Mon., Jan. 1: Unofficial 2007 Draft Order
By Joe Platania
Monday, January 1 -- For Ravens fans, the new year means looking forward to "Festivus" and postseason football for the fourth time since 1999.
But for fans in 20 of the 32 NFL cities, it means scouring the standings and trying to figure out where their team will be drafting when the annual selection meeting takes place the weekend of April 28-29.
Below is the unofficial draft order, according to PressBox research and NFL statistics.
Ties are broken by strength of schedule; teams that played a weaker schedule get the higher draft pick.
For instance, there were six teams that finished the regular season at 8-8; they take up the 14th through 19th draft positions. St. Louis had the weakest strength of schedule of that group (.465), while Tennessee (.570) had the strongest.
If the schedule tiebreaker is even, a coin flip will be used to determine draft position. There are two such dilemmas this year, at the third and 11th positions.
Also, playoff teams -- shown here in positions 21 through 32 by record -- will be placed in the draft order in the sequence in which they are eliminated from the postseason. For instance, the Super Bowl winner will pick 32nd and the Super Bowl runner-up will pick 31st.
The unofficial order:
T3. Tampa Bay
T11. San Francisco
T11. Green Bay
14. St. Louis
21. New York Giants
24. Kansas City
25. New Orleans
26. New York Jets
28. New England
32. San Diego
NOT QUITE WORST TO FIRST: We've seen several publications refer to the Ravens' 2006 AFC North Division championship as being a "worst-to-first" season.
That's not exactly the case.
It's true the Ravens finished with a 6-10 record and were tied for third with Cleveland last year. But even Cleveland's season-closing win over the Ravens left it with a worse division record than Baltimore.
All those tiebreakers that get listed in the newspapers to determine playoff position also are in play for every position in the standings.
By virtue of a better division record (2-4 to 1-5), the Ravens actually finished third last year.
MAILBAG: The new year begins with a nice note from a former member of the armed services.
Michael Lee Scritchfield, a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and a big Bills fan, writes in from Tampa:
"I'm a long time Bills fan - was in the Rock-Pile (War Memorial Stadium) as a kid when (Jack) Kemp was throwing to Dubie (Elbert Dubanion).
"I just wanted to thank you for the nice article on our Head Coach ("Dick Jauron: Quiet But Successful) - it was refreshing to see that there are others who see him the same way I do. It was thoughtful and well written.
"I don't know if he will lead us to the Big Dance - but I do know we will get better under his control (along with Marv Levy's help as well).
"Thanks again and good luck to the Ravens in the playoffs."
Thank you, sir, for all that you and your brothers and sisters in arms do for us. Happy New Year.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Buffalo linebacker London Fletcher-Baker was known as one of the most talkative members of the 1999 Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.
He became a Bill through free agency, and his personal perspective between contending and not contending was summed up in his feelings after Sunday's 19-7 loss in Baltimore.
"This time around, it's different for me," he said. "Prior to my free agency, in St. Louis we were playing in the Super Bowl.
(Sunday) is something I don't want to go through again, to tell you the truth."
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