This is a look at the first-round order for the 2022 NFL Draft heading into 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). 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 18 opponent: vs. Colts
CG: The more Trevor Lawrence regresses, the better the case can be made that the Jaguars should dedicate a big chunk of their draft — say, three or four picks — on offensive linemen and receivers. The defense is a mess, too, but if the rebuild orbits around Lawrence, the offense as a whole must take priority.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, Edge
Week 18 opponent: vs. Packers
DP: If the Jaguars lose in Week 18, the Lions will secure the No. 2 overall pick. They last held the second selection in 2010, when they drafted Ndamukong Suh. Twelve years later, Detroit will be in the market for another player who can wreak havoc in the opposition’s backfield.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, DL
Week 18 opponent: vs. Titans
CG: Complicating the Texans’ offseason rebuild, and adding to the importance of its draft success, will be a projected $34.7 million in 2022 cap space, per Over the Cap. That’s near the league average for a club with above-average needs, and far less than AFC South foes Jacksonville ($69.2 million) and Indianapolis ($53.3 million).
Biggest needs: CB, WR, S
Week 18 opponent: at Bills
CG: Week 17 losses by the Jaguars and Lions ensured that the Jets can do no better than the No. 3 pick. But they can still do worse — the four-win deadlock between the Jets, Giants and Texans has survived to the final week of the regular season.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, TE
Week 18 opponent: vs. Washington
DP: If the Giants do indeed plan to stick with Daniel Jones in 2022, they must have a plan to give him a better offensive line and weapons he can trust.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB
Week 18 opponent: at Buccaneers
DP: Carolina is the second-worst pass-blocking team in the league, per Pro Football Focus. Whoever is playing quarterback for the Panthers next season deserves better.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Seahawks’ record: 6-10 (.508)
Seahawks’ Week 18 opponent: at Cardinals
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: 6-10 (.525)
Bears’ Week 18 opponent: at Vikings
See Pick No. 5 for analysis of the Giants’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Bears’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, WR
Week 18 opponent: at Giants
DP: Couple Curtis Samuel‘s disappointing, injury-plagued first season in Washington with expiring contracts for Adam Humphries, DeAndre Carter and Cam Sims, and you have a significant need opposite Terry McLaurin at the WR position.
Biggest needs: Edge, OL, WR
Week 18 opponent: vs. Saints
DP: The Falcons have to get stronger inside the trenches if they’re going to turn things around before Matt Ryan‘s career is over. They’ve now had four straight losing seasons, and do not have a win this season against a team that currently has a record above .500.
Biggest needs: QB, LB, Edge
Week 18 opponent: vs. Chiefs
CG: Now officially eliminated from the postseason, the Broncos can do no worse than the middle of Round 1 in the draft order. But in closing the season against a Chiefs team still pursuing a No. 1 seed, they’ll likely finish 7-10 and draft higher than that.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, S
Week 18 opponent: vs. Bengals
CG: The Browns are the only team in the AFC this week with a defensive position for all three top needs. Wide receiver is a concern, to be sure, but it’s not a difficult position to reinforce, and Cleveland is well-set elsewhere on offense.
Biggest needs: CB, Edge, LB
Week 18 opponent: vs. Bears
DP: The Vikings haven’t picked inside the top 10 since 2014, when they selected LB Anthony Barr. Coincidentally, Minnesota might be replacing Barr, a free-agent-to-be, this offseason.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Dolphins’ record: 8-8 (.457)
Dolphins’ Week 18 opponent: vs. Patriots
See the playoff teams section for analysis of the Eagles’ and Dolphins’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, OT
Week 18 opponent: at Falcons
DP: The Saints have never ranked lower than 12th in points and yards per game during the Sean Payton era (since 2006). This season, they might not crack the top 20 in either category. The challenge this offseason will be to get the offense back on track.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, LB
Week 18 opponent: vs. Steelers
CG: Versatile offensive lineman Patrick Mekari, who had been ticketed for restricted free agency after the season, got a three-year contract extension last week. The offensive line remains a Ravens need, but it was a no-brainer to keep a guy who can play any position up front.
Biggest needs: QB, OL, LB
Week 18 opponent: at Ravens
CG: Unless the Steelers make a big free-agency splash, moving down in the draft for extra picks might be wise. Their draft needs could run deep, from everything listed above to cornerbacks and perhaps a wide receiver as well.
Biggest needs: DT, OL, WR
Week 18 opponent: vs. Chargers
CG: After the season, the Raiders are due to have a whopping 25 unrestricted free agents on the loose, plus quite a few more who fall into other free-agent categories. Interior linemen on both sides of the ball populate the list more than any other position.
Biggest needs: Edge, S, LB
Week 18 opponent: vs. Cowboys
DP: With a playoff spot locked up, the Eagles are set to be the first team since the 2013 Vikings to make three first-round picks coming off a postseason appearance. Minnesota’s trio that year: Sharrif Floyd (23rd overall), Xavier Rhodes (25th) and Cordarrelle Patterson (29th).
