2021 NFL Draft order: Dolphins vault to third pick; Patriots No. 15

This is a look at the first-round order for the 2021 NFL Draft heading into Week 17 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
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
1-14 · .540 strength of schedule

Biggest needs: QB, CB, OT

This week's game: at Colts


With the first overall pick in hand, the Jaguars have an opportunity to quickly turn things around. Jacksonville will have four picks in the top 50, including two first-rounders (acquired the Rams' top pick in the Jalen Ramsey deal and the Vikings' second-rounder in the Yannick Ngakoue trade).

Pick
2
New York Jets
New York Jets
2-13 · .604

Biggest needs: QB, edge rusher, CB

This week's game: at Patriots


The Jets are locked into the No. 2 slot after winning two in a row, and Sam Darnold has gone a career-high three straight games without turning the ball over. Ya know, there's a case to be made that New York should not select a quarterback with the second overall pick.

Pick
3
3
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE HOUSTON TEXANS


Texans' record: 4-11 (.531)

This week's Texans game: vs. Titans


See the playoff teams section for analysis of the Dolphins' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Texans' needs.

Pick
4
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
4-11 · .542

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DB, QB

This week's game: at Buccaneers


Atlanta has been competitive against the playoff-bound Bucs and Chiefs in the last two weeks, which could be interpreted as a sign that the Falcons shouldn't start over at quarterback and go with a full-blown rebuild this offseason. But the opportunity to draft one of the best QBs available doesn't come around often.

Pick
5
2
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
4-10-1 · .518

Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, CB

This week's game: vs. Ravens


Sunday's win over the Texans means the Bengals are less likely to be in position to draft the top offensive lineman available, but a top-five pick should net Cincinnati help for Joe Burrow one way or another.

Pick
6
1
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
4-10-1 · .540

Biggest needs: Interior O-line, CB, LB

This week's game: vs. Washington Football Team


Philly is so lean at corner that it's had to start undrafted rookie Michael Jacquet. He's the only player to allow 150-plus receiving yards multiple times this season, per NFL Research.

Pick
7
4
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
5-10 · .511

Biggest needs: WR, DL, LB

This week's game: vs. Vikings


This pass defense won't do. The Lions allowed the most passing TDs (13) and the highest passer rating (138.1) and completion percentage (76.5) of any team in December. 

Pick
8
2
New York Giants
New York Giants
5-10 · .513

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, WR

This week's game: vs. Cowboys


Offensive tackle isn't out of mind, but receiver replaces it on the needs list this week. It's hard to envision the Giants' offense making a leap without adding another playmaker at the position.

Pick
9
4
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
5-10 · .516

Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB

This week's game: vs. Saints


Carolina should be looking for an upgrade at corner over Rasul Douglas, who has allowed a 156.3 passer rating during the last three weeks (second-highest among DBs who have been targeted at least 10 times, per Next Gen Stats).

Pick
10
3
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
5-10 · .573

Biggest needs: CB, edge rusher, QB

This week's game: vs. Raiders


Drops didn't help Drew Lock on Sunday, but he can't blame anyone else for his red-zone INT. Will John Elway at least add competition for him in the offseason?

Pick
11
3
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
6-9 · .460

Biggest needs: OL, TE, CB

This week's game: at Chiefs


It's an annual question for the Bolts: Can they fix their offensive line? This time around they have three of their five starters (in addition to the injured Mike Pouncey) scheduled to hit the market.

Pick
12
3
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
6-9 · .473

Biggest needs: CB, OL, LB

This week's game: at Giants


The dream of landing the 2021 draft’s best non-QB looked like a legitimate possibility for the Cowboys a few weeks ago. Three straight Dallas wins later, a division title is in play for the team with the league's worst run defense.

Pick
13
1
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
6-9 · .520

Biggest needs: OL, DT, edge rusher

This week's game: at Lions


We're going to assume Mike Zimmer will advocate for significant changes to a defense that he calls the "worst one I've ever had." 

Pick
14
2
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
6-9 · .531

Biggest needs: CB, OL, QB

This week's game: vs. Seahawks


Now that Niners have played spoiler, beating the division-rival Rams and Cardinals in the past month, they have some monumental decisions to make at marquee positions like quarterback, left tackle and cornerback.

Pick
15
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
6-9 · .560

Biggest needs: QB, DL, WR

This week's game: vs. Jets


Cam Newton was bad and Jarrett Stidham wasn't any better on Monday night, providing the starkest signal yet that the Patriots don't have an answer under center. 

Pick
16
1
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
7-8 · .556

Biggest needs: DT, OL, edge rusher

This week's game: at Broncos


The front five could be in for some turnover. Guard Denzelle Good is ticketed for free agency, while fellow starters Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson are potential cap casualties.

Pick
17
3
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
8-7 · .464

Biggest needs: CB, edge rusher, WR

This week's game: at Rams


Arizona still might need to find a starting guard this offseason, but we're giving receiver a spot on the needs list this week. There are just four teams that have averaged fewer yards per pass attempt than the Cardinals (6.4) since Week 11, per Next Gen Stats. Adding a reliable vertical threat could make a big difference here.

