The Jacksonville Jaguars are arguably the second-biggest winners this season.
When the NFL season came to a close after Week 17, the Jaguars — losers of 15 straight games — locked in their place atop the 2021 NFL Draft board. Rounding out the top-five picks behind them are the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Jags are expected to make Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence their franchise quarterback with the first overall pick — if he decides to leave school ahead of his senior season, as expected. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, until the Jets decide on the future of third-year signal caller Sam Darnold.
Here’s what the first 18 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft look like, with plenty of time for speculation and action ahead of April 29 in Cleveland.
The order of the final 14 spots of the draft will be decided by the playoff results.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Needs: QB, OT, CB
After years of uncertainty under center, the Jags can finally cross franchise QB off their wish list.
2. New York Jets
Needs: QB, EDGE, CB
How the Jets handle Sam Darnold this offseason will indicate their plan for the No. 2 pick.
3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans)
Needs: WR, OL
It’s all about getting help for their top pick in 2020, Tua Tagovailoa.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Needs: QB, EDGE, LB
If they can find Matt Ryan’s future replacement, this is a good spot to do it.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Needs: OL, EDGE, CB
Protecting Joe Burrow should be a priority, though rebuilding the defense is a tall task, too.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
Needs: LB, OL, CB
Things are about to get torn down in Philly, and fixing the pass rush is a good place to start.
7. Detroit Lions
Needs: QB, WR, LB
It might be time to replace Matt Stafford, and possibly upgrade the weapons for a new signal caller.
8. Carolina Panthers
Needs: QB, OL, LB
If one of the top QB prospects fall into their lap, the Panthers have to pounce.
9. Denver Broncos
Needs: CB, DL, OT
An inconsistent group of cornerbacks makes this unit ripe for upgrade.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Needs: DB, OL
The Dallas secondary left a lot of be desired, as did the rest of their defense.
Needs: EDGE, WR, CB
The Giants’ piecemeal pass-rush could use a centerpiece.
12. San Francisco 49ers
Needs: OL, CB, QB
Trent Williams’ looming free agency makes offensive tackle an even bigger need.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Needs: OL, CB
On a team that showed some promise, protecting electric rookie QB Justin Herbert is a premium.
14. Minnesota Vikings
Needs: EDGE, OT
With 14 picks in the 2021 draft, the Vikings can address pressure issues on both sides of the ball.
15. New England Patriots
Needs: QB, WR
A long-overdue makeover of the receiving corps starts now.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Needs: CB, WR
Patrick Peterson needs a running mate in the Arizona secondary.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Needs: LB, DL
The Raiders’ linebacker reboot in 2020 didn’t go so well. The draft presents another chance to fix it.
18. Miami Dolphins
Needs: WR, OL
More help for Tagovailoa.