2021 NFL Draft order: QB a priority for 12 teams entering offseason

With the 2020 NFL season officially in the books, the order for the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is set. Now the work of figuring out who will fill those slots takes center stage in an unusual offseason that includes a different format for the NFL Scouting Combine. Trades will alter the board, but in the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LV, here's the current order for Round 1 of the 2021 draft, which kicks off on April 29 in Cleveland.

The order for picks 1-18 is determined by record, using strength of schedule as a tiebreaker. The order for playoff teams (19-32) is determined by the results of postseason play, with SOS as the tiebreaker.

Pick
1
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
1-15 · .549 strength of schedule

Biggest needs: QB, OT, CB


There's no real suspense about what the Jaguars will do at No. 1, but Urban Meyer does have three other picks in the top 45, including No. 25 (via the Rams). He might be in the market for a new left tackle (Cam Robinson is a pending free agent).

Pick
2
New York Jets
New York Jets
2-14 · .594

Biggest needs: QB, edge rusher, CB


Will the Jets spend a top-five pick on a quarterback for the third time in 13 years? There are areas of need at almost every spot on Gang Green's roster.

Pick
3
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE HOUSTON TEXANS


Texans' record: 4-12 (.541)


See Pick No. 18 for analysis of the Dolphins' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Texans' needs.

Pick
4
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
4-12 · .551

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DB, QB


Owner Arthur Blank is confident Matt Ryan will be with the Falcons in 2021. That shouldn't stop Atlanta from picking the QB1's eventual successor this year, even though there are more glaring needs on defense.

Pick
5
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
4-11-1 · .529

Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, CB


Protect Joe Burrow and make opposing quarterbacks a lot more uncomfortable. That's the mission for 2021 in Cincinnati. 

Pick
6
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
4-11-1 · .537

Biggest needs: WR, CB, LB


It's rare to see a team draft a wide receiver in the first round in consecutive years, but such a move could be pretty tempting for Howie Roseman no matter who's under center for Philly

Pick
7
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
5-11 · .508

Biggest needs: WR, edge rusher, LB


There will be a hole or three at wide receiver with contracts expiring for Danny Amendola, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. The Lions' new brass must also repair a defense that sank to the bottom of the league on Matt Patricia's watch.

Pick
8
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
5-11 · .531

Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB


It's no secret Carolina is looking for an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater. There's still much work to be done elsewhere on the roster, from the offensive line to cornerback to linebacker to tight end.

Pick
9
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
5-11 · .566

Biggest needs: QB, CB, OL


The Broncos were in on the Matthew Stafford trade talks, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. So, it appears Denver is open to replacing Drew Lock as the QB1 if the right opportunity comes along. New GM George Paton could be shopping for a new right tackle and help in the secondary, too.


Pick
10
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
6-10 · .471

Biggest needs: CB, S, OL


Dallas has to plug holes in a defense that was the franchise's worst since 1960 in points allowed per game and shore up the injury-plagued offensive line. 

Pick
11
New York Giants
New York Giants
6-10 · .502

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, WR, OL


Big Blue still has a gaping void off the edge, and Daniel Jones deserves a shot to play with a true WR1.

Pick
12
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
6-10 · .549

Biggest needs: CB, OL, QB


It seems like a near lock that the 49ers will be eyeing cornerbacks early in the draft, with the vast majority of the team's CBs scheduled to become free agents next month.

Pick
13
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
7-9 · .482

Biggest needs: OL, TE, CB


It will likely be worth investing at least one or two early picks in the offensive line, and tight end could end up as a priority if Hunter Henry isn't re-signed.

Pick
14
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
7-9 · .504

Biggest needs: OL, DT, edge rusher


GM Rick Spielman's mission should be pretty clear this offseason: Fix the O- and D-lines. The Vikings ranked third to last in pressure rate allowed (34.4%) and second to last in defensive pressure rate (19.9%), per Next Gen Stats.

Pick
15
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
7-9 · .527

Biggest needs: QB, WR, DL


Bill Belichick is charged with breathing life into the passing game, and he might also have to fill voids in the trenches. Four of the Patriots' top five defensive linemen are due to hit the market.

Pick
16
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
8-8 · .475

Biggest needs: WR, edge rusher, CB


Arizona made a big splash to land DeAndre Hopkins a year ago. Now it's time to find Kyler Murray a complementary deep threat with the ability to take the offense to the next level.

