This is a look at the order for the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft (April 29-May 1), along with the top five needs for all 32 teams. The order for picks 1-18 was determined by record, using strength of schedule as a tiebreaker. The order for playoff teams (19-32 in the order) was determined by the results of postseason play.
Biggest needs: QB, TE, DL, S, OL
After scratching the first need off the list with the draft's top pick, the Jaguars can turn their attention to finding a pass-catching weapon at tight end and supplementing a defense that had some major holes plugged via free agency.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, OL, EDGE, TE
Yes, there are more than five pressing areas of concern for the Jets. (No, we didn't forget about running back.) GM Joe Douglas' top task is making a decision at quarterback. From there, he's charged with building up a mostly unproven group of cornerbacks and giving his passer a much-improved supporting cast.
FROM HOUSTON TEXANS VIA MIAMI DOLPHINS
Texans' record: 4-12 (.541)
49ers' biggest needs: QB, CB, DL, OL, TE
The Niners spared no expense to move up the draft board, situating themselves in a spot where they'll be able to land Jimmy Garoppolo's eventual successor. Next up on the to-do list: replenishing the depth at corner and on the defensive line. A little more insurance behind George Kittle wouldn't hurt either.
Biggest needs: EDGE, CB, OL, S, QB
The Falcons' biggest holes are on defense, where they're shopping for edge-rushing help yet again. A chance to pluck Matt Ryan's eventual successor with their top pick will be tempting, though.
Biggest needs: OL, EDGE, WR, TE, DT
Cincinnati's primary mission should be to give Joe Burrow a much better supporting cast than he had a year ago, from the front five to the skill positions. Beyond that, the work of turning around a pass rush that produced a league-low 17 sacks in 2020 shouldn't end with the additions of Trey Hendrickson and Larry Ogunjobi.
FROM PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Eagles' record: 4-11-1 (.537)
Dolphins' biggest needs: WR, EDGE, OL, RB, LB
The offense was decidedly not explosive when Tua Tagovailoa was at the helm in 2020. But with a little more seasoning and better weaponry on the perimeter, the second-year signal-caller could have South Beach rocking. Brian Flores' defense requires attention, too, with the Dolphins seeking to replace the pass-rush production that left town with Shaq Lawson and Kyle Van Noy.
Biggest needs: WR, LB, S, CB, OL
Doing right by new QB1 Jared Goff means finding him a WR1 early in the draft. The Lions' new decision-makers also have the tall task of repairing a defense that broke under the previous regime.
Biggest needs: OL, CB, WR, S, TE
After spending all of their picks on defensive players a year ago, a more diversified approach is in order for Carolina.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, LB, DL, RB
Denver should be in the market for quarterback who can, at minimum, push Drew Lock for the starting job. A right tackle, playmaking inside linebacker and depth for the D-line and running back position should also be on the radar for George Paton in his first draft as general manager.
Biggest needs: CB, OL, S, DL, LB
Jerry Jones and Co. have work to do at every level of a defense coming off a disastrous season. The business of keeping Dak Prescott upright and healthy is of the utmost importance, though.
Biggest needs: EDGE, OL, WR, RB, DT
A stud edge rusher could be a huge difference-maker for Joe Judge's defense. On the other side of the ball, could we be on the verge of witnessing a Daniel Jones breakthrough if GM Dave Gettleman finds the third-year QB another playmaker and improved protection?
FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS VIA MIAMI DOLPHINS
49ers' record: 6-10 (.549)
Eagles' biggest needs: WR, CB, OL, LB, DL
Philly just picked a wide receiver in the first round last year (Jalen Reagor), but it's in the market for another young talent at the position after parting ways with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. There are pressing needs in the secondary for GM Howie Roseman, too.
Biggest needs: OL, CB, TE, S, DL
The Chargers have their new franchise QB, and he's spectacular. They should make protecting him the priority come draft time, but GM Tom Telesco also has to find reinforcements for a thinning secondary and at tight end, where Jared Cook is a short-term fix.
Biggest needs: OL, EDGE, S, LB, QB
It's painfully obvious that the Vikings have to prioritize left tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft, and Mike Zimmer's defense could use a boost at every level after a nightmarish 2020 campaign.
Biggest needs: OL, S, LB, DT, CB
Trading away Trent Brown opened a large hole at right tackle for the Raiders, who have to make some significant upgrades on defense if they're ever going to get over the hump and back into the playoffs.
See Pick No. 6 for analysis of the Dolphins' needs.
