With the entire 2011 NFL Draft order out, Atlanta Falcons fans may be wondering where exactly their team will pick. If the draft’s order went by record they’d pick No. 31, but the playoffs throw everything off, sort of like the NBA lottery except it’s the good teams instead of the bad teams and it’s by merit instead of by frozen ping pong balls, so pretty much exactly like the NBA lottery.
The Super Bowl winner will pick No. 32, and the Super Bowl loser will pick No. 31. According to the latest Super Bowl odds, the Falcons are expected to wind up with the No. 31 pick anyway. But let’s move along.
Mocking The Draft shares the NFL’s process for determining draft order for non-Super Bowl playoff teams. The Falcons-specific takeaway:
Conference championship game losers pick No. 30 and No. 29, according to their standing (meaning the order listed here). If the Falcons lost the NFC Championship and any AFC team besides the New England Patriots (the only team with a better record) lost the AFC Championship, the Falcons would pick No. 30. If the Falcons and Pats lose conference title games, Falcons pick No. 29.
Same story for divisional round. If the Falcons lose in the divisional round they’ll pick No. 28, unless if the Pats also lose, which would give Atlanta the No. 27 pick.
And so on. The Falcons won’t appear in the wild card round, so No. 27 is as early as they can pick without making a trade.