The 2021 NFL draft order is set to be a contentious one if the 2020 NFL season is canceled. There are several ways this could all play out, and we’re taking a look at the possibilities if the worst happens and the 2020 NFL season is canceled.
Average Out The Last Three Seasons
Perhaps the fairest way to decide the 2021 draft picking order with no football in 2020 is average out recent results. The NFL could take the results of the last three seasons and average them out to determine a picking order. Then, we would just reverse the running order of the teams’ winning percentages, which would see a relatively unbiased picking order.
This picking method would see the Giants earn the number one draft pick of 2021, with the Browns, Bengals, and Jets following close by. While this isn’t perfect by any means, it would represent perhaps the fairest way to determine where the next batch of college stars find themselves in the future.
Keep The 2020 Picking Order
One of the simplest solutions could be to keep the draft picking order the same. Of course, that would mean the Cincinnati Bengals ‘lucking out’ and getting two number one draft picks in a row. As if bringing in Jow Burrow wasn’t good enough, the Bengals could pick the expected number one draft for 2021, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. Then they could trade either Lawrence or Burrow for some serious cash.
NFL teams that get high draft picks tend to improve pretty quickly, but getting to pick high in the first round twice could turn them into title contenders. This would be seen as an unfair advantage by those teams further down the draft order, and it’s hard to imagine them agreeing to this ‘solution.’
Follow In The NHL’s Footsteps
Another route the NFL could go down is to follow what the NHL did in 2005, following the canceled 2004 season. That season was written off due to a labor dispute, and it put the 2005 NHL draft in doubt. The NHL’s solution to that problem was to create a weighted lottery system.
That draft lottery gave six teams that had missed the playoffs or hadn’t had a top pick in each of the three previous seasons three lottery balls. Teams that had managed to make an appearance in the NHL playoffs, or had the first overall pick in the last three seasons were given two balls in the lottery.
Finally, the remaining 16 teams were all given one ball, and the lottery began. This would mean there is a chance that Kansas could get the number one draft pick for 2021, or worse for most fans, the Patriots. Playoff teams could be strengthened further, but it does represent a relatively fair method for choosing the 2021 picking order.
Of course, we’re all hoping the 2020 NFL season goes ahead as scheduled. If it doesn’t, these three options could be the most likely solutions to sorting the 2021 draft picking order, although they are unlikely to please everyone.