This is a look at the first-round order for the 2022 NFL Draft heading into Week 16 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.
NOTE: Arrows reflect movement from last week’s order.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Jets
CG: Could the Jags be the first team to make the No. 1 overall pick in consecutive years since the Browns plucked Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield in 2017-2018? They’re in the driver’s seat with three games to play, only one of which (next week at Jets) looks winnable.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, Edge
Week 16 opponent: at Falcons
DP: Perhaps a small silver lining for Lions fans that were disappointed to see their team fall out of the top spot in the draft order on Sunday: Amon-Ra St. Brown is now the franchise record-holder for receptions by a rookie (65) and gives the team at least one piece to build around at the receiver position.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, CB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Chargers
CG: Quarterback remains at the top of the needs list for now, but it’s noteworthy that the Texans have installed rookie Davis Mills as the starter, and that he’s performed fairly well since getting the nod a couple weeks ago. How he finishes the season could impact how they approach their quarterback need in the offseason.
Biggest needs: DB, WR, OL
Week 16 opponent: vs. Jaguars
CG: The Jets’ draft position could fall if they beat the Jaguars (2-12) on Sunday. They wrap up the season thereafter against the Buccaneers (10-4) and Bills (8-6), however, so the floor is looking high.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CHICAGO BEARS
Bears’ record: 4-10 (.559)
Bears’ Week 16 opponent: at Seahawks
See Pick No. 6 for analysis of the Giants’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Bears’ needs.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, QB
Week 16 opponent: at Eagles
DP: With Daniel Jones’ third NFL season officially over, it appears the Giants are going to need to head into 2022 with at least a stronger alternative at quarterback, whether they add that player via the draft or go the free-agent/trade route.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Buccaneers
DP: The Panthers, 2-9 since the calendar turned to October, have tried changing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators in-season, and nothing seems to be jump-starting their offense. If they do opt for a fresh start under center in 2022, they will be riding with their third different Week 1 starting QB in as many seasons.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Seahawks’ record: 5-9 (.543)
Seahawks’ Week 16 opponent: vs. Bears
See Pick No. 4 for analysis of the Jets’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Seahawks’ needs.
Biggest needs: Edge, OL, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Lions
DP: Sunday’s lopsided loss to the 49ers, in which the Falcons allowed all kinds of penetration into the backfield and produced very little of it, is another good example of why the team has to get better in the trenches.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Cowboys
DP: For one example of just how much ground separates Washington from the elite passing games in the league, only one Football Team player has 400-plus receiving yards this season. The top passing offenses in the league have at least four players who have crossed that mark.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Dolphins’ record: 7-7 (.429)
Dolphins’ Week 16 opponent: at Saints
See Pick No. 13 for analysis of the Eagles’ needs and the playoff-teams section for analysis of the Dolphins’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, LB, Edge
Week 16 opponent: at Raiders
CG: The 2022 quarterback class is projected to be a bit thin. If that means there won’t be a trade-up frenzy for the top passers, the Broncos might be able to land one with what is shaping up to be a pick squarely in the middle of the first round.
Biggest needs: S, Edge, LB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Giants
DP: While the most glaring needs might be on defense right now, it will be no surprise if the Eagles ultimately prioritize adding a skill-position weapon or help up front to a run-heavy offense.
Biggest needs: DT, Edge, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Packers
CG: The defensive tackle spot is a sore one in Cleveland, and hasn’t sustained a strong start to the season. Among their top three in snaps — Malik McDowell, Malik Jackson and Jordan Elliott — none have played especially well and Jackson is due to become an unrestricted free agent.
Biggest needs: QB, OT, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Dolphins
DP: The Saints are firmly in the wild-card race despite ranking near the bottom of the league in passing offense and big plays. It’s a credit to a defense that leaves Tom Brady chucking tablets on the sideline, and a big reason why the New Orleans needs list is dominated by one side of the ball.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Broncos
CG: Las Vegas will need early draft help on the line of scrimmage, be it on offense or defense. There’s not a Raiders offensive guard or defensive tackle rated in Pro Football Focus’ top 50 players at either position.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, LB
Week 16 opponent: at Chiefs
CG: The Steelers’ run defense ranks last or next-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed per game (144), yards allowed per carry (4.9) and rushes of 20-plus yards allowed (18). Off-the-ball linebackers have been a primary reason for the issues.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, LB
Week 16 opponent: at Bengals
CG: If the adage that defenses must be strong up the middle still holds true, there could be some critical holes to fill for the Ravens come April. Interior defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, who continues to perform at a high level, middle linebacker Josh Bynes, and safety DeShon Elliott are all pending free agents, as well as others at those positions.
Biggest needs: CB, Edge, LB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Rams
DP: The Vikings have made major investments in the offensive line year after year, yet it still is ranked in the league’s bottom 10 by PFF. I still see bigger potential roster holes elsewhere, but something has to change up front for Minnesota.
Biggest needs: DB, OL, TE
Week 16 opponent: vs. Ravens
CG: In his first healthy season, 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams hasn’t missed a snap at left tackle and has steadied the Bengals front. But right tackles face elite edge rushers, too, and the club might not have Riley Reiff, a 33-year-old pending free agent, protecting Joe Burrow in 2022.
