Updated 2021 NFL Draft Order Following Week 16 Results

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2020

A Jacksonville Jaguars fan hold up a sign hoping that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawerence will be the first pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

We have one more week left in the 2020-21 NFL season, but two of the league's teams have clinched their draft positions for next spring. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets are locked in at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the 2021 NFL draft order. 

The Jaguars clinched the first overall pick when the Jets won their second straight game Sunday, beating the Cleveland Browns 23-16. Jacksonville, meanwhile, has lost 14 straight. Maybe the Jets really like Sam Darnold...or Justin Fields. 

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Texans to bump themselves out of the No. 3 spot.  

Looking at the projected 2021 NFL draft order, a few things stand out immediately. First, how much the balance of power in the NFC has shifted.

The Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers—teams that have represented their conference in the Super Bowl within the last five years—would all be picking in the top 10. 

Recent AFC Super Bowl contenders Denver and New England, meanwhile, are set to pick in the top 15. The New England Patriots haven't had a draft selection that high since 2008, when they selected Jerod Mayo at No. 10 overall, and have missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Let's take a closer look at the 2021 NFL draft order as it stands after Week 16. 


Current 2021 NFL Draft Order

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14)

2. New York Jets (2-13)

3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU) (4-11)

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-11)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)

6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-9-1)

7. Detroit Lions (5-10)

8. New York Giants (5-10)

9. Carolina Panthers (5-10)

10. Denver Broncos (5-10)

11. Dallas Cowboys (5-9)

12. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9)

13. Minnesota Vikings (6-9)

14. San Francisco 49ers (6-9)

15. New England Patriots (6-8)

16. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)

17. Arizona Cardinals (8-7)

18. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

19. Washington Football Team (6-9)

20. Chicago Bears (8-7)

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) 

22. Cleveland Browns (10-5)

23. Miami Dolphins (10-5)

24. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)

26. Tennessee Titans (10-4)

27. New York Jets (via SEA)

28. Buffalo Bills (11-3)

29. New Orleans Saints (11-4)

30. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)

31. Green Bay Packers (11-3)

32. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)

Draft order via Tankathon


Now that the first two selections of the 2021 NFL draft are set, and assuming neither the Jacksonville Jaguars nor the New York Jets trade out of their current positions, we have a fairly good idea who the first two players drafted next year will be. 

Both Jacksonville and New York are in the market for quarterbacks. At No. 1 overall, you can almost write it in ink that the Jaguars will go for Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, the near-consensus first overall pick. 

Right behind him, the Jets could go after Ohio State Buckeyes signal-caller Justin Fields. Or perhaps they trade out or select another player altogether; as ESPN's Dan Graziano pointed out, Darnold is still young and has the potential for growth. 

Get Up @GetUpESPN

If the Jets end up with the No. 2 pick, should they draft Justin Fields? Or keep Sam Darnold? @DanGrazianoESPN: "Darnold is six months younger than Joe Burrow! It's not crazy to think that there's growth potential there." https://t.co/Ce2DwtzFU8

As for how the draft order could get shaken up in Week 17, plenty of teams are still fighting for their playoff lives.

The Chicago Bears are currently projected to be a wild-card team and pick at No. 20 overall. They control their own playoff destiny after trampling the Jaguars 41-17 in Week 16. But a loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 or an Arizona Cardinals win against the Rams would keep Chicago out and bump them up higher in the draft order. 

The Falcons are a team that will be paying close attention to the Week 17 games (and could drastically affect their own draft position depending on how their bout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers goes). Depending on what happens in the NFL's final week, the Falcons could end up with a draft pick ranging from No. 3 to No. 11 overall. 

Mike Conti @MikeConti929

Update: Falcons are now currently in the 3rd overall pick after Cincinnati's win this afternoon. They can pick anywhere from 3 to 11 depending on next week's results. https://t.co/0A2kW5F7e5

When the regular season concludes next Sunday, we'll be able to lock in the first 18 picks in the 2021 NFL draft. Until then, buckle up; there's plenty of movement to come.