2022 NFL Draft order: First 16 picks locked in; Giants, Jets have two top-10 selections apiece

2022 NFL Draft order: First 16 picks locked in; Giants, Jets have two top-10 selections apiece

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.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars

3-14
·
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. 

Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions

3-13-1
·
.528

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.

Houston Texans

Houston Texans

4-13
·
.498

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.

New York Jets

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.

New York Giants

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. 

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

5-12
·
.509

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.

New York Giants

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.

Atlanta Falcons

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.

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos

7-10
·
.484

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.

New York Jets

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.

Minnesota Vikings

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.

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns

8-9
·
.514

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.

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

8-9
·
.531

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.

Philadelphia Eagles

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.

Los Angeles Chargers

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.

New Orleans Saints

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. 

Philadelphia Eagles

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.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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.

Cincinnati Bengals

Biggest needs: S, OL, LB

CG: Safety tops the club’s needs list as we enter the postseason. The good news: Vonn Bell has had a strong year and is under contract through next season. Jessie Bates, however, is a pending free agent.

New England Patriots

Biggest needs: DB, LB, WR

CG: The Patriots’ defense could be gutted from linebacker to the secondary by free agency. Unless the club manages to retain some key names — CB J.C. Jackson and LB Ja’Whaun Bentley among them — their draft needs will be fairly clear.

Miami Dolphins

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.

Las Vegas Raiders

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. 

Buffalo Bills

Biggest needs: DL, OL, WR

CG: The Bills’ draft needs project up front on both lines, but the wide receiver position can’t be neglected, especially if Emmanuel Sanders moves on. Dawson Knox‘s emergence at tight end helps, but not to the exclusion of an upgrade to pair with Stefon Diggs.

Arizona Cardinals

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.

Tennessee Titans

Biggest needs: OL, LB, TE

CG: Pass rusher Harold Landry and center Ben Jones will almost certainly be the Titans’ two highest retention priorities among their free agents. If those two walk, the club’s draft needs will endure a shakeup.

Detroit Lions

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.

Dallas Cowboys

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.

Kansas City Chiefs

Biggest needs: DB, OT, WR

CG: Bringing Orlando Brown back at left tackle has to be a huge free-agency priority for the Chiefs, and if they can’t, protecting Patrick Mahomes will be a much bigger draft consideration.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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. 

Green Bay Packers

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

Chicago Bears

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.

Indianapolis Colts

TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

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.

Los Angeles Rams

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.

Seattle Seahawks

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. 

This entry was posted in NFL and tagged .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *