The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to pick 32nd and last in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft this spring, and that's a very good thing. Each year, the Super Bowl champions from the following season are put at the very end of the draft order.
The Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday, thus getting the 32nd pick for the second time in franchise history. Tampa Bay was also slotted last in 2003 following their victory in Super Bowl XXXVII the previous season. As the Super Bowl runner-up, Kansas City will pick 32st.
Each year the draft order is determined by the previous season's standings, with the team with the league's worst win-loss record going first. Later picks obviously indicate a more successful season, and the last 14 spots all went to playoff games. The Jacksonville Jaguars own the first pick in the draft, followed by the New York Jets in the second spot. The Houston Texans are slated third but their 2021 first-round pick was previously traded to the Miami Dolphins.
The first 18 spots have been set since the end of the 2020 regular season, but the remaining 14 were impacted by playoff results. Here is the full first-round order of the 2020 NFL Draft:
Pick, Team, 2020 Record (SOS)
- Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-15 (.549)
- New York Jets, 2-14 (.594)
- Houston Texans*, 4-12 (.541)
- Atlanta Falcons, 4-12 (.551)
- Cincinnati Bengals, 4-11-1 (.529)
- Philadelphia Eagles, 4-11-1 (.537)
- Detroit Lions, 5-11 (.508)
- Carolina Panthers, 5-11 (.531)
- Denver Broncos, 5-11 (.566)
- Dallas Cowboys, 6-10 (.502)
- New York Giants, 6-10 (.502)
- San Francisco 49ers, 6-10 (.549)
- Los Angeles Chargers, 7-9 (.482)
- Minnesota Vikings, 7-9 (.504)
- New England Patriots, 7-9 (.527)
- Arizona Cardinals, 8-8 (.475)
- Las Vegas Raiders, 8-8 (.539)
- Miami Dolphins, 10-6 (.467)
- Washington Football Team, 7-9 (.459)
- Chicago Bears, 8-8 (.488)
- Indianapolis Colts, 11-5 (.443)
- Tennessee Titans, 11-5 (.475)
- Seattle Seahawks*, 12-4 (.447)
- Pittsburgh Steelers, 12-4 (.475)
- Los Angeles Rams*, 10-6 (.494)
- Cleveland Browns, 11-5 (.451)
- Baltimore Ravens, 11-5 (.494)
- New Orleans Saints, 12-4 (.459)
- Green Bay Packers, 13-3 (.428)
- Buffalo Bills, 13-3 (.512)
- Kansas City Chiefs, 14-2 (.465)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 11-5 (.488)
(* Pick has been traded.)
Teams that finished with identical records among the top 18 picks are grouped in segments and then ranked within that group based on their strength of schedule (opponents' combined winning percentage) from the previous season. The team with the lowest SOS picks first in the segment. From round to round, the teams within a segment rotate spots, with the team picking first moving to the back of the line and every other team moving up one.
The teams that lost in the Wild Card round pick between 19 and 24, ranked within that group first by regular-season record and then by SOS. The teams that lost in the Divisional Round pick between 25 and 28, with the same rules. The teams that lost in the conference championships game pick 29th and 30th. The Super Bowl runner-up picks 31st and the champions pick last.
The Buccaneers do own their pick in the first round in 2021. In 2003, the Bucs were slated to pick last in each round but had traded their first and second-round picks to Oakland for the rights to hire Jon Gruden as their head coach during the previous offseason. The latest Tampa Bay has ever made an actual selection in a first round was the pick of running back Doug Martin at number 31 in 2012, but that occurred after a trade up from the second round.
The Buccaneers have made the 32nd-overall pick in the draft one time before, though it was not a first-round selection. During the 1982 draft, the Buccaneers traded their first-round pick in 1983 to Chicago in order to get the Bears' second-round selection so they could take Bethune-Cookman defensive end Booker Reese.