This is a look at the first-round order for the 2022 NFL Draft heading into Week 17 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). 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.
Strength of schedule: .511
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 17 opponent: at Patriots
CG: Having just lost to the Jets, the Jaguars’ path to the No. 1 pick of the draft is wide and clear. Absent an upset of the Patriots on Sunday or the Colts the Sunday after, Jacksonville will sit atop its second draft in a row.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, Edge
Week 17 opponent: at Seahawks
DP: The Falcons, who handed the Lions their 12th loss on Sunday, are the only team with fewer sacks and a lower QB pressure rate than Detroit, which has floated near the bottom in both categories for three straight seasons.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, DL
Week 17 opponent: at 49ers
CG: Quality defensive linemen tend to be a lot tougher to find in the draft than quality wide receivers, and with that logic, we move what remains a significant need for receivers out of the Texans’ top three.
Biggest needs: DB, WR, OL
Week 17 opponent: vs. Buccaneers
CG: The Jets are now knotted with two other teams, the Giants and Texans, at 4-11. But the Jets have the toughest remaining schedule of those three, and an 0-2 finish against the Bucs and Bills could lock them into the third pick.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, QB
Week 16 opponent: at Bears
DP: These are trying times for Giants fans who have been rooting for their team and the Bears to keep losing to ensure highest possible draft positioning for Big Blue’s two first-rounders. It will be at least two straight weeks without both clubs taking an L on the same weekend thanks to Chicago’s upset of Seattle and the Week 17 Justin Fields Trade Bowl between the Bears and Giants.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB
Week 17 opponent: at Saints
DP: The level of need at cornerback pales in comparison to that of the first two positions on the list above and will largely be determined by the decisions Carolina makes about its own free agents. Stephon Gilmore and Donte Jackson have expiring deals.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Seahawks’ record: 5-10 (.522)
Seahawks’ Week 17 opponent: vs. Lions
See Pick No. 4 for analysis of the Jets’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Seahawks’ needs.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CHICAGO BEARS
Bears’ record: 5-10 (.536)
Bears’ Week 17 opponent: vs. Giants
See Pick No. 5 for analysis of the Giants’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Bears’ needs.
Washington Football Team
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR
Week 17 opponent: vs. Eagles
DP: The wheels have come off for Washington and QB Taylor Heinicke. The Football Team’s lack of offensive punch has been on display over the past five weeks, when they averaged 17 points per game. Heinicke has posted fewer than 150 pass yards and a sub-60 passer rating in both of his outings against Dallas this season — definitely not what you want against a hated division rival.
Biggest needs: QB, LB, Edge
Week 17 opponent: at Chargers
CG: Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell‘s absence at linebacker has been felt, and it hasn’t felt good. Both had their seasons ended by pectoral injuries, both are pending free agents, and if at least one of them isn’t back in Denver with a new deal, the Broncos could have a gaping draft hole to fill.
Biggest needs: CB, Edge, LB
Week 17 opponent: at Packers
DP: Minnesota has spent its top pick on a defensive player only once in the past six drafts (Mike Hughes in 2018), but 2022 could be the time to snap the streak. The Vikings have fallen to 29th in total D (would be a Mike Zimmer era low).
New Orleans Saints
Biggest needs: QB, OT, WR
Week 17 opponent: vs. Panthers
DP: It’s not a top-three need for now, but free agency has the potential to take some big bites out of the Saints’ secondary over the next 15 months. Marcus Williams figures to have plenty of suitors if New Orleans allows him to reach the market in 2022, and P.J. Williams is also in the final year of his deal. Bradley Roby and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson are a year away from free agency.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, LB
Week 17 opponent: vs. Browns
CG: If the Steelers spend a first-rounder on a quarterback, an offensive lineman or two should not be far behind. Ben Roethlisberger is showing his age, to be sure, but there could be much re-tooling required up front.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, LB
Week 17 opponent: vs. Rams
CG: Priority needs for Baltimore remain unchanged, but consider wide receiver as a legitimate secondary need. Marquise Brown is breaking out with his best season, but it’s too soon to tell what Baltimore has in Rashod Bateman, and Sammy Watkins could be on his way out.
Las Vegas Raiders
Biggest needs: DT, OL, WR
Week 17 opponent: at Colts
CG: We focus on high-priority needs in this weekly exercise, but low-priority needs are needs just the same. Quarterback qualifies as one for Las Vegas, because Derek Carr could be the only man in the QB room come this offseason. Backups Marcus Mariota and Nathan Peterman are approaching contract expirations. Beyond just roster-filling, the Raiders should also be mindful that Carr’s deal is up after 2022.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, WR
Week 17 opponent: vs. Broncos
CG: An embarrassing loss to Houston further stamped the defensive side of the ball as the Chargers’ draft focus, particularly a need for run stoppers. With the worst team run-blocking grade in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, the Texans sprung Rex Burkhead for 149 yards on the ground. Ouch.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Dolphins’ record: 8-7 (.444)
Dolphins’ Week 17 opponent: at Titans
See the pick below for analysis of the Eagles’ needs and two picks below for analysis of the Dolphins’ needs.
