The 2018 NFL season is finalizing its playoff field, and for a handful of hopeful contenders that means a December filled with important wins and crushing losses as January’s seedings unfold. There’s another race taking place on the opposite end of the spectrum as well: the spiral to the bottom of the standings and the top of the 2019 NFL Draft board.
Several rebuilding teams have a legitimate chance to secure the No. 1 spot in next year’s draft where franchise-changing talents like Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, and Nick Bosa await. The Cardinals, 49ers, and Jets all have a chance to turn this fall’s misery into the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
It’s Arizona’s pick to lose, though. If the Cardinals can’t beat the Seahawks in the season finale, they will secure the worst record in the NFL. Even with a win, the Cardinals still can’t fall any further than third in the order.
But the teams at the top aren’t alone in the jockeying for position in the draft order. The Jacksonville Jaguars could turn this season’s fall from AFC title contender to doormat into a potential replacement for Blake Bortles at quarterback. The Giants could do the same for an aging Eli Manning. The Bills, Buccaneers, and Raiders can add to their stores of young talent in their quests to be something other than the “Bills,” “Buccaneers,” and “Raiders.”
Draft order is determined by final record, with any ties being broken by their strength of schedule. Slots 21-32 are determined primarily by postseason success (Wild Card losers get the earliest spots, then Divisional Round losers, and so forth), and any ties are then broken by regular season record and strength of schedule. If two teams have the same record and same SoS, the pick in question will be resolved with a coin flip.
The only exception is if a pair of teams in the same division have the same record — then, their division records and conference records are used to break the tie before a coin flip. That looks like a section of the rulebook that probably won’t matter this season.
Here’s how the draft order looks after the 1 p.m. ET games of Week 17:
2019 NFL Draft order
|—||Raiders (via Cowboys)||10||6||0||0.625||0.4859|
|—||Raiders (via Bears)||11||4||0||0.733||0.4320|
|—||Packers (via Saints)||13||3||0||0.813||0.4819|