2021 NFL Draft order: Eagles No. 10; Patriots in top 15

This is a look at the first-round order for the 2021 NFL Draft heading into Week 7 of the 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.

Biggest needs: WR, edge rusher, CB

This week’s game: vs. Bills

The Jets became the first team to be shut out this season. Prior to Sunday, the last team to be shut out in an NFL game was … the Jets. Aside from a spot or two on both the O-line and D-line, there are needs everywhere you look on this roster.

Biggest needs: QB, OT, CB

This week’s game: at Chargers

The good vibes from Jacksonville’s Week 1 upset of the Colts are a distant memory now. After five straight losses, the Jaguars are now in position to land one of the best quarterbacks in the draft, and that’s not an opportunity they can pass up with Gardner Minshew trending in the wrong direction.

Biggest needs: QB, WR, interior OL

This week’s game: vs. Cowboys

Kyle Allen might be the best option at quarterback for Washington right now, but he’s 0-8 in his last eight starts dating back to last season and had two costly turnovers in a one-point loss to the Giants on Sunday. This team isn’t going to get out of the basement — even in a bad division — until it finds some solid QB play.

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, WR

This week’s game: at Eagles

Darius Slayton is the only Giants player with a touchdown catch this season (he has three of them). Unless Big Blue is going to call it quits on Danny Dimes after two seasons, it has to give him more targets who can put the ball in the paint.

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, S, CB

This week’s game: vs. Lions

It’s going to take more than a win — as impressive as it was — over the sputtering Vikings to beat back the time to tear it down narratives surrounding this squad, but the Falcons at least have a chance to string some victories together. There isn’t a team that currently has a winning record on the schedule until late November.

Biggest needs: OL, DT, QB

This week’s game: On bye

It’s highly unlikely that the Vikings are going to part with Kirk Cousins this offseason given the cap hit they would take by making the move, but they at least have to give themselves a better alternative at the position than Sean Mannion, the only other quarterback on the 53-man roster right now.


Texans’ record: 1-5 (.647)

This week’s Texans game: vs. Packers

See Pick No. 15 for analysis of the Dolphins’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Texans’ needs.

Biggest needs: Interior OL, TE, WR

This week’s game: vs. Jaguars

Rebuilding an offensive line that ranked among the bottom third of the league entering the team’s Week 6 bye might be a necessity. Four of the team’s Week 5 starters up front are ticketed for free agency this offseason. 

Biggest needs: OT, WR, CB

This week’s game: vs. Browns

The Bengals presumably will have Trae Waynes — who is on I.R. with a pectoral injury — starting at one corner spot in 2021, but who will be playing opposite him? The team’s top three corners this season (William Jackson III, Mackensie Alexander and LeShaun Sims) have deals that expire in March.

Biggest needs: WR, OG, LB

This week’s game: vs. Giants

No player has been sacked more than Carson Wentz this season (25). Injuries have played a big role in the offensive line’s demise in 2020, but Philly is going to have to do some retooling up front this offseason with soon-to-be 39-year-old Jason Peters in a contract year and one year left on soon-to-be 33-year-old Jason Kelce’s deal. 

Biggest needs: OT, CB, S

This week’s game: vs. Chiefs

The offensive line becomes less of a concern if Denver is able to get a long-term deal done with impending free agent Garett Bolles. It’s a little more complicated in the secondary, where Justin Simmons is playing on the franchise tag, A.J. Bouye is due $13.5 million with no dead money in 2021 and Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson are a year away from free agency.

Biggest needs: WR, DL, LB

This week’s game: at Falcons

Is this when Detroit goes on a run that ensures its streak of years picking inside the top 10 doesn’t extend to three? Between now and December, the Lions have only one team on the schedule that currently owns a winning record (Colts in Week 8), and four of those upcoming opponents have a 1-5 record right now.

Biggest needs: Interior OL, DL, WR

This week’s game: vs. 49ers

There’s no doubt COVID-19 disruptions have played a role in New England’s shaky start to the season, but it’s also clear that there’s not enough juice on offense, especially at wide receiver. This team has produced only one TD catch by a WR through five games.

Biggest needs: OL, CB, S

This week’s game: at Patriots

The offensive line bounced back in a big way against the Rams, but it remains at the top of the needs list given the long-term questions about the group. Most notably: Will the Niners be able to work out a long-term deal for left tackle Trent Williams, who reportedly cannot be franchise-tagged in 2021? Both of the team’s top centers are in a contract year, too.

Biggest needs: WR, ILB, interior OL

This week’s game: On bye

The Dolphins have a nice tandem at receiver in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, but adding a guy who can take the top off the defense could play a big role in taking this offense to the next level.

Biggest needs: OT, interior OL, WR

This week’s game: at Saints

Teddy Bridgewater faced a season-high 36.4 percent pressure rate against the Bears and, not coincidentally, had his worst game of the year. While the Carolina defense continues to play well, Week 6 was an example of why offensive positions lead the needs list. 

Biggest needs: QB, S, DL

This week’s game: vs. Panthers

The Saints haven’t spent a first-round pick on a quarterback since 1981, when they selected Illinois’ Dave Wilson in the supplemental draft. Every other team has picked at least one QB in Round 1 since then. Drew Brees, while clearly diminished at 41 years old, continues to show he can still be effective, but it might be time to snap that streak.

