2021 NFL Draft Order: Updated Top 18 Picks After Week 17

Week 17 of the NFL regular season completed the playoff pictures and crystalized the draft order for the 18 teams that have not punched their postseason ticket.

There was no change in the top two spots of the draft, where the Jacksonville Jaguars had already secured the first overall pick and with it, presumably, Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Meanwhile, the New York Jets arrived into the season finale already guaranteed to pick second in the 2021 draft, although ESPN reported on Sunday that the franchise was expected to make a "big trade this offseason."

While there's no indication of what the trade will consist of, the Jets will not be short of offers should they opt to trade their second overall pick to the highest bidder. Alternatively, could the Jets draft Justin Fields after the Ohio State quarterback led the Buckeyes over an impressive victory against Lawrence and Clemson in the semifinal of the College Football Playoff?

The Jets used their third overall pick to select Sam Darnold in the 2018 draft, but with the former USC quarterback showing worrying signs of regression this season, they may consider their options. Behind the Jets and the Jaguars, the Miami Dolphins were the main beneficiaries of the Houston Texans' late-season slump. The Texans lost their last five games to finish with a 4-12 record, which earned them the third overall pick. That pick, however, has long belonged to the Dolphins as a result of the trade that took Leremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills and a fourth-round pick to Houston in exchange for a pair of first-round picks and a second-round pick.

As a result, Miami will pick third in the draft despite narrowly missing out on the playoffs after finishing 10-6, which landed it the 18th overall pick. The Atlanta Falcons will pick fourth after losing their last five games to finish 4-12, followed by the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles, which both finished 4-11-1.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers looks to pass in the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lawrence is widely expected to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Kevin C. Cox/Getty

The Eagles ended the season on a three-game losing streak but their loss against the Washington Football Team in the season finale on Sunday attracted particular criticism after Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts from the game in the fourth quarter with his team down by three points and turned to third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who hadn't taken a snap since Week 17 of the 2018 season. Had Philadelphia won the game, it would have fallen to ninth in the draft order.

The Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will pick following the Eagles after finishing 5-11, followed by a trio of 6-10 teams that comprises NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, as well as last season's Super Bowl runner-ups San Francisco 49ers.

The Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings will be the 13th and 14th team on the clock respectively after ending the season 7-9, the same record as the New England Patriots, who have missed out on a playoff berth for the first time in 11 years.

The Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders, meanwhile, round up the top 18 after finishing 8-8 this season.

NFL Draft order

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)
  • New York Jets (2-14)
  • Houston Texans (4-12)
  • Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)
  • Detroit Lions (5-11)
  • Carolina Panthers (5-11)
  • Denver Broncos (5-11)
  • Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
  • New York Giants (6-10)
  • San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)
  • Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
  • New England Patriots (7-9)
  • Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)
  • Miami Dolphins (10-6)

The draft order for the 14 playoff teams will be determined by their performances in the postseason, with the winner of Super Bowl LV picking last in the first round and the runner-up of Super Bowl picking second-last.

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