Biggest needs: OL, LB, TE, DB, QB
Taking a flier on a late-round QB could make sense for the Football Team, but Washington seems fairly satisfied with its Ryan Fitzpatrick-led group of passers heading into the 2021 season. There's still a gaping void at left tackle that hasn't been adequately addressed since Trent Williams exited, though.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR, DB, EDGE
Chicago's QB situation is crying out for a young talent who can develop behind Andy Dalton, but the team’s decision makers -- who are in win-now mode to save their jobs -- might prioritize other positions in this year's draft.
Biggest needs: OL, EDGE, TE, CB, DL
GM Chris Ballard has added depth to the offensive tackle position since LT Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement after the season, but he should still be in the market for a potential long-term answer on the blind side. On the other side of the trenches, the team's young edge rushers have failed to break out thus far, which is why Ballard could go back to the well again in 2021.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB, TE, S
The Titans' search for a right tackle continues after the Isaiah Wilson debacle, and the same goes for help at receiver, even after the signing of Josh Reynolds. Replacing Jonnu Smith is on the to-do list, as is adding pieces to a secondary that is undergoing significant turnover this offseason.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Seahawks' record: 12-4 (.447)
See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Jets' needs.
Biggest needs: OL, RB, EDGE, CB, LB
With time likely running low on the remainder of Ben Roethlisberger's career, the Steelers' main focus in the draft should be bolstering an offensive line that will be replacing at least two starters (Maurkice Pouncey and Matt Feiler) and injecting life into a running game that ranked dead last a season ago.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams' record: 10-6 (.494)
See Pick No. 1 for analysis of the Jaguars' needs.
Biggest needs: EDGE, CB, LB, DT, OL
Will it be an all-defense spring in Cleveland? The Browns' biggest weaknesses are on that side of the ball, with the need for a pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett standing out most glaringly (barring a sudden deep-post-hype breakthrough by Takkarist McKinley). Offensive line is the strength of the team, but it would make sense to reinforce it with greater depth.
Biggest needs: EDGE, OL, DL, S, WR
The cupboard is looking a bit bare off the edge. Replacing Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue is essential. As for Lamar Jackson's supporting cast, the signings of Sammy Watkins and Kevin Zeitler shouldn't prevent Baltimore from adding more help for the receiving corps and offensive line, especially with Orlando Brown requesting a trade.
Biggest needs: CB, WR, DL, LB, TE
Be it a result of Sean Payton's faith in Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill or the Saints' position in the draft order (perhaps a little bit of both), it seems unlikely that the team will Drew Brees' successor in this year's draft. Instead, New Orleans' early focus could be on filling the void at cornerback and selecting targets to complement Michael Thomas.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, OL, LB, WR
The re-signing of Kevin King on a one-year deal shouldn't keep the Packers from investing in a young cornerback who can challenge for a starting job. Green Bay's shopping list includes a disruptor for the defensive line and offensive line depth, too.
Biggest needs: EDGE, CB, TE, RB, OL
The Bills could only muster one sack and two other QB hits in their AFC Championship Game loss to the Chiefs, who were operating with an injury-plagued offensive line. GM Brandon Beane has to add more juice to the pass defense.
Biggest needs: OL, EDGE, CB, WR, TE
Unless they'd like to relive the nightmares of Super Bowl LV, coach Andy Reid and GM Brett Veach must find some suitable offensive tackles to protect Patrick Mahomes. Moving from the first need on the list to the last, a complementary tight end with the ability to block and make catches would be a luxurious add behind Travis Kelce.
Biggest needs: EDGE, OL, WR, QB, RB
In case the Bucs do ever lose one of their top free agents, they might want to be prepared with some younger, cheaper players for the trenches. Tampa Bay has an enviable collection of receivers, but Chris Godwin is playing on the one-year franchise tender. This would also be a fine time to begin grooming a middle-to-late round QB behind the G.O.A.T.
TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: WR, DL, S, LB, CB
With no picks in the first two rounds, the Texans enter the draft with a lot of work to do and limited capital to draw from. The lack of a No. 1 wide receiver is glaring, but there are also needs almost everywhere you look on a defense that was one of the league's most porous in 2020.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, EDGE, DL, LB
Sean McVay's club should be eyeing the available prospects at tackle and on the interior of the O-line, but there are some significant holes to fill on defense, as well, after the departures of Michael Brockers and Troy Hill, among others.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Biggest needs: CB, OL, DL, LB, WR
Seattle is very limited with so little draft capital this year, but it still has an opportunity to find a cornerback or lineman (on either side of the ball) who can compete for a starting job.