In a unanimous vote, the owners today approved a proposed change to how the draft order is determined. Now, beginning in 2010, all 12 teams who make the playoffs will be seeded based on their finish in the playoffs rather than by just their regular season record, as it is now.
For example, other than the two Super Bowl participants who get picks 31 and 32, the rest of the draft is determined on regular season record. Therefore, the 8-8 San Diego Chargers actually pick 16th overall in 2009 even though they made the playoffs while the 11-5 Patriots, who failed to make the playoffs, have pick 23. This new rule is the solution to that problem.
Beginning in 2010, all 20 teams who fail to make the playoffs will be ordered between picks 1 and 20 based on their regular season record. Then, picks 21through 24 will be ordered based on the regular season records of the 4 losing teams of Wildcard weekend. Picks 25 through 28 will be ordered based on the records of the 4 teams who lose in the divisional round. Picks 29 and 30 will be ordered based on the records of the two losing conference championship teams. And the Super Bowl will continue to determine the final 2 picks.
Great job by the owners, though it probably shouldn't have taken so long for them to make this necessary change.