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
49ers’ record: 9-7 (.494)
49ers’ Week 18 opponent: at Rams
Dolphins’ biggest needs: OL, Edge, LB
CG: The Miami defense keyed a just-snapped seven-game win streak with some exciting young talents on that side of the ball. Consider edge rusher to be a distant No. 2 on the Dolphins’ needs list; shoring up the offensive front is a runaway top priority.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers’ needs.
Biggest needs: DT, LB, WR
Week 18 opponent: at Raiders
Colts’ record: 9-7 (.512)
Colts’ Week 18 opponent: at Jaguars
See three picks above for analysis of the Eagles’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Colts’ needs.
Biggest needs: DB, OL, LB
Week 18 opponent: at Browns
CG: Linebacker play for the Bengals hasn’t been great, and the way the team’s offense is playing overall, tight end is less of a concern. As such, linebackers replace tight ends this week on Cincinnati’s needs list.
Biggest needs: DB, LB, WR
Week 18 opponent: at Dolphins
CG: The Patriots’ 2022 picks are according to form from Rounds 1-4, but trades have made a mess of things thereafter, starting with a fifth-round hole from a shrewd trade with the Raiders for Trent Brown.
Biggest needs: DL, OL, WR
Week 18 opponent: vs. Jets
CG: At the heart of the Bills’ offensive line needs is the guard position, where no Bills player ranks in the league’s top 50, per PFF. Fortunately for Buffalo, guard isn’t a premium position. In 2017, guards were passed over for the entire first round.
Biggest needs: OL, LB, TE
Week 18 opponent: at Texans
CG: Wide receiver, along with tight end, could need some offseason addressing. Multiple backups are playing on expiring contracts, and at the top of the depth chart, it’s fair to wonder how much Julio Jones has left in the tank. A.J. Brown‘s deal expires after next season.
Biggest needs: DB, DL, TE
Week 18 opponent: at Eagles
DP: The only tight ends the Cowboys have under contract beyond this season are Blake Jarwin, who has missed 25 games over the past two seasons due to injury, and Sean McKeon, who has four catches in 22 career games.
Biggest needs: CB, DL, Edge
Week 18 opponent: vs. Seahawks
DP: Pro Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones is a half sack away from posting double-digit sacks for the seventh time in his career. The 10th-year veteran won’t be easily replaced if he departs in free agency this offseason.
Biggest needs: DB, OT, WR
Week 18 opponent: at Broncos
CG: Apart from the above needs, some help for Chris Jones on the interior defensive line could be in order. Jarran Reed and Derrick Nnadi will be free agents, and if the Chiefs want the flexibility to continue giving Jones some action at defensive end, they’ll need the personnel to hold up inside.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams’ record: 12-4 (.475)
Rams’ Week 18 opponent: vs. 49ers
See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Lions’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams’ needs.
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 18 opponent: vs. Panthers
DP: Of the Bucs’ top five players in receptions, only Mike Evans is under contract beyond this season. And it looks like at least one of those players — Antonio Brown — isn’t coming back.
Biggest needs: WR, Edge, CB
Week 18 opponent: at Lions
DP: Even if Davante Adams does return on the franchise tag, the pass-catcher need remains, even if it seems more like a luxury than a true need for a team as talented as Green Bay. Marquez Valdes-Scantling — third on the team in receiving yards and the Packers’ leader in yards per catch — is also a pending free agent.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK GIANTS
Biggest needs: OL, WR, CB
Week 18 opponent: at Vikings
DP: The 2022 first-round pick the Giants acquired from the Bears was positioned in the top five just a couple weeks ago. Chicago has won consecutive games against last-place teams from the NFC West and East, respectively, and can’t be counted out next week against the Vikings. That pick is in danger of falling out of the top 10, pushing the first selection the Bears hold (in Round 2) down, too.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Biggest needs: OL, WR, DB
Week 18 opponent: at Jaguars
CG: With their first-round pick now lost to the Eagles from the Carson Wentz trade, the Colts’ likely win over the reeling Jaguars this week would clinch a playoff berth for Indianapolis, and further push their first selection back deeper into Round 2.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, LB
Week 18 opponent: vs. 49ers
DP: Do the Rams think about drafting a QB to develop behind Matthew Stafford, who has been plagued by turnovers of late? They haven’t spent a pick on a QB since selecting Jared Goff first overall in 2016, and Stafford’s contract is due to expire after next season.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: CB, OL, WR
Week 18 opponent: at Rams
DP: Reinforcements for the offensive line will be in order this offseason with Laken Tomlinson and Tom Compton due to reach free agency in March, one year remaining on Mike McGlinchey‘s rookie deal and Alex Mack entering his late 30s.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Biggest needs: DB, OL, TE
Week 18 opponent: at Cardinals
DP: The Seahawks have some big questions to sort out in 2022, including up front on offense. Their top left tackle (Duane Brown), center (Ethan Pocic) and right tackle (Brandon Shell) are in a walk year.
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