This is a look at the first-round order for the 2022 NFL Draft through Week 18 of the 2021 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). Picks 1-18 are set, but the draft order for playoff teams is determined by the results of postseason play.
The 2022 draft is scheduled to be held April 28-30 in Las Vegas.
Arrows indicate how far up or down a team has moved relative to its standing coming out of Week 17.
Strength of schedule: .512
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
CG: The Jaguars have plenty of money to spend in free agency, but that can only provide the earliest steps toward one of the most daunting rebuilds in the NFL. With all the help that’s needed, trading out of the No. 1 pick for extra selections might be the prudent way to go about it.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, Edge
DP: There’s a long way to go between now and April 28, but taking the best edge rusher available at No. 2 might be the best strategy for the Lions, who rank second to last in the league in sacks over the past three seasons.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, DL
CG: Davis Mills acquitted himself well as a potential long-term quarterback for the Texans. He didn’t light up the league, but given the talent deficiency around him, his upside remains unrevealed. The Texans might still draft a QB early, but it shouldn’t be assumed.
Biggest needs: CB, WR, S
CG: Notwithstanding Sunday’s nine-sack debacle, the Jets’ offensive line showed improvement in 2021, but that’s not to suggest it won’t require addressing. Beyond pending free agents to make decisions on, the team also must assess how much it can rely on Mekhi Becton, who missed all but Week 1 with a knee injury.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, TE
DP: The Giants head into the offseason loaded with draft capital, including two of the top seven picks. If they focus on the offensive line and pass rush, and hit on those selections, the G-Men could cure what ails them in the trenches in short order.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB
DP: Carolina had the league’s worst passing offense for most of the season. There are some pieces to build around on both sides of the ball, but the Panthers won’t be competitive until they find a decent quarterback.
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: In a passing league, the Falcons can’t get to the quarterback. They have the fewest sacks in the league since the start of the 2019 season and the second-lowest QB pressure rate over that span.
Biggest needs: QB, LB, Edge
CG: There’s little doubt that a quarterback is on the Broncos’ offseason shopping list. The bigger question is whether or not they invest a first-round pick in one.
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: CB, Edge, LB
DP: After a tremendous run earlier in Mike Zimmer’s tenure, the Vikings’ defense has now finished the season ranked near the bottom of the league for two straight years. Hence, a needs list dominated by one side of the ball.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, S
CG: After a promising 3-1 start, the Browns’ season devolved into an injury-riddled calamity. The re-set for 2022 will need to center on improving the defense.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, LB
CG: Even with one of the NFL’s most elusive quarterbacks, pass protection was a real issue for the Ravens this season. How much confidence the club has in Ronnie Stanley‘s left ankle, which has been the source of back-to-back season-ending injuries, will surely impact its needs assessment.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Dolphins’ record: 9-8 (.464)
See the playoff teams section of this article for analysis of the Eagles’ and Dolphins’ needs.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, WR
CG: WR Mike Williams should be the Chargers’ priority keeper in free agency, but when it comes to the draft, the defensive front is most in need of retooling.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, OT
DP: The Saints aren’t usually drafting high enough to land one of the top quarterbacks available, but this year could be different. Then again, Sean Payton might prefer to go with a veteran under center and land the dynamic receiving talent his team lacks in Round 1.
Biggest needs: Edge, S, WR
DP: Will the Eagles spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver for the third straight year? No one should rule it out given the need for a big, physical target opposite DeVonta Smith on the outside.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, LB
CG: Pittsburgh has ridden the Roethlisberger Train to what is almost certainly its final stop, without a clear answer at quarterback behind him. It appears pickings will be relatively slim in free agency for a veteran option. The club’s last first-round quarterback — Roethlisberger himself — worked out swimmingly. But it’s time for another.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
49ers’ record: 10-7 (.500)
Dolphins’ biggest needs: OL, Edge, LB
CG: Some serious offensive line talent could be available in free agency, and the Dolphins will have a pile of money to spend in March. A big-splash signing or two in that area could free up a lot of draft flexibility for Miami.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers’ needs.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, WR
CG: The Raiders’ offensive line has been a mess this season. Rookie Alex Leatherwood struggled at both tackle and guard, but the problems went beyond the 2021 first-round pick.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, Edge
DP: Arizona could end up navigating free-agent departures at each of the positions above, but potential losses at running back, tight end and wide receiver also should not be overlooked.
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.
Biggest needs: DB, DL, TE
DP: Linebacker could rise up the needs list depending on how the Cowboys want to utilize Micah Parsons in 2022 (LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal are pending free agents). The biggest hole to fill might be at safety, though. The contracts are expiring for the three players who played the most snaps at the position for Dallas this season.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
DP: There are far too many potential free-agent losses to know exactly how the Bucs’ draft needs will line up come April, but there will be a major void in Tom Brady‘s protection if C Ryan Jensen and RG Alex Cappa — who have started in every regular-season game Brady has played as a Buc — are not re-signed.
Biggest needs: WR, Edge, CB
DP: The needs in Green Bay will largely be dictated by the players the Packers end up cutting to create salary-cap space and the pending free agents from their own roster that they’re able to retain. This is not a squad with glaring holes to fill right now.
TEAMS CURRENTLY WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK GIANTS
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
DP: The Bears won’t have a lot of draft capital to work with, but they have to make a plan to set Justin Fields up for success in Year 2. That starts with finding a left tackle.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, DB
CG: The Colts’ cap space ($53.4 million, per Over the Cap) should afford them a good chance to re-sign some key free agents, but there are quite a few of them. Potential holes on the offensive line and a need for receiving targets for QB Carson Wentz could well be Indianapolis’ focus when the draft arrives.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, LB
DP: The Rams have one of the better offensive lines in the league. It’s going to take some shrewd drafting to keep it that way, though. All five starters up front are due to hit free agency either this offseason or next.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Biggest needs: DB, OL, TE
DP: The secondary is among the positions that could be headed for an overhaul with Seattle’s top two corners and top coverage safety ticketed for free agency.