The offseason is traditionally the portion of every sport’s calendar when hope springs eternal for both teams and fans. The NFL, with its well-publicized free agency and draft periods, is certainly no exception.
After COVID-19 turned the 2020 edition of the player selection lottery into an all-virtual event, this year’s NFL Draft is scheduled, at present, for a return to relative normalcy. It is set to unfold on location, April 29-May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio.
With events like the Senior Bowl and Super Bowl progressively in the rearview mirror, prospect rankings and mock drafts are already picking up plenty of steam.
Below, you’ll find the updated draft order and the top needs of each of the teams picking in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 draft order
|Pick||Team||2020 Record||Draft Needs|
|1||Jacksonville Jaguars||1-15||QB, DL, TE|
|2||New York Jets||2-14||QB, WR, CB|
|3||Miami Dolphins (from Houston)||10-6||WR, OL, S|
|4||Atlanta Falcons||4-12||RB, LB, QB|
|5||Cincinnati Bengals||4-11-1||DL, LB, TE|
|6||Philadelphia Eagles||4-11-1||OL, WR, RB|
|7||Detroit Lions||5-11||S, DL, OL|
|8||Carolina Panthers||5-11||TE, DL, CB|
|9||Denver Broncos||5-11||DL, CB, RB|
|10||Dallas Cowboys||6-10||DL, LB, OL|
|11||New York Giants||6-10||OL, WR, LB|
|12||San Francisco 49ers||6-10||LB, OL, CB|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers||7-9||WR, TE, LB|
|14||Minnesota Vikings||7-9||CB, DL, WR|
|15||New England Patriots||7-9||DL, WR, QB|
|16||Arizona Cardinals||8-8||WR, TE, OL|
|17||Las Vegas Raiders||8-8||DL, LB, WR|
|18||Miami Dolphins||10-6||WR, OL, S|
|19||Washington Football Team||7-9||WR, OL, QB|
|20||Chicago Bears||8-8||QB, WR, RB|
|21||Indianapolis Colts||11-5||QB, WR, CB|
|22||Tennessee Titans||11-5||DL, LB, CB|
|23||New York Jets (from Seattle)||2-14||QB, WR, CB|
|24||Pittsburgh Steelers||12-4||OL, RB, WR|
|25||Jacksonville Jaguars (from LA Rams)||1-15||QB, DL, TE|
|26||Cleveland Browns||11-5||S, LB, WR|
|27||Baltimore Ravens||11-5||WR, S, CB|
|28||New Orleans Saints||12-4||TE, WR, OLB|
|29||Green Bay Packers||13-3||RB, WR, DL|
|30||Buffalo Bills||13-3||RB, OL, LB|
|31||Kansas City Chiefs||14-2||LB, WR, S|
|32||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11-5||RB, CB, WR|
2021 NFL Draft odds
Stay tuned for NFL Draft betting odds, including:
- First Drafted: QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, CB
- No. 1 overall pick
- No. 2 overall pick
- No. 3 overall pick
- Over/under draft number for top players
- And more!
Best NFL Draft betting sites
2021 NFL Draft prospects
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Seen as one of the most “foolproof” quarterback prospects in recent memory. No true holes in his game and brings elite size at 6-foot-6. Considered a lock for the top overall pick and an ideal fit for the Jaguars in that spot.
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Possesses above-average arm, accuracy and football IQ and comes off spectacular junior season during which he compiled 3,692 passing yards, a 33:3 TD:INT and 10 rushing touchdowns. Was not quite as productive across 18 games in his first two seasons, but is widely considered the second-best QB prospect behind Lawrence.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Put together one spectacular season with the Tigers, a 2019 sophomore campaign during which he produced an 84-1,780-20 line across 14 games, before sitting out 2020 to focus on preparing for an NFL career. Chase has only average size at 6-feet, 208 pounds, but he’s extremely explosive and considered by many analysts to still be the top WR in this year’s class.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Considered 1-A to Chase in many draft circles after a prolific Crimson Tide career that saw him produce a combined 185-3,112-37 line over his last two season. Smith also became the first receiver to garner the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard in 1991, and despite some standard concerns about his 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, his abundant collection of positives make him a likely top-10 pick.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Smith’s Crimson Tide position mate is similarly slight in size (5-foot-10, 182 pounds) but possesses even better speed. Waddle was nowhere near as productive as Smith at the college level, but with YPCs of between 17.0 and 21.1 during his three college campaigns, his ability to strain a defense is unquestioned.
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Likely to be the third QB taken behind Wilson, Fields brings impressive size and athleticism at 6-foot-3, 228 pounds. His stock may have arguably been even higher after a junior season during which he racked up 3,757 total yards and 51 total touchdowns while committing just three turnovers. However, his junior 2020 campaign included a personal-best 70.2 percent completion rate and 9.2 YPA, and the 21-year-old’s mobility gives him an extra, coveted dimension.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Considered a prototypical pass-catching tight end with plenty of room for development at just 20 years of age, Pitts compiled 97 receptions, 1,499 yards and 17 touchdowns over his last two seasons in Florida. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, the raw tools to eventually evolve into a formidable blocker are seemingly there, his routes and downfield chops are expected to pay immediate dividends.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Widely considered likely to be the first offensive lineman off the board despite sitting out the 2020 season due to COVID precautions. Sewell left a lasting impression with a 2019 sophomore campaign that saw him garner the Outland and Morris trophies, as well as First-Team All-Pac-12 and Unanimous All-American honors. With a 6-foot-6, 325-pound frame and elite athleticism for a left tackle, he’s also considered a top-10 prospect.
