2021 NFL Draft order: Bengals vault into top five; Giants No. 6

This is a look at the first-round order for the 2021 NFL Draft heading into Week 12 of the NFL season, along with the top three needs for each team. The order is determined by record, using strength of schedule as the first tiebreaker (click here to see a full list of the draft-order tiebreakers). Keep in mind -- teams 19-32 would make the playoffs if the season ended today and are marked as PL (short for playoffs) in the order below. The draft order for playoff teams is determined by the results of postseason play.

Pick
1
New York Jets
New York Jets
0-10 · .570 strength of schedule

Biggest needs: QB, edge rusher, CB

This week's game: vs. Dolphins


Joe Douglas should absolutely be looking for another outside receiver, but CB replaces WR on the needs list this week. There's at least somewhat of a foundation at WR with Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. We can't say the same thing about the corner position right now.

Pick
2
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
1-9 · .525

Biggest needs: QB, CB, OT

This week's game: vs. Browns


The QB-needy Jaguars could become the first team to go 1-15 and NOT finish with the worst record in the league.

Pick
3
4
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
2-7-1 · .545

Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, CB

This week's game: vs. Giants


Zac Taylor can stick up for his O-line all he wants. The fact is Joe Burrow was pressured at the third-highest rate (30.7%) in the NFL among QBs with 250 or more pass attempts, according to Next Gen Stats. He deserves better protection when he returns from injury next year.

Pick
4
1
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
3-7 · .450

Biggest needs: QB, WR, OL

This week's game: at Cowboys


The Washington offensive line had a PFF overall grade of 90.9 against the Bengals, the highest mark of any non-QB positional group on Sunday, but the position is on the needs list because three of the five O-line starters versus Cincinnati are pending free agents.

Pick
5
1
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
3-7 · .466

Biggest needs: OL, TE, CB

This week's game: at Bills


Flip a coin between corner and edge rusher for the final need in the top three. Both are areas that will need to be shored up with Michael Davis and Melvin Ingram in the final year of their respective deals.

Pick
6
2
New York Giants
New York Giants
3-7 · .485

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, OT

This week's game: at Bengals


More than half of the Giants' sack production comes from players due to reach free agency this offseason.

Pick
7
3
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
3-7 · .490

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DB, RB

This week's game: vs. Raiders


We've focused on the Atlanta defense in this space all season, but let's give the RB position a spin, shall we? Each of the Falcons' top two rushers -- Todd Gurley and Brian Hill -- have contracts that expire next year, and Gurley is averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry in the last five games.

Pick
8
3
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
3-7 · .535

Biggest needs: CB, DT, OL

This week's game: vs. Washington Football Team


This looked like a franchise destined to be picking inside the top five (where it could potentially land the best non-QB available) in 2021, but the Cowboys dealt that scenario a big blow with Sunday's surprise win over the formerly surging Vikings. There's only one winning team left on Dallas' schedule and a division title is still within reach. That's life in the NFC East.

Pick
9
3
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE HOUSTON TEXANS


Texans' record: 3-7 (.560)

This week's Texans game: at Lions


See No. 17 for analysis of the Dolphins' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Texans' needs.

Pick
10
1
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
4-7 · .545

Biggest needs: OL, CB, WR

This week's game: at Vikings


Is pending free agent Curtis Samuel part of the long-term plans in Carolina? He's proving his value, scoring five TDs in the last five games, and his departure would leave the Panthers looking awfully light at receiver after D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.

Pick
11
2
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
4-6 · .475

Biggest needs: WR, DL, LB

This week's game: vs. Texans


The Lions' offense can't afford to lose free-agent-to-be Kenny Golladay, and it also can't be so reliant on him. They are 1-4 without him this season (averaging 21.8 points in those games) and 3-2 when he plays (26.6 points per game).

Pick
12
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
4-6 · .515

Biggest needs: CB, OL, edge rusher

This week's game: at Rams


Quarterback will rise to the top of the needs list if the 49ers decide to cut ties with Jimmy Garoppolo, but cornerback firmly holds the No. 1 slot for now. San Francisco currently doesn't have a CB under contract beyond this season (although Emmanuel Moseley will be a restricted free agent).

Pick
13
1
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
4-6 · .520

Biggest needs: Interior OL, DL, WR

This week's game: vs. Cardinals


The Patriots must add juice to a pass rush that pressured Deshaun Watson on just two of 37 dropbacks in Week 11 and has the lowest pressure rate in the league (18.6%), per NGS.

Pick
14
1
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
4-6 · .530

Biggest needs: OL, DT, edge rusher

This week's game: vs. Panthers


While we still like the idea of drafting a young QB to develop behind Kirk Cousins, Cousins is playing too well and the edge rush is too nonexistent for us to prioritize QB over edge rusher on the needs list this week.

Pick
15
4
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
4-6 · .545

Biggest needs: OT, CB, QB

This week's game: vs. Saints


Drew Lock was better against the Dolphins, but he still turned the ball over for the seventh straight start. He remains the second-lowest rated player in ESPN's QBR and the fifth-lowest graded QB by PFF.

Pick
16
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
5-5 · .529

Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR

This week's game: at Packers


We'll no longer leave WR out of the top three needs given the possibility of Allen Robinson's departure in free agency. OG becomes OL this week because tackle and guard could be high priorities when the draft rolls around.

Pick
17
4
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
6-4 · .430

Biggest needs: WR, ILB, interior OL

This week's game: at Jets


The Broncos did a nice job of exposing the Dolphins' weaknesses on Sunday, especially in the front seven on defense and on the offensive line.

