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sammymvpknight

2021 Draft order if 2020 season cancelled

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What happens to the NFL draft order if a season does not take place in 2020? Fortunately, and unfortunately, this scenario has never taken place in the history of the NFL. So, since there is no precedence you have to look at how other sports have handled the situation.

I researched the history of work stoppages in major sports in the modern era. Since the 1960’s work stoppages have been common throughout sports, but it has very rarely resulted in lost games. There have only been a handful of times in all of US sports that games have been lost, and there were only two times in the history of US sports that the playoffs have been affected. Let look at those two seasons, those two sports’ typical draft order determination, and modifications made by each sport after a season without playoffs.
 

Example 1. MLB work stoppage of 1994

This one is INCREDIBLY simple to understand, because the MLB has by far the most simple typical draft order determination.

Rule 1. Draft order is determined by reversal of the prior year’s regular season win-lose percentage

Rule 2. Tie breaker is determined by reversal of win percentage two seasons prior

By understanding that post-season outcome has NO EFFECT on the MLB draft order, it is easy to understand that the 1995 draft order did not change after the strike season.

 

Example 2. NHL strike work stoppage of 2004

This one is more difficult, because the ENTIRE season was lost, and the NHL’s typical draft order determination isn’t as simplistic as the MLB draft order. It closely follows the NBA’s draft lottery style. For those unfamiliar, the NBA and NHL have a draft lottery for the teams that do not make the playoffs. So, 15 of 31 teams in the NHL and 14 of 30 teams in the NBA get placed into the lottery. I’m not going to belabor how the lottery works, but essentially the worst you are the more balls you get and betters your probability of getting an earlier pick. The playoff teams are a draft order mechanism in place that has small variations away from the way that the NFL handles their draft order.

When the entire 1994 NHL season was cancelled, they had to determine a fair draft order for 1995 when they returned. As you could imagine, there was lots of debate over how to fairly construct the order. As expected, the worst teams in the league wanted to proceed with the prior year’s draft order. Meanwhile, the better teams felt that was unfair, as the lower teams were already rewarded by having the benefit of a better draft position the year before.

How was it handled? A combination of a weighted lottery system and a snake draft for all teams.

Weighting procedure:
- Three balls were assigned to the teams that had not made the playoffs in the prior three seasons, and also did not have the #1 overall pick over that time period (earned by 4 of 30 teams that year; 6.3% chance of a #1 overall pick)
- Two balls were assigned to the teams with either one playoff appearance in the prior three seasons or had a #1 overall pick over that time period (earned by 10 of 30 teams that year; 4.2% chance of a #1 overall pick)
- One ball was assigned to all of the other teams (earned by 14 of 30 teams that year; 2.1% chance of a #1 overall pick)

The draft order then flipped (snaked) from one round to the next.

 

I don’t know how the NFL would decide to conduct their draft if the 2020 season was cancelled, but I have a strong suspicion that there will be some form of lottery system, possibility with it snaking from one round to the next.

 

Only because statistics are fun…here would be the number of balls that each team would earn entering the 2021 NFL draft if they used the same exact system as the 2004 NHL lockout.

Three balls: Lions, Giants, Buccaneers, Redskins, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, Jets

Two balls: 49ers, Packers, Chargers, Colts, Bears, Cowboys, Steelers, Jaguars, Panthers, Falcons, Bengals, Cardinals, Browns

One ball: Titans, Patriots, Texans, Ravens, Chiefs, Saints, Vikings, Seahawks, Eagles, Rams, Bills

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5 hours ago, DirtyDez said:

Geographical order starting in the Southwest.  

Seconded.

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8 hours ago, DirtyDez said:

Geographical order starting in the Southwest.  

Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest.

That way you go clockwise, Packers go early, and Seattle gets screwed.  Win-win-win.

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Good question.  All I know is if 2020 season is indeed wiped out then all unexercised events for 2020 will be moving into 2021 season. Because of that, there may be very good chance that 2021 draft order will be the same as 2020 draft order(original ranking) without compensatory selections. Not sure about docking draft selection due to said penalty for 2021 but I do expect it will be in effect.

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2 hours ago, JetsandI said:

Good question.  All I know is if 2020 season is indeed wiped out then all unexercised events for 2020 will be moving into 2021 season. Because of that, there may be very good chance that 2021 draft order will be the same as 2020 draft order(original ranking) without compensatory selections. Not sure about docking draft selection due to said penalty for 2021 but I do expect it will be in effect.

I doubt that would happen...because when the team owners meet, only the teams at the very top of last year's draft would want that scenario. The others would likely want the opportunity to improve their standing. It's what happened when the NHL had their season long lockout. I'd be surprised if a lottery doesn't take place of some fashion.

I personally think that the teams more closely approximated to the Mississippi River should get the most balls...but that's just me. The Rams may try to leave their empty stadium to go back to St. Louis.

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The idea of contending teams from last year getting the short end of draft capital, while having no actual championship to contend is blatantly unfair.. I'd vote totally random. There should not be a double reward for being bad in the 19 season.

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On 7/17/2020 at 1:03 PM, sammymvpknight said:

I doubt that would happen...because when the team owners meet, only the teams at the very top of last year's draft would want that scenario. The others would likely want the opportunity to improve their standing. It's what happened when the NHL had their season long lockout. I'd be surprised if a lottery doesn't take place of some fashion.

I personally think that the teams more closely approximated to the Mississippi River should get the most balls...but that's just me. The Rams may try to leave their empty stadium to go back to St. Louis.

I read Yahoo's article about that.  It makes sense.  I didn't realize that I had contradiction about draft in my previous post. lol.  2020 draft was complete so there is no reason to repeat the order. duh!

 

Closer to Mississippi River, you say?  Saints would be incredibly happy with 3 potential chances to land Trevor Lawrence.

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4 hours ago, wackywabbit said:

The idea of contending teams from last year getting the short end of draft capital, while having no actual championship to contend is blatantly unfair.. I'd vote totally random. There should not be a double reward for being bad in the 19 season.

Honestly this is the best answer imo. Completely random lottery with each team having an equal chance. You could have a televised lottery show similar to the draft. As each team gets their pick you talk about who they could draft and whatnot.

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Posted (edited)

Win percentage over the past 3 seasons. 

Edited by KingOfNewYork

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23 hours ago, wackywabbit said:

The idea of contending teams from last year getting the short end of draft capital, while having no actual championship to contend is blatantly unfair.. I'd vote totally random. There should not be a double reward for being bad in the 19 season.

This is never gonna happen.

The possibility of teams like Baltimore/SF/KC picking top 3-5 and teams that clearly aren't in the same stratosphere being at the bottom would be crippling.

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3 hours ago, .Buzz said:

This is never gonna happen.

The possibility of teams like Baltimore/SF/KC picking top 3-5 and teams that clearly aren't in the same stratosphere being at the bottom would be crippling.

This.

I think there would probably be some form of weighted-lottery established based on the 2019 record, or perhaps based on the record of the last few years.

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