The NFL Draft order is determined by a combination of regular season records, postseason performance, and the strength of schedule in the 2020 season.
The Super Bowl winner is 32, the Super Bowl loser is 31.
Next, the remaining teams are assigned to 4 groups based on their playoff performance: losers of the Conference Championships (29, 30), Divisional Playoffs (25-28), and Wild Card games (19-24); and non-playoff teams (1-18).
Within those groups, teams are ordered 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), there are additional tiebreaker steps, which starts by the easier (lower) strength of schedule picking first.
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.
2021 basic draft order
For the 2021 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). No tie existed this year beyond 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.