The Miami Dolphins, along with 19 other NFL franchises, are not included in the league's annual postseason tournament. While the NFL Playoffs start this weekend, with 12 teams all vying for a shot at the Lombardi Trophy, the other 20 teams are beginning to look toward 2015. It also means. for those 20 teams, the 2015 NFL Draft order has been finalized.
The NFL sets the draft order in five steps. The first is to order the 20 non-playoff teams in reverse order of their final standings, with the team holding the worst record picking first, up to the teams that just missed the playoffs. The second step is to order the losers of the Wildcard round of the playoffs, again based on the reverse order of the standings from the regular season, slotting them into the 21st through 24th positions. The third step does the same for the Divisional round losers in the 25th through 28th positions, followed by the fourth step positioning the 29th and 30th selecting teams from the Conference Championship game losers. Finally, the Super Bowl loser takes spot 31 and the Super Bowl Champions take the 32nd position.
Strength of schedule is the primary tie breaker for teams with identical records. After that, conference and division tie break procedures will be used, if they can, or else a coin toss will determine who picks in which position. Teams with identical records then rotate picks in each round (e.g., Teams A, B, and C have the 9th, 10th, and 11th picks in the first round, and all have identical records. Team A will pick 9th, B 10th, and C 11th in round one, then B will pick 9th, C 10th, and A 11th in the second round.)
The Miami Dolphins ended the season 8-8, tied with the San Francisco 49ers. Based on a .512 strength of schedule, compared to San Francisco's .527, the Dolphins will select 14th in the first round, and the 49ers will have the 15th selection. The two teams will then alternate those picks throughout the seven rounds of the draft.
The full draft order is:
7. Chicago Bears (5-11, .529)
16. Houston Texans (9-7, .447)
17. San Diego Chargers (9-7, .512)
18. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7, .512)
19. Buffalo Bills (9-7, .516)
**The tie between the Chargers and Chiefs was broken using divisional tie breaks, with the Chiefs having swept the Chargers in head-to-head contests this year.**
20. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, .490)
----Playoff Teams will be determined by their results.----
21. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1, .490)
22. Baltimore Ravens (10-6, .475)
23. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1, .498)
Finally, this order does not reflect trades that have been made. The Cleveland Browns currently hold the rights to the Buffalo Bills' 19th overall selection.