First and 19
Dec 30, 2008 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the 2008 season with a 9-7 record that was identical to their 9-7 mark in 2007. The result is a near repeat of the Buccaneers' 2008 draft position.
After selecting 20th in the first round this past year, Tampa Bay is slotted 19th for the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft. The league announced its draft order on Monday, which is based on the previous year's win-loss records, though 12 teams could still see their positions change based upon their advancement in the playoffs.
The Bucs' loss to Oakland on Sunday knocked them out of the playoff race. It also moved them three pegs up the first-round draft order for next spring, though that is hardly of any consolation. Had Tampa Bay finished 10-6, they would have been tied with Minnesota and would have picked 22nd in the first round, right after the 9-6-1 Philadelphia Eagles.
Instead, Tampa Bay is in a five-team segment with fellow 9-7 finishers Chicago, Dallas, Arizona and the New York Jets. To break ties within a segment of the draft order, the NFL uses "strength of schedule," which refers to the combined winning percentage of all 16 of its game opponents from the previous year. The underlying idea is that a 9-7 record against a set of opponents with a .550 winning percentage is more difficult to produce than a 9-7 mark against .450 opponents, and thus the former team performed "better" that season.
That tiebreaker puts the Bucs right in the middle of their five-team segment, following the Jets and the Bears but ahead of the Cowboys and Cardinals. As the draft progresses from round to round, the teams in the tied segment rotate positions, with the team at the top going to the bottom for the next round and every other team moving up one. Thus, the Buccaneers will pick 18th in Round Two, 17th in Round Three and 21st in Round Four.
That said, Tampa Bay's segment could change just a bit. Teams that are still in the playoffs can move down the order based on their advancement in the postseason.
Within a tied segment, non-playoff clubs are given priority over playoff clubs. Priority of playoff clubs within a tied segment is based on their advancement in the playoffs, but they do not drop out of their tied segment unless they participate in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl champion select 32nd and the runner-up 31st.
Thus, the Cardinals could end up out of the Bucs segment, but only if they make it all the way to Super Bowl XLIII. If that occurred, Tampa Bay would still pick 19th but would be in a four-team rotation, meaning they would roll back to pick 20 in Round Four and then be back at 19 by Round Five.
Here is the current NFL draft order, with playoff teams marked by asterisks to indicate that their positions could still change.
2009 FIRST ROUND DRAFT ORDER
Team Record Opp. Win % Opp. W-L Record
1. Detroit 0-16-0 .559 143-113-0
2. St. Louis 2-14-0 .533 136-119-1
3. Kansas City 2-14-0 .537 137-118-1
4. Seattle 4-12-0 .498 127-128-1
5. Cleveland 4-12-0 .572 145-108-3
6. Cincinnati 4-11-1 .553 141-114-1
7. Oakland 5-11-0 .520 133-123-0
8. Jacksonville 5-11-0 .537 137-118-1
9. Green Bay 6-10-0 .504 129-127-0
10. San Francisco 7-9-0 .447 114-141-1
11. Buffalo 7-9-0 .453 116-140-0
12. Denver 8-8-0 .457 117-139-0
13. Washington 8-8-0 .479 121-132-3
14. New Orleans 8-8-0 .496 127-129-0
15. Houston 8-8-0 .518 132-123-1
16. San Diego * 8-8-0 .516 132-124-0
17. New York Jets 9-7-0 .471 120-135-1
18. Chicago 9-7-0 .475 121-134-1
19. Tampa Bay 9-7-0 .480 123-133-0
20. Detroit (from Dallas) 9-7-0 .498 126-127-3
21. Arizona * 9-7-0 .486 124-131-1
22. Philadelphia * 9-6-1 .514 131-124-1
23. Minnesota * 10-6-0 .504 129-127-0
24. New England 11-5-0 .480 123-133-0
25. Atlanta * 11-5-0 .459 117-138-1
26. Miami * 11-5-0 .461 118-138-0
27. Baltimore * 11-5-0 .521 132-121-3
28. Philadelphia (from Carolina) * 12-4-0 .488 125-131-0
29. Indianapolis * 12-4-0 .498 127-128-1
30. New York Giants * 12-4-0 .502 127-126-3
31. Pittsburgh * 12-4-0 .525 133-120-3
32. Tennessee * 13-3-0 .459 117-138-1
* Subject to playoffs
The Buccaneers used the 20th pick in last year's draft to snare Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, who tied for the team lead in 2008 with four interceptions. The Carolina Panthers took Pittsburgh tackle Jeff Otah with the 19th pick. Tampa Bay has never picked 19th in the first round.
The Buccaneers' three NFC South foes will pick 14th (New Orleans), 25th (Atlanta) and 28th (Carolina), though the Falcons and Panthers could still move down the list depending upon their playoff fates. Carolina won't actually execute that pick, as it currently belongs to Philadelphia.
The Eagles are one of two teams scheduled to pick twice in the first round. The Detroit Lions also own two selections, having picked up the Cowboys' first-rounder in the Roy Williams trade.
Detroit, of course, will make the first pick in the draft after finishing the season 0-16.