Pick
17
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
8-8 · .539

Biggest needs: DT, edge rusher, S


Vegas' defensive woes predate GM Mike Mayock's arrival -- the Raiders have ranked in the top half of the league in yards allowed only once in the past decade -- but those problems aren't going away without upgrades at all three levels. 

Pick
18
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
10-6 · .467

Biggest needs: WR, OL, LB


Adding more talent around Tua Tagovailoa has to be the top priority, especially at the receiver position. The Dolphins ranked near the bottom of the league in explosive plays in 2020.

Pick
19
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
7-9 · .459

Biggest needs: QB, WR, OL


Washington's hunt for a long-term answer at quarterback continues. Whoever ends up with that job could use a complement for Terry McLaurin and a better situation at left tackle.

Pick
20
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
8-8 · .488

Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR


If the Bears do end up acquiring Carson Wentz (or even if they ultimately turn to a different veteran QB), the question then becomes how do they improve the offensive line -- after giving up some valuable draft capital to get that QB, presumably -- and are they able to re-sign Allen Robinson?

Pick
21
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
11-5 · .443

Biggest needs: QB, OT, WR


There are some significant voids to fill for a team that was built to win now. The Colts lost their quarterback and left tackle to retirement, with free agency set to potentially poke holes at edge rusher, wide receiver and cornerback.

Pick
22
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
11-5 · .475

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, WR, interior DL


GM Jon Robinson is faced with fixing one of the league's worst pass rushes and might have to replace WR Corey Davis, who's headed for free agency after a career year.

Pick
23
New York Jets
New York Jets

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS


Seahawks' record: 12-4 (.447)


See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Jets' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Seahawks' needs.

Pick
24
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
12-4 · .475

Biggest needs: OT, QB, RB


It's time to create a succession plan behind Ben Roethlisberger and give him the pieces he needs to make one more run, which will be no small task given the list of pending free agents for the Steelers.

Pick
25
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS


Rams' record: 10-6 (.494)


See Pick No. 1 for analysis of the Jaguars' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams' needs.

Pick
26
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
11-5 · .451

Biggest needs: LB, edge rusher, CB


There are needs at every level of a defense that allowed 30 points or more in nearly half of its games last season (including playoffs).

Pick
27
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
11-5 · .494

Biggest needs: WR, edge rusher, OL


GM Eric DeCosta is right that helping the passing game isn't all about getting a No. 1 wide receiver … but that's certainly a big missing piece for Lamar Jackson and Co. 

Pick
28
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
12-4 · .459

Biggest needs: DL, DB, QB


Sean Payton sounds like he's very interested in moving forward with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston -- assuming Winston does decide to re-up with the Saints -- at quarterback in 2021. So, the position moves down (but not off) the list of offseason priorities for a team that appears set for a new era under center.

Pick
29
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
13-3 · .428

Biggest needs: CB, OL, DL


Green Bay is likely to be in the cornerback market with Kevin King's deal expiring. The depth up front on offense takes a hit if Corey Linsley walks in free agency.

Pick
30
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
13-3 · .512

Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, CB


The Bills have four offensive linemen ticketed for unrestricted free agency, and "blockbusters" aren't on the way to address needs. The draft takes on even more importance in Buffalo this offseason.

Pick
31
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
14-2 · .465

Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, WR


The interior O-line is the more immediate need right now, but keep in mind that OTs Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, whom the Chiefs badly missed in the Super Bowl, are a year away from free agency.

Pick
32
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11-5 · .488

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DL, LB


GM Jason Licht will have a hard time keeping the defensive core together for another title run with Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David and Ndamukong Suh among the Bucs' pending free agents.

TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK

Houston Texans
Houston Texans
4-12

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS


Biggest needs: WR, CB, edge rusher


As you can see, QB remains off the needs for now because the Texans say they have no interest in trading Deshaun Watson. One of his favorite targets, however, is due to reach the market (Will Fuller) and Houston does not have a pick in the first two rounds.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
10-6

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS


Biggest needs: Edge rusher, LB, OL


With no first-round pick and limited salary cap flexibility, the Rams will be turning to Day 2 and 3 picks to help replace starters who could depart in free agency, including Leonard Floyd.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
12-4

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS


Biggest needs: OL, CB, edge rusher


The Seahawks have only one pick in the first three rounds, but they have to figure out a way to give Russell Wilson better protection, especially against the division-rival Rams. He was sacked 16 times in his three games against L.A. (including the playoffs).

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter.

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