Packers Draft Position Still Uncertain

There are no downsides to getting into playoffs other than, perhaps, getting splashed by Gatorade or having to go a little longer to learn your place in the draft order...

The impact of the playoffs reaches far into 2004, so although the NFL has released the tentative draft order, the crystal ball isn't clear on where the Packers will pick.

As it stands right now, the Packers would have the 24th overall pick of the draft.

If parity was the league's goal, they may have achieved it. The Packers tied with four other teams at 10-6: Miami, Baltimore, Dallas, Seattle and Denver. The Packers' final strength of schedule was higher than the rest of the field except Denver, so that moved the Packers toward the later picks.

If the seeds hold in the first round of the playoffs this weekend, the Packers can pick no earlier than 24th. That shouldn't bother Packer observers, who are already seeing the payoff of last year's 29th overall pick, linebacker Nick Barnett out of Oregon State. The under-touted Barnett made an immediate contribution and is among the top rookies in the league.

Here's the 2004 first round draft order, with an asterisk denoting slots that depend on playoff results.

1. San Diego
2. Oakland
3. Arizona
4. New York Giants
5. Washington
6. Detroit
7. Atlanta (coin flip will determine pick 7 or 8)
8. Cleveland (coin flip)
9. Jacksonville
10. Houston
11. Pittsburgh
12. New York Jets
13. Buffalo
14. Chicago
15. Tampa Bay
16. San Francisco
17. Cincinnati
18. New Orleans
19. Minnesota
20. Miami
21. Baltimore*
22. Dallas*
23. Seattle*
25. Denver*
26. Carolina*
27. St. Louis*
28. Tennessee*
29. Philadelphia*
30. Indianapolis*
31. Kansas City*
32. New England*

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