With the 2021 NFL season officially in the books, the order for the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is set. Now the work of figuring out who will fill those slots takes center stage, with the NFL Scouting Combine just around the corner. In the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LVI, here's the current order for Round 1 of the 2022 draft, which kicks off on April 28 in Las Vegas, along with the three needs for each team.
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.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
CG: In Doug Pederson, the Jaguars now have a head coach in place with a track record for QB development. The next move is to surround Trevor Lawrence with more talent, starting at the tackle and wide receiver spots.
Biggest needs: QB, Edge, WR
DP: With two first-round picks -- their own and the one they acquired from the Rams in the Matthew Stafford trade -- the Lions have an opportunity to set a foundation for brighter days after averaging 3.7 wins per season over the last three years.
Biggest needs: CB, QB, Edge
CG: It's hard to point out where the Texans don't need help; three positions doesn't cover it. They face a daunting rebuild, but with Davis Mills' solid quarterback play to finish this season, we've moved that position to their No. 2 need.
Biggest needs: DB, WR, Edge
CG: The Jets can go in all kinds of directions with the No. 4 overall pick, from the positions of need listed above to offensive tackle, where the club might lose starting RT Morgan Moses to free agency.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, TE
DP: The Giants say they are all in on Daniel Jones in 2022. They best give him a better offensive line, and adding a pass-catching tight end could be a priority with Evan Engram headed for free agency.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB
DP: Carolina's problems are about as clear cut as it gets. The Panthers allowed the second-most sacks among NFC teams (52) and their QBs combined for the league's lowest passer rating (68.5) and completion percentage (58.1).
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CHICAGO BEARS
Bears' record: 6-11 (.524)
See Pick No. 5 for analysis of the Giants' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Bears' needs.
Biggest needs: Edge, OL, WR
DP: Atlanta had the fewest sacks in the league, by far, with 18 (no other team had fewer than 29) and Matt Ryan's offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. There's a lot of work to be done in the trenches here.
Biggest needs: QB, LB, Edge
CG: The quarterback position needs addressing, and the free-agent field of options isn't exactly inspiring. That list includes Teddy Bridgewater, who would have to prove himself to a new coach in Nathaniel Hackett if he were to re-sign with Denver.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Seahawks' record: 7-10 (.519)
See Pick No. 4 for analysis of the Jets' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Seahawks' needs.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR
DP: The Commanders have burned through 10 different starting quarterbacks over the past four seasons, posting a record of 24-41 in that span. Will they invest a first-round pick in the position for the second time in four years
Biggest needs: CB, Edge, LB
DP: Free agency threatens to leave the Vikings much thinner at corner and off the edge. Keep in mind that the Minnesota defense has ranked in the bottom 10 in points allowed for two straight seasons.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, WR
CG: Already facing potential free-agency losses all over the defensive front, the Browns' offseason was further complicated by defensive tackle Malik McDowell's January arrest. The Browns need to add another receiving threat to help Baker Mayfield, but they'll need to plug the defense even more.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, LB
CG: Central to the Ravens' late-season collapse was pass protection. With arguably the most elusive quarterback in the game in Lamar Jackson, and a pretty elusive backup in Tyler Huntley, who made four starts, Baltimore gave up 57 sacks on the year. Shoring that issue up should be a major factor in the club's draft approach.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Dolphins' record: 9-8 (.464)
See Pick 19 for analysis of the Eagles' needs and the playoff teams section of this article for analysis of the Dolphins' needs.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Colts' record: 9-8 (.495)
See Pick 19 for analysis of the Eagles' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Colts' needs.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, WR
CG: If the Chargers don't address their porous run defense with the No. 17 overall pick, they'd be well-advised to do so soon thereafter. A new contract for wide receiver Mike Williams would sharpen the focus on their need for defense, although an offensive tackle in the first round could make sense as well.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, OT
DP: Wide receiver remains on the needs list, even though the Saints don't expect to trade Michael Thomas, who has played in seven games since the start of the 2020 season.
