Only 12 teams make the NFL playoffs each year, meaning 20 others already are cleaning out their lockers and preparing for 2014. With the NFL regular season coming to a close Sunday, those 20 teams — or at least most of them — now know where they will pick come May’s NFL draft.
The Houston Texans clinched the No. 1 overall pick Sunday when they lost their 14th consecutive game to finish 2-14. The Washington Redskins ended with the league’s second-worst record at 3-13, but their No. 2 pick actually belongs to the St. Louis Rams. The Redskins traded the pick when they moved up to get Robert Griffin III in 2012.
The other spots in the top 20 already are set, except for the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys. The Ravens and Cowboys finished in a pack of six teams with 8-8 records, but Dallas and Baltimore tied for the 16th pick since they both had the same strength of schedule — the tiebreaker for non-playoff teams — this season. They will need a tie-breaking coin flip at February’s NFL Scouting Combine to decide which team will pick 16th and which team will fall to 17th.
The draft order will be completed as teams are eliminated from the playoffs. Teams that lose in the wild-card round will select between 21st and 24th, with final standings serving as a tiebreaker. The losers in the divisional round will pick between 25th and 28th, and the losers of the conference championship games will select 29th and 30th, with the final standings again deciding any tiebreakers. The Super Bowl loser will pick 31st, and the winner will get the last pick in the first round (32nd).
Check out the tentative 2014 NFL draft order below (* determined by coin flip; italics denotes spots determined by playoff results).