Pick
18
7
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
10-5 · .469

Biggest needs: QB, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: vs. Jaguars


Indianapolis is now 1-3 when Philip Rivers is pressured on more than 23 percent of his dropbacks. As good as the Colts' offensive line is, the team would benefit from having a quarterback who didn't leave them such a small margin for error.

Pick
PL
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
6-9 · .476

Biggest needs: QB, WR, OL

This week's game: at Eagles


Whether Washington wins the NFC East or comes up short, Ron Rivera will head into the offseason in need of a young QB to develop, a franchise left tackle and a complement to Terry McLaurin at wide receiver.

Pick
PL
4
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
8-7 · .458

Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR

This week's game: vs. Packers


A playoff berth might not be the only thing on the line for the Bears when they host Green Bay in Week 17. The game could end up playing a role in determining the future at the quarterback position in Chicago, too. The Packers have not been kind to impending free-agent Mitchell Trubisky, who has a career record of 1-5 against them with a 7:5 TD-to-INT ratio, 79.0 passer rating and a sub-60 percent completion rate.

Pick
PL
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS


Rams' record: 9-6 (.496)

This week's Rams game: vs. Cardinals


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

Pick
PL
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
10-5 · .429

Biggest needs: LB, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: vs. Steelers


The Browns might be shopping to replace walk-year edge rusher Olivier Vernon, who has the second-most sacks in the league (eight) since Week 8.

Pick
PL
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
10-5 · .442

Biggest needs: WR, ILB, interior OL

This week's game: at Bills


Dolphins fans have reason to celebrate these days. Miami has a better-than-decent chance of making the playoffs and ending up with the third overall pick thanks to the 2021 first-rounder it acquired from the Texans in the Laremy Tunsil trade.

Pick
PL
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
10-5 · .491

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, WR, interior DL

This week's game: at Texans


It's back to the drawing board for Tennessee when it comes to generating a pass rush. The Titans registered just two QB hits on Sunday night and rank last in the league with 15 sacks.

Pick
PL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10-5 · .502

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DT, WR

This week's game: vs. Falcons


Free agency threatens the Bucs' depth on the interior D-line, with Ndamukong Suh, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon playing on contracts that expire in 2021. Plus, Suh will turn 34 and McLendon will turn 35 early next month.

Pick
PL
8
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
10-5 · .511

Biggest needs: WR, OL, edge rusher

This week's game: at Bengals


GM Eric DeCosta will have to re-sign some of his own to avoid a pass-rushing exodus in 2021. Five of the Ravens' top six players in pressure rate are in the final year of their deals.

Pick
PL
New York Jets
New York Jets

PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS


Seahawks' record: 11-4 (.451)

This week's Seahawks game: at 49ers


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

Pick
PL
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
11-4 · .473

Biggest needs: QB, DL, DB

This week's game: at Panthers


How big will the offseason changes be in a Saints secondary that could lose at least a couple starters to free agency and/or cuts?

Pick
PL
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
12-3 · .424

Biggest needs: WR, CB, interior OL

This week's game: at Bears


In a sign of just how much trust Aaron Rodgers has in his WR1 (or is it how little trust he has in his other options at receiver?), Davante Adams leads the league with a target share of 30 percent despite missing three games this season.

Pick
PL
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
12-3 · .456

Biggest needs: OT, edge rusher, QB

This week's game: at Browns


Each of the Steelers' primary O-line starters is scheduled to reach the market either this offseason or next, with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who will turn 33 early next season, among the free-agent crop in 2021.

Pick
PL
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
12-3 · .507

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, OL, CB

This week's game: vs. Dolphins


The Bills seem to be going from good to dominant down the stretch, but the offensive line is one question mark for the offseason. Stalwart right tackle Daryl Williams is among the three starting O-linemen in a walk year.

Pick
PL
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
14-1 · .462

Biggest needs: Interior OL, WR, edge rusher

This week's game: vs. Chargers


Frank Clark is on pace to post his fewest sacks since his rookie year (2015), and the Chiefs don't have an edge rusher ranked among PFF's top 70 players at the position.

TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK

Houston Texans
Houston Texans
4-11

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS


Biggest needs: WR, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: vs. Titans


Another great game by Deshaun Watson goes to waste. And it's going to be difficult to break out of that narrative in 2021 with such limited draft capital (Miami owns Houston's first- and second-rounder).

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
9-6

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS


Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, LB

This week's game: vs. Cardinals


One silver lining for the Rams amid their meltdown over the past two weeks is the continued production of edge rusher Leonard Floyd, who is now tied for eighth in the league with 9.5 sacks. But he might not be long for L.A. with his one-year deal set to expire.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
11-4

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS


Biggest needs: OL, CB, edge rusher

This week's game: at 49ers


Seattle won for the first time this season when Russell Wilson was sacked five or more times (they were previously 0-3 in such games), but that's still a concerning amount of punishment for the QB. Only Carson Wentz has taken more sacks.

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter.

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