With the NFL’s 100th season officially in the books, the order for the 2020 NFL Draft is set. Now the work of figuring out who will fill those slots takes center stage, with the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on the horizon. Trades and the awarding of compensatory picks will alter the board, but in the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LIV, here’s the current draft order when the first round kicks off on April 23 in Las Vegas.
NOTE: The order is determined by record, using strength of schedule as a tiebreaker. The order for playoff teams (21-32) is determined by the results of postseason play.
Click here to see the initial 2020 mock drafts from NFL.com analysts Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks and Lance Zierlein.
Record: 2-14 (.553 strength of schedule)
Biggest needs: QB, OL, front-seven playmaker
Cincy can’t mess this one up (CC: @ColdTakesExposed). Find Andy Dalton’s successor (you know who) and rebuild an offensive line that was one of the league’s worst in 2019. Getting a healthy Jonah Williams back is a start on the latter.
Record: 3-13 (.502)
Biggest needs: OL, pass catcher, defensive playmaker
Everyone is expecting Washington to address the third need mentioned above by picking Chase Young here, and that’s the right play here if he’s still available. This squad doesn’t have another pick until Round 3, so what’s the plan for upgrading Dwayne Haskins’ supporting cast?
Record: 3-12-1 (.506)
Biggest needs: CB, edge rusher, OL
Trade down, collect picks, patch up a horrendous defense — seems like a fine strategy for a D that functioned as a turnstile for much of 2019. Then again, is anything more important to this team’s success than keeping Matthew Stafford upright?
Record: 4-12 (.473)
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, OT, DB
If the top corner in the draft falls into their lap here, it would be hard for them to pass him up. Barring that scenario, Dave Gettleman should have his gaze fixed on the edges, whether it’s a player who can get after the opposing quarterback or protect his own.
Record: 5-11 (.484)
Biggest needs: QB, OL, edge rusher
With three first-round picks, the Dolphins are holding the keys to the 2020 NFL Draft. Yes, the need for a long-term answer under center sticks out like a dorsal fin, but you know what else does? The league’s worst offensive line.
Record: 5-11 (.514)
Biggest needs: QB, OL, CB
There will be a glaring hole at tight end if pending free agent Hunter Henry doesn’t re-up with the Bolts, but Tom Telesco’s priority this offseason is as clear cut as it gets if the team really is ready to wave goodbye to Philip Rivers.
Record: 5-11 (.549)
Biggest needs: DB, DL, OL
Where do we start for a franchise that is in full transformation mode? QB rises to the top of the list if Cam Newton isn’t back for a team that already has to replace Luke Kuechly and Greg Olsen. Don’t forget that the Panthers have seven other defensive starters due to hit the market this offseason. There’s a lot to be sorted out in Carolina.
Record: 5-10-1 (.529)
Biggest needs: OL, front-seven playmaker, pass catcher
Steve Keim can’t trot out the same defense that ranked dead last in 2019 and was constantly skewered by the pass even with a DPOY candidate coming off the edge in Chandler Jones. At the same time, Keim has pending free agents at the two most important spots on the offensive line in left tackle D.J. Humphries and center A.Q. Shipley.
Record: 6-10 (.484)
Biggest needs: Front-seven playmaker, OL, CB
I don’t see the Jags starting over (again) at QB this offseason, but just about every other position on the squad feels like it could be addressed. Dave Caldwell has said re-signing pending free agent edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue is his top priority. Which players will be released to make that happen? Jacksonville is over the 2020 salary cap.
Record: 6-10 (.533)
Biggest needs: OL, S, LB
The first couple spots on the to-do list are pretty simple to identify: Left tackle, right guard (two spots that were thorns in the Browns’ side all season) and safety, where Damarious Randall, Eric Murray and Juston Burris are pending free agents. Beyond that, will Cleveland re-sign top ILB Joe Schobert, and what does the future hold for TE David Njoku?
