Falcons would have earlier pick under next year's rules

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

If next year's draft rules were in place this year, the Falcons would be picking two spots earlier.

The NFL agreed to re-work the draft order starting in 2010. In the new system, the 20 non-playoff teams still will occupy the top 20 slots. But the remaining spots will be sorted out based on how teams fare in the postseason. The current system factors in the postseason only for the two Super Bowl teams and leaves the rest of the order up to how team's fared in the regular season.

AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky has a chart over on his blog of how this year's draft order for the final 12 spots of the draft would look if next year's rules already were in place.

Tampa Bay (No. 19) and New Orleans (No. 14) would not be impacted by this. Carolina doesn't have its first-round pick because that was traded away last year for Jeff Otah. But Carolina's original pick is slotted at No. 28 this year. If next year's system was in place, that pick would have jumped up to No. 26.