How to bet on the NFL draft
In the coming months, more and more prop bets will be released to give bettors action on the 2021 NFL Draft. The most common bet type is for who will be the First Overall Pick, but due to the widespread expectation of Lawrence having this honor locked up, bettors should be willing to look elsewhere rather than chasing the unlikely longshots here.
Bet options will focus on the top prospects, especially at the skill positions. Their potential landing spots, as well as their draft spot, will be available betting options by early April. Additionally, bets will separate players by position and look at who will be the first QB, WR or RB to be taken.
People will also be able to bet on how many of a certain position will be selected in the first round, or overall. Prospects may also be pitted head-to-head for who is the first to be selected.
How NFL draft odds work
Now that you know what to bet for the 2021 NFL Draft, you need to know how to bet. Like with betting the moneyline or the spread for games, you’re generally deciding between only two possible outcomes, either the Over or Under on draft position or the number of a certain position to be selected. The biggest difference is in picking from select groups of players to be chosen with the No. 1 pick or to be the top player selected at their position.
When betting a prop such as who will be the First Overall Pick, each option listed is given odds based on their likelihood to go first overall. As noted above, Trevor Lawrence is a heavy favorite and has odds of -3335 at DraftKings Sportsbook. This means a $100 bet would return a profit of just $3. These are very low, or short odds. Unless you have a large bankroll to support making big wagers, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
Be sure to shop around, as the odds for each player can vary considerably from sportsbook to sportsbook.
2021 NFL Draft details
Where is the 2021 NFL Draft?
The 2021 NFL draft was originally set to take place in Cleveland, Ohio. However, due to the threat of coronavirus across the world, the location of the draft is still up in the air. It could be held online as it was in 2020.
When is the 2021 NFL Draft?
Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, May 1
- Round 1: Thursday beginning at 8 p.m. ET
- Rounds 2 and 3: Friday beginning at 7 p.m. ET
- Rounds 4-7: Saturday beginning at 12 p.m. ET
How to watch the 2021 NFL draft
The entirety of the 2021 NFL Draft will be broadcast across ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network, as well as streamed on NFL.com for the third straight year.
How the NFL Draft works
Determining draft order
The draft order for spots 1 through 20 is determined by the reverse order of the standings at the conclusion of the regular season. Barring trades (discussed below) the team which finishes last will make the first pick of each round, while the Super Bowl champions will make the final selection of each round.
Spots 21 through 32 go to playoff teams, with the order being determined by which round teams are eliminated from the postseason, plus their regular-season record. The Super Bowl champion is given the final pick of each round, so long as they haven’t made any trades.
Teams which finish with the same regular-season record (i.e. 4-12, 10-6) will have their order decided by tiebreakers, based on the first of these scenarios which results in the teams having a different record:
- Head-to-head, if applicable
- Best record against shared opponents (minimum of four)
- Strength of victory over all games
- Best league ranking in points scored and points allowed
- Best point differential
- Net touchdowns
- Coin flip
The teams involved in the tiebreakers will alternate which team chooses first in each round, with the tiebreaker awarding the higher pick for Round 1.
Compensatory draft picks
Based on the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, the league can assign up to a total of 32 “compensatory free agent” picks. These allow teams that have lost free agents to recoup losses through the draft. Picks are made at the ends of the third through seventh rounds. Each team can have as many as four additional picks, and these have been eligible to be traded since 2017.
Each team has up to 10 minutes to make its pick in the first round. That time drops to seven minutes for Round 2, five minutes for Rounds 3 through 6 and four minutes for Round 7. If the clock expires before a team makes its selection, they are able to make the selection later but the next team is able to select the desired player.
All draft picks are eligible to be traded in exchange for other picks, future picks and active NFL players at any point up until that draft slot. Both teams must phone in a trade with the same information for league approval when trades are made during the draft.
Players are draft eligible if they have been out of high school for at least three years and have used up their college football eligibility before the start of the next college season. They’re eligible only in the year after they finished their college eligibility. Underclassmen and players who graduated before using their full college eligibility may request league approval for early entry to the draft.
Players who had their eligibility change following the given year’s NFL draft are eligible for the supplemental draft in July. Teams must bid on players by saying which round they’d select a given player and if no other team bids on the same player, his right are awarded to that team, or they’re awarded to the highest bidding team. The team will lose a pick in the same round in the ensuing year’s draft.
NFL draft history
Over the last five NFL drafts, a quarterback was selected first overall four times. Browns DE Myles Garrett in 2017 was the lone exception. The fewest number of quarterbacks taken in the first round was two (2015) and the most were the five taken in the 2018 draft. To date, six quarterbacks selected with a No. 1 pick have led their team to a Super Bowl title. The most quarterbacks selected in a single draft since it was cut to seven rounds was in 2004 when 17 QBs were selected.