Record: 7-9 (.473)
Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, CB
The Jets should be prime players in the WR market, as well, if they are unable to re-sign Robby Anderson, but as of today, there are few needs more glaring league-wide than the the offensive line for Gang Green. If Joe Douglas ends up on the wrong side of an early OL run, perhaps he ends up drafting the edge rusher this franchise has long desired.
Record: 7-9 (.482)
Biggest needs: WR, CB, LB
Maybe this offseason gets weird and suddenly Tom Brady is playing quarterback for the Raiders instead of Derek Carr. The rumors were spreading even before ESPN’s report on Sunday that the Silver and Black will indeed make a run at Tom Terrific if he’s available. Whoever is under center for Las Vegas next year needs a new WR1. Jon Gruden could be in the perfect position to land one with this pick.
Record: 7-9 (.492)
Biggest needs: QB, DL, pass catcher
Sure, Chris Ballard should be targeting another pass rusher and skill-position weapon. The Colts aren’t going to get too far without an upgrade at quarterback, though, and don’t forget that free agent LT Anthony Castonzo is mulling retirement.
Record: 7-9 (.500)
Biggest needs: OL, DL, QB
Bruce Arians doesn’t appear to be that into Jameis Winston, so the Bucs should be thinking QB in the draft even if the only 30-30 QB in NFL history returns on a short-term deal. Some of the other pending free agents that will dictate the needs outlook in Tampa: Right tackle Demar Dotson; edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul; and DT Ndamukong Suh.
Record: 7-9 (.510)
Biggest needs: OL, interior D-line, DB
The conventional wisdom seems to be that John Elway’s first order of business in the draft will be adding help for second-year QB Drew Lock. But keep in mind that defensive starters Chris Harris Jr., Justin Simmons, Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris have expiring contracts. Shelby Harris has already signaled that there will be no hometown discount for his services.
Record: 7-9 (.545)
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, DB, TE
Atlanta’s leader in tackles (De’Vondre Campbell), leader in sacks (Vic Beasley) and second-leading receiver (Austin Hooper) are all pending free agents, so there’s the potential for some significant turnover on this roster. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given this squad’s consecutive sub-.500 finishes.
Record: 8-8 (.479)
Biggest needs: DL, DB, pass catcher
Dak Prescott’s not going anywhere, but Jerry Jones can’t bring ’em all back. The defensive line and secondary might need to be rebuilt, depending on what deals can be made. Dallas’ list of 2020 free agents not named Dak includes Amari Cooper, Byron Jones, Jason Witten, Randall Cobb, Sean Lee, Jeff Heath, Maliek Collins, Michael Bennett, Robert Quinn, Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder. The last five guys in the previous sentence are all defensive linemen.
Dolphins (via Steelers)
Steelers’ record: 8-8 (.502)
The Dolphins acquired this pick in the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade. See No. 5 for the Dolphins’ needs and the bottom section of this file for analysis of the Steelers’ needs.
Raiders (via Bears)
Bears’ record: 8-8 (.508)
The Raiders acquired this pick in the Khalil Mack trade. See No. 12 for the Raiders’ needs and the bottom section of this file for analysis of the Bears’ needs.
Jaguars (via Rams)
Rams’ record: 9-7 (.535)
The Jaguars acquired this pick in the Jalen Ramsey trade. See No. 9 for the Jaguars’ needs and the bottom section of this file for analysis of the Rams’ needs.
Record: 9-7 (.455)
Biggest needs: DB, WR, edge rusher
This secondary is in for a makeover with Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills headed for free agency. The same goes for a receiving corps that seems likely to part with Nelson Agholor. The bottom line is this group could use more speed throughout the lineup.
Record: 10-6 (.461)
Biggest needs: WR, DE, OL
Leading the to-do list is adding more receiving options for Josh Allen, who’d benefit from having a big outside target who can reel in throws that might not be right on the money. Brandon Beane might need to add more pass rush and interior O-linemen, as well, with Quinton Spain, Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips among the Bills’ pending free agents.