Biggest needs: DL, OL, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Patriots
CG: The Bills’ pass rush has been sack-by-committee this season, and the committee’s chairman thus far (Mario Addison, with four) could be elsewhere in 2022. GM Brandon Beane might not spend back-to-back first-rounders on a pass rusher — this year’s top pick, Greg Rousseau, flashes promise — but reinforcements would be wise.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (Contingent on Carson Wentz playing 75% of team’s snaps; Wentz has played 97.5% of snaps entering Week 16)
Colts’ record: 8-6 (.480)
Colts’ Week 16 opponent: at Cardinals
See Pick No. 13 for analysis of the Eagles’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Colts’ needs.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
49ers’ record: 8-6 (.487)
49ers’ Week 16 opponent: at Titans
Dolphins’ biggest needs: OL, RB, Edge
CG: The Dolphins have surged into the fringe of the playoff picture with six consecutive victories, and surrendered plenty of draft position in the process. But with the Eagles holding Miami’s first-round pick, the best Dolphins pick being impacted is a second-rounder that’s moved from the 30s into the 40s overall.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers’ needs.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Texans
CG: This week, we slide linebacker ahead of wide receiver on the Chargers’ list of needs. The possibility of losing WR Mike Williams is daunting, but this team needs another playmaker in the heart of the defensive front seven more than anything.
Biggest needs: OL, LB, TE
Week 16 opponent: vs. 49ers
CG: QB Ryan Tannehill hasn’t posted a QB rating above 82 since mid-November. Other needs take precedence for now, but it won’t be surprising if the Titans use a middle-round selection on a QB to groom behind the 33-year-old Tannehill, who hasn’t been the same passer without Derrick Henry in the backfield.
Biggest needs: DB, LB, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Bills
CG: It appears Trent Brown is making himself some offseason money. The pending free agent has made five starts and logged nearly 300 snaps at right tackle since returning from a Week 1 calf injury, and has solidified the Patriots’ offensive line with the best PFF grade of his career. If New England can bring him back, what once looked like a potential draft hole could be filled in March.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams’ record: 10-4 (.467)
Rams’ Week 16 opponent: at Vikings
See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Lions’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams’ needs.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Colts
DP: The teams that have defeated the Cardinals this season — a list of squads that now includes the Lions — have been able to find running room vs. Arizona. Bolstering the interior D-line should help shore up that area.
Biggest needs: DB, DL, TE
Week 16 opponent: vs. Washington
DP: Adding pass-catchers for Dak Prescott figures to be a priority for the Cowboys, but their ability, or lack thereof, to re-sign their own free agents will determine the level of the need. Four of the team’s top eight players in receptions have deals that expire in March.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Panthers
DP: Wide receiver moves up a spot on the needs list this week with Chris Godwin, a pending free agent, suffering ACL and MCL tears on Sunday. Antonio Brown’s contract expires in 2022, as well.
Biggest needs: DB, OT, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Steelers
CG: We’ve been reluctant to identify wide receiver as a primary need for a team with an elite WR1 (Tyreek Hill) and an elite tight end (Travis Kelce) who post big-time receiving production. But it’s time to recognize the absence of depth. Mecole Hardman’s snap count has fallen off — he’s not played more than half his team’s snaps since early November — and four other receivers, who aren’t producing much anyway, will be unrestricted free agents.
Biggest needs: WR, Edge, CB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Browns
DP: Marquez Valdes-Scantling stepped up when the Ravens held Davante Adams to 44 receiving yards on Sunday. The thing is, both pass-catchers are headed for free agency this offseason.
TEAMS CURRENTLY WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK GIANTS
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Seahawks
DP: Among the many issues facing the Bears this offseason: sorting out a messy situation on the offensive line. Chicago’s top O-linemen (James Daniels and soon-to-be 40-year-old Jason Peters) are pending free agents and rookie Teven Jenkins is off to a bumpy start in the NFL.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Contingent on Carson Wentz playing 75% of team’s snaps; Wentz has played 97.5% of snaps entering Week 16)
Biggest needs: OL, WR, Edge
Week 16 opponent: at Cardinals
CG: Two mainstays on the Colts’ offensive line — left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Mark Glowinski — could be gone after the season. Maintaining holes for Jonathan Taylor and protection for Carson Wentz might demand draft help.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, LB
Week 16 opponent: at Vikings
DP: The Rams withstood Jalen Ramsey’s absence, beating the Cardinals without him in Week 14, but free agency threatens to take a bite out of their depth at cornerback.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: CB, WR, OL
Week 16 opponent: at Titans
DP: While it’s not listed above, the edge rusher spot opposite Nick Bosa should be on the radar for the Niners with Dee Ford potentially having played his final down for the team and Arden Key among San Francisco’s pending free agents at the position.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Biggest needs: DB, OL, TE
Week 16 opponent: vs. Bears
DP: It’s not a top-three need, but it looks like the Seahawks should be in the RB market this offseason. Chris Carson has been plagued by injuries, and Alex Collins and Rashaad Penny are in a contract year.
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