Biggest needs: DT, OL, S

This week’s game: vs. Buccaneers

Another big challenge for a leaky Raiders secondary awaits in Week 7 with Tom Brady and Co. coming to town. Las Vegas hasn’t neglected the last level of its defense, spending a first-round pick on a DB in each of the last two years, but it likely will need to go back to the well at safety in 2021. The team doesn’t have a player graded among the top 70 players at the position, per PFF.

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, S

This week’s game: at Washington Football Team

Here’s a scary thought: The historically bad Dallas defense can’t stop anyone and it still has 10 games to play. A less scary but still troubling thought: This team could win its division with a sub-.500 record, which would mean the Cowboys wouldn’t draft any earlier than 19th overall barring a trade.

Biggest needs: CB, edge rusher, interior OL

This week’s game: vs. Seahawks

We’ll be fascinated to see the matchup next week between the Seahawks’ receivers and the Cardinals’ corners. Can Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick — both due to become free agents this offseason — rise to the challenge against an offense firing on all cylinders?


Rams’ record: 4-2 (.347)

This week’s Rams game: vs. Bears

See Pick No. 2 for analysis of the Jaguars’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams’ needs.

Biggest needs: CB, edge rusher, OT

This week’s game: On bye

Keep an eye on the Colts’ defensive line. They made the splashy trade for DeForest Buckner in March, immediately signing him to a long-term deal, but the team’s other three starters up front are due to reach free agency in 2021.

Biggest needs: LB, CB, edge rusher

This week’s game: at Bengals

While Cleveland’s offensive impotency drew the headlines on Sunday, this defense now ranks a putrid 30th in the league in points allowed per game (31.2). There’s not a lot to build around long-term on that side of the ball other than Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. 

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DT, WR

This week’s game: at Raiders

This defense is cooking, but difficult decisions await GM Jason Licht with Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh and DPOY candidate Lavonte David playing in the final year of their deals.

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, CB, OT

This week’s game: at Jets

Coach Sean McDermott tried to inject some life into his defensive line by making DE Trent Murphy and DT Harrison Phillips healthy scratches for Monday night’s game, but he certainly didn’t get the result he was seeking. The Bills sacked Patrick Mahomes only once and were bulldozed by the Chiefs’ ground-and-pound strategy.

Biggest needs: WR, interior OL, CB

This week’s game: at Texans

Aaron Rodgers was hit 13 times on Sunday (tied for second most in his career) and faced pressure on 41.4 percent of his dropbacks, per PFF. It was a brutal reminder that investing in the O-line is going to be essential for Green Bay this offseason.

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DL, interior OL

This week’s game: On bye

Where’s the edge rush going to come from next season if 2019 third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson (3.5 sacks in 20 career games) doesn’t blossom? The Ravens have racked up 13 sacks over the past two weeks (more than 15 teams have all season) by getting pass-rushing contributions from every level of the defense, but Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee are due to hit the market next year.

Biggest needs: QB, OG, S

This week’s game: at Rams

Nick Foles keeps getting worse, and the Bears keep winning. This is the unicorn of the 2020 season, a 5-1 team with a screaming need for a quarterback.

Biggest needs: Interior OL, WR, S

This week’s game: at Broncos

The Chiefs benched starting center Austin Reiter and lost right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to injury, yet they still ran right over the Buffalo Bills in the rain. It’s likely there will be holes to fill on the interior with Reiter, Kelechi Osemele and Mike Remmers due to hit the market in 2021, but Kansas City’s display of O-line depth on Monday night was something to behold.

Biggest needs: Edge rusher, TE, WR

This week’s game: vs. Steelers

Will the offseason bring some new weaponry for red-hot Ryan Tannehill? Of the Titans’ top seven pass catchers through Week 6, just three are under contract beyond this season, and only one (TE Anthony Firkser) of the four impending free agents can be kept in the fold with a restricted free agent tender.


Seahawks’ record: 5-0 (.310)

This week’s Seahawks game: at Cardinals

See Pick No. 1 for analysis of the Jets’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Seahawks’ needs.

Biggest needs: OT, edge rusher, CB

This week’s game: at Titans

To give you an idea of the reinforcements that will be needed on the offensive line in the next year or two, eight O-linemen have started at least one game for the Steelers this season. Only one of those eight players — 2020 fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson — is signed beyond next season.



Biggest needs: WR, CB, edge rusher

This week’s game: vs. Packers

Houston’s defense gave up a whopping 601 yards to the Titans on Sunday and allowed Tennessee to score touchdowns on three of its final four possessions in a 42-36 overtime loss. It has to be a nightmare for Texans fans that these issues exist yet their team doesn’t have a first- or second-round pick in next year’s draft.


Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, LB

This week’s game: vs. Bears

Inside linebacker works its way onto the needs list this week with no Rams player rated among the top 70 players at the position by PFF.


Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, CB

This week’s game: at Cardinals

This squad didn’t have a player record more than four sacks in 2019, and two sacks qualify as the team lead five weeks into this season. Sacks might not be everything, but trying to win games with one of the league’s worst pass rushes year after year seems like a strange strategy. 

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter @TheDan_Parr.

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