The NFL has released the tentative draft order for the 2015 NFL Draft, and it revealed that the Chiefs will pick 18th.
The Chiefs finished 9-7 in Andy Reid’s second year, along with three other teams — Houston, San Diego and Buffalo. Houston is picking 16th because it has a lower strength of schedule (.447), which is the aggregate won-lost-tied percentage of each involved club’s regular season opponents.
The Chiefs and Chargers share the same strength of schedule (.512), but the Chargers are picking 17th because the Chiefs beat the Chargers twice this season and finished second in the AFC West ahead of the Chargers, who finished third. Buffalo picks 19th because it has the highest strength of schedule of the three (.516).
Interestingly enough, the last two times the Chiefs had the 18th pick in the first round (1993 and 1997), they traded them away. In 1993, they dealt the pick to the San Francisco 49ers for star quarterback Joe Montana. In 1997, they traded it to the Houston Oilers to move up to the 13th pick and take a future star in tight end Tony Gonzalez.
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The 49ers flipped the No. 18 pick to Arizona, which drafted Notre Dame offensive lineman Ernest Dye, who started 23 games in five seasons and never made a Pro Bowl. The Oilers used the 18th pick in 1997 to select Miami defensive end Kenard Lang, who started 117 games in 10 seasons.
Notable 18th overall picks over the last 15 years include Saints defensive end Will Smith (2004), Bengals cornerback Leon Hall (2007), Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (2008), Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (2010) and 49ers safety Eric Reid (2013). All except Flacco have either made at least one Pro Bowl or All-Pro team.
But while the Chiefs’ pick in the first round is locked — along with all of the first 20 picks — the last 12 picks of the first round are subject to the results of the playoffs.
Some things to keep in mind as it plays out:
▪ The Super Bowl champion will select last and the loser of the Super Bowl next to last in all rounds, regardless of the record of such participating clubs in the regular season.
▪ The losers of the conference championship games will select 29th and 30th in all rounds, according to the reverse order of their standing.
▪ The losers of the divisional playoff games will select in the 25th through 28th positions in all rounds, according to the reverse order of their standing.
▪ The losers of the Wild Card games will select in the 21st through 24th positions in all rounds, according to the reverse order of their standing.
The NFL Draft will kick off in primetime for the sixth consecutive year. The first round will be held on Thursday, April 30. The second and third rounds are set for Friday, May 1. Rounds four through seven will be held on Saturday, May 2.
Here is the first-round order:
1. Tampa Bay
6. New York Jets
9. New York Giants
10. St. Louis Rams
13. New Orleans
15. San Francisco
17. San Diego
18. Kansas City
29. Green Bay*
30. New England*
*Tentative order subject to the results of the playoffs