Pick
18
7
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
6-4 · .560

Biggest needs: WR, OL, edge rusher

This week's game: at Steelers


What has happened to Marquise Brown? Hollywood was silent in Week 11, making zero catches (his first career game without a reception) on three targets. He has just six grabs (on 17 targets) for 55 yards in the last four games combined. 

Pick
PL
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
3-6-1 · .485

Biggest needs: OG, LB, CB

This week's game: vs. Seahawks


A lot of things are going wrong for the Eagles, including the regression of their QB1, but the offensive line's issues rank among the most troubling. While injuries have no doubt played a role in the unit's struggles, Philly's front couldn’t even hold up against a Browns defensive line that was missing its star player

Pick
PL
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
6-4 · .446

Biggest needs: CB, edge rusher, interior OL

This week's game: at Patriots


The Cardinals are likely to be in the cornerback market next spring with two of their top three CBs ticketed for free agency, including Patrick Peterson. The eight-time Pro Bowl selectee has allowed the ninth-highest completion rate (68.5%) among CBs who have been targeted 50 or more times this season, according to NGS.

Pick
PL
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
6-4 · .608

Biggest needs: DT, OL, edge rusher

This week's game: at Falcons


This is hard to believe, but the Raiders haven't finished a season ranked in the top half of the league in points allowed since their last Super Bowl appearance way back in the 2002 campaign. It doesn't appear that streak is going to end this year, as Las Vegas ranks 26th in points allowed per game after giving up 35 in Sunday night's loss. Mike Mayock has made big investments in his defense since taking over as GM but there is still significant work to be done on that side of the ball.

Pick
PL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7-4 · .527

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DT, WR

This week's game: vs. Chiefs


The highly touted Bucs pass rush has gone missing in two of the past three weeks. Tampa Bay failed to sack Jared Goff, who was playing without his top offensive lineman on Monday night.

Pick
PL
6
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
7-3 · .435

Biggest needs: QB, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: vs. Titans


The Colts will have the cap space to keep their key free agents in the fold, but will they bring all the high-performing veterans back for another run? The list of walk-year players includes Philip Rivers, Xavier Rhodes and Justin Houston

Pick
PL
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
7-3 · .446

Biggest needs: WR, interior OL, CB

This week's game: vs. Bears


It's time to invest in another young, cheap corner this offseason with Kevin King hitting the market in 2021 and Josh Jackson doing the same in 2022, all while the team tries to find the cap space to keep its core intact. 

Pick
PL
7
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
7-3 · .465

Biggest needs: LB, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: at Jaguars


Hello, Olivier Vernon! After posting 3.5 sacks in first 15 games with the Browns, he has five in his last three games, including three QB takedowns without the help of Myles Garrett on Sunday. Vernon, a free agent in 2021, might price himself out of Cleveland with a strong finish.

Pick
PL
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS


Rams' record: 7-3 (.480)

This week's Rams game: vs. 49ers


See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Jaguars' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams' needs.

Pick
PL
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
7-3 · .495

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, TE, WR

This week's game: at Colts


He's overshadowed by A.J. Brown, but Corey Davis would leave a big void at receiver if he departs in free agency. After having his fifth-year option declined in the offseason, the former first-round pick has three 100-yard games. He posted two such games in his previous three seasons combined.

Pick
PL
New York Jets
New York Jets

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS


Seahawks' record: 7-3 (.500)

This week's Seahawks game: at Eagles


See Pick No. 1 for analysis of the Jets' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Seahawks' needs.

Pick
PL
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
7-3 · .520

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, OL

This week's game: vs. Chargers


Will the Bills spend their top pick on an edge rusher for the second straight year with rookie A.J. Epenesa off to a slow start and Trent Murphy heading for free agency?

Pick
PL
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
8-2 · .485

Biggest needs: DL, DB, QB

This week's game: at Broncos


Yes, it was only one game and it wasn't a perfect performance, but Taysom Hill showed enough against the Falcons for us to at least move QB down the list of needs. Perhaps Drew Brees' successor is on the roster.

Pick
PL
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
9-1 · .426

Biggest needs: Interior OL, WR, edge rusher

This week's game: at Buccaneers


While safety remains a position to watch due to expiring deals in the next couple offseasons, edge rusher is the more pressing need at the moment. Frank Clark could use a complement, and starting DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (seven sacks in 55 career games) is in the final year of his contract.

Pick
PL
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
10-0 · .400

Biggest needs: OT, edge rusher, CB

This week's game: vs. Ravens


It's tricky trying to forecast needs for a team that will have to do a bunch of cutting to get under the cap in 2021. A storm is brewing for the league's only undefeated team.

TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK

Houston Texans
Houston Texans
3-7

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS


Biggest needs: WR, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: at Lions


The next GM of the Texans has to add an outside receiver with good size for Deshaun Watson, and -- while it's not among the top three needs -- finding a new RB1 should be high on the to-do list, too.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
7-3

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS


Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, LB

This week's game: vs. 49ers


At this rate, the Rams won't be making their first pick of the draft until late in Round 2, but you figure GM Les Snead will continue to add young pieces for an offensive line that has one starter due to become a free agent in 2021 and two more key members reaching the market a year later.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
6-3

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS


Biggest needs: OL, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: at Eagles


The Seahawks are one of just three teams with two corners (Quinton Dunbar and Tre Flowers) allowing a completion rate of 60 percent or higher (min. 50 targets), per NGS.

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter.

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