5. Buccaneers 5-11 .523 7 6 5 7 6 5
6. Giants 5-11 .527 5 7 6 5 7 6
7. Jaguars 5-11 .549 6 5 7 6 5 7
8. Lions 6-10 .504 11 10 9 8 11 10
9. Bills 6-10 .523 Head to head (none), conference (tied 4-8), common games (tied 1-4), strength of victory (BUF .416, DEN .464) 8 11 10 9 8 11
10. Broncos 6-10 .523 9 8 11 10 9 8
11. Bengals 6-10 .535 10 9 8 11 10 9
12. Packers 6-9-1 .488
13. Dolphins 7-9 .469 16 15 14 13 16 15
14. Falcons 7-9 .482 13 16 15 14 13 16
15. Redskins 7-9 .486 14 13 16 15 14 13
16. Panthers 7-9 .508 15 14 13 16 15 14
17. Browns 7-8-1 .516
18. Vikings 8-7-1 .504
19. Titans 9-7 .520
20. Steelers 9-6-1 .504
21. WC Seahawks 10-6 .484 22 21 22 21 22 21
22. Ravens 10-6 .496 21 22 21 22 21 22
23. Texans 11-5 .471
24. Bears 12-4 .430
25. DIV Eagles 9-7 .518
26. Colts 10-6 .465 27 26 27 26 27 26
27. Cowboys 10-6 .488 26 27 26 27 26 27
28. Chargers 12-4 .477
29. CC Chiefs 12-4 .480
30. Saints 13-3 .482
31. SBL Rams 13-3 .480
32. SBW Patriots 11-5 .482

Photo: Kristen Sheft/Tennessee Titans

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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7 thoughts on “How the 2019 NFL Draft order is determined

    1. You are right. I just went backwards from 28, and didn’t factor a game which would make another’s seed moot. Thanks!

  1. (PHI no higher than 25) too.
    BTW, I found the the:
    “Untying the standings: the history of the NFL playoff tiebreaker systems” Page, very interesting and informative.

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