Biggest needs: S, Edge, LB
Week 17 opponent: at Washington
DP: What a difference the second half of the season has made on the positioning for Philadelphia’s three first-round picks. At midseason, the Eagles held three of the top 14 picks. Now they don’t have any picks in the top 18.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
49ers’ record: 8-7 (.500)
49ers’ Week 17 opponent: vs. Texans
Dolphins’ biggest needs: OL, Edge, LB
CG: We’re moving linebacker ahead of running back among Miami’s needs, but it’s still a must-address position. Myles Gaskin is having to play a lead back’s role in a third-down back’s body. The Dolphins need a bigger, more powerful complement in the backfield.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers’ needs.
Biggest needs: DB, OL, TE
Week 17 opponent: vs. Chiefs
CG: On the brink of clinching a playoff berth at 9-6, the Bengals have nearly played themselves out of the top 18 picks, which are reserved for non-qualifiers. Their last first-round pick in the playoff-qualifier range: Billy Price (2018), who was traded to the New York Giants after three seasons.
Biggest needs: DL, OL, WR
Week 17 opponent: vs. Falcons
CG: The Bills have just 14 players headed for unrestricted free agency, the fewest in the AFC East (Patriots 16, Jets 18, Dolphins 20), per Over the Cap. Buffalo has draft needs like anyone else, but that’s a good place for a 9-6 team to be.
Biggest needs: DB, LB, WR
Week 17 opponent: vs. Jaguars
CG: Most of New England’s draft needs reside on defense, but not to be forgotten is a potential hole at left guard. Ted Karras has quietly had a strong season and is a pending free agent.
Colts’ record: 9-6 (.502)
Colts’ Week 17 opponent: vs. Raiders
See five picks above for analysis of the Eagles’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Colts’ needs.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, Edge
Week 17 opponent: at Cowboys
DP: Wide receiver is trending toward a return to the needs list with the Cardinals averaging 14 points per game and going 0-2 in DeAndre Hopkins‘ absence over the past two weeks. Keep in mind that A.J. Green and Christian Kirk are pending free agents.
Biggest needs: OL, LB, TE
Week 17 opponent: vs. Dolphins
CG: The No. 1 seed in the AFC is still within reach for the Titans. If they achieve it, their first-round pick will be no higher than the mid-20s heading into the offseason.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams’ record: 11-4 (.464)
Rams’ Week 17 opponent: at Ravens
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
Week 17 opponent: vs. Cardinals
DP: The Cowboys have only one player graded among PFF’s top 95 interior D-linemen, and that player — Carlos Watkins — is due to become a free agent in March. It could be a very young group at DT for Dallas in 2022.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 17 opponent: at Jets
DP: It’s not on the needs list for now, but the front seven certainly could rise into the top three this offseason. Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston are headed for free agency in 2022, while Lavonte David and Vita Vea have deals that expire in 2023.
Biggest needs: DB, OT, WR
Week 17 opponent: at Bengals
CG: Kansas City’s secondary could sustain heavy free agent losses, and in a division that includes Justin Herbert and Derek Carr, that’s an even more frightening prospect. Patrick Mahomes might be capable of winning shootouts, but a weak secondary would be asking for them.
Green Bay Packers
Biggest needs: WR, Edge, CB
Week 17 opponent: vs. Vikings
DP: Rashan Gary was rewarded for his breakout season with a Pro Bowl nod, but will he have a new, less expensive edge-rushing running mate in 2022? Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith combine for a cap number near $50 million next season.
TEAMS CURRENTLY WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK GIANTS
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 17 opponent: vs. Giants
DP: Justin Fields could be throwing to an almost completely new set of wide receivers next season, as Darnell Mooney is currently the lone Bears wideout signed beyond 2021.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, LB
Week 17 opponent: at Ravens
DP: L.A. could also find itself in the edge rusher market if it doesn’t re-sign Von Miller, who has one sack in six games with the Rams.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: CB, WR, OL
Week 17 opponent: vs. Texans
DP: The Niners must turn over every rock this offseason in the hunt for playmakers at cornerback. Their CBs have made just two interceptions on 214 targets in 2021.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Biggest needs: DB, OL, TE
Week 17 opponent: vs. Lions
DP: Colby Parkinson — who has four catches in 18 career games — is the lone tight end the Seahawks have under contract beyond 2021.