Biggest needs: Edge, S, WR
DP: The Eagles are currently holding the keys to the 2022 draft with three first-round picks. Philly will likely have big holes to fill, with a starting edge rusher and both of its starting safeties headed for the open market.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, LB
CG: It's hard to imagine outgoing GM Kevin Colbert won't try to set the Steelers up with their next standout quarterback in what will be his final draft with the club. But he'll need to deliver beyond that for a Pittsburgh team with plenty of needs.
Biggest needs: DB, LB, WR
CG: The New England defense that led a midseason seven-game win streak to push the Patriots into the playoffs had plenty of starters playing out the end of their contracts. They extended safety Adrian Phillips' deal last month, but there currently isn't much cap space to bring back others.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, WR
CG: New GM Dave Ziegler won't need much time in the film room to see that the Raiders' biggest problems are up front, especially at defensive tackle. In the range of Las Vegas' No. 22 overall pick, Georgia's Jordan Davis could be the ideal remedy.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, Edge
DP: Assuming the friction between Kyler Murray and the Cardinals gets sorted out, Arizona's biggest question marks are likely to be on defense. But a longer-form needs list would include a pass-catcher.
Biggest needs: DB, DL, OL
DP: Dallas is likely to be in the market for a guard with Connor Williams' contract expiring, and the depth at offensive tackle could be improved, too.
Biggest needs: DL, OL, WR
CG: The Bills' defense ranked first in the league in 2021. However, there are numerous pending free agents along the defensive front, and Buffalo will likely be looking for cheaper alternatives.
Biggest needs: OL, LB, TE
CG: With Julio Jones under contract for two more seasons, we're resisting the temptation to include wide receiver on the above list. But Tennessee needs a healthier, more productive Jones to complement A.J. Brown next year.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR
DP: The list of pressing needs for the Bucs is much longer than three positions. What will be the team's long-term plan at running back, tight end, interior defensive line and cornerback?
Biggest needs: WR, Edge, CB
DP: The Packers last spent a first-round pick on a wide receiver 20 years ago. In other words, they're due.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
49ers' record: 10-7 (.500)
Dolphins' biggest needs: OL, RB, LB
CG: It's worth noting that new coach Mike McDaniel's background is on offense. Assuming GM Chris Grier is open to McDaniel's input, it seems all the more likely now that the Dolphins' extensive offensive needs -- particularly along the line -- will be of the highest priority.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers' needs.
Biggest needs: DB, OT, WR
CG: The Chiefs face potential free-agency holes all over the secondary, collectively making for their biggest draft need as of now. Of course, left tackle would rise to the top of the list if Orlando Brown exited, but GM Brett Veach has said he expects Brown to return.
Biggest needs: OL, S, LB
CG: Better protection for Joe Burrow is a must. He's an elite quarterback, something Cincinnati hasn't had since Boomer Esiason, and any other draft needs are secondary to keeping him upright.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams' record: 12-5 (.483)
See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Lions' needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams' needs.
TEAMS CURRENTLY WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK GIANTS
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
DP: In addition to the glaring needs listed above, the new regime in Chicago could be rebuilding the interior D-line with the contracts for Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols expiring.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Biggest needs: DB, WR, OT
CG: With uncertainty about Carson Wentz's future and significant salary-cap space, the Colts' draft needs might look a lot different come April. For now, additional punch at wide receiver and solidifying the secondary are paramount.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, LB
DP: The Rams, who currently are without a first-round pick until 2024, could have a massive void to fill at left tackle if Walter Payton Man of the Year Andrew Whitworth decides to retire this offseason.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: CB, OL, WR
DP: The Niners won't be on the clock until Pick No. 61, but as talented as they are, they could certainly use some young players who are ready to step in from Day 1, especially at cornerback and on the offensive line.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Biggest needs: DB, OL, DL
DP: The secondary and offensive line lead the to-do list for a team short on draft capital, but the D-line might also require attention with two starters ticketed for free agency.
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