Record: 12-4 (.469)
Biggest needs: OL, pass catcher, S
While commercial-teasing tweets send hearts racing across the country, we’re still going to operate with the expectation that Tom Brady will be the Patriots’ QB next season. That leaves the O-line (top starter Joe Thuney’s deal is up), WR/TE (a source of constant frustration in 2019) and safety ( Devin McCourty is a pending free agent while Patrick Chung is entering his mid-30s) as the top areas of need.
Record: 13-3 (.486)
Biggest needs: WR, DB, interior OL
Yes, I’m aware the Saints don’t have a quarterback under contract for next season, but it would be a surprise if Drew Brees and Taysom Hill aren’t back. The more interesting question to me right now is which of their own position players are they able to keep, and who will be the receiver lining up opposite Michael Thomas in 2020? The list of walk-year players includes OG Andrus Peat and DBs Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, D.J. Swearinger and P.J. Williams.
Record: 10-6 (.477)
Biggest needs: DB, DL, OL
It’s looking like Rick Spielman will need to get creative to avoid a mass exodus from his secondary. He’s going to have to shed salary just to get under the cap, with Anthony Harris, Andrew Sendejo, Jayron Kearse (safeties), Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander (corners) due to hit the market and CB Xavier Rhodes a cut candidate. A less dramatic remodeling might be coming to the interior D-line.
Dolphins (via Texans)
Texans’ record: 10-6 (.520)
The Dolphins acquired this pick in the Laremy Tunsil trade. See No. 5 for the Dolphins’ needs and the bottom section of this file for analysis of the Texans’ needs.
Record: 11-5 (.531)
Biggest needs: DL, OL, DB
Who’s going to be on the line for Seattle next year? The Seahawks have to decide if they’re willing to fork over the green to keep Jadeveon Clowney, but that’s only the first domino for the unit. Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods and Ezekiel Ansah have expiring contracts. On the other side of the line, Germain Ifedi, Mike Iupati and George Fant are due to hit the market.
Record: 14-2 (.494)
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, ILB, interior OL
There’s no guarantee top edge rusher Matt Judon, a pending free agent, will be back, and Baltimore could still use a replacement for C.J. Mosley, who left town a year ago. Then there’s the matter of whether perennial Pro Bowl selectee Marshal Yanda will retire or play for another year. Either way, the Ravens must find a guy who can eventually step in for him without incurring a gargantuan dropoff at the position.
Record: 9-7 (.488)
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, OL, CB
It would be wild to see Tennessee part with free agents Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry after that majestic run to the AFC Championship Game. There are still some starters to make decisions about, though, even if the QB-RB tandem returns intact. The list includes RT Jack Conklin, CB Logan Ryan, CB Tramaine Brock and postseason standout LB Kamalei Correa.
Record: 13-3 (.453)
Biggest needs: Pass catcher, OL, ILB
This seems like a good time to slay the Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have enough weapons narrative that has lingered for years. And it might make sense to invest in more players who can protect the face of the franchise this offseason, with Bryan Bulaga due to hit free agency and David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley a year away from doing the same.
Record: 13-3 (.504)
Biggest needs: DB, OL, WR
The most obvious spot to target is the secondary, with Jimmie Ward a free agent this offseason and Richard Sherman among a handful of Niners DBs with deals that will expire after the 2020 campaign. Will San Francisco be able to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders, and what does the future hold for 13-year veteran OT Joe Staley?
Record: 12-4 (.510)
Biggest needs: Front-seven playmaker, CB, RB
A bellcow back would be nice, but it feels like a luxury compared with the needs that could develop on defense. Pro Bowl DT Chris Jones will be one of the offseason’s marquee free agents if the Chiefs don’t retain him. Starting CBs Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller are set to hit the market, too.
TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
Chicago Bears (8-8)
Biggest needs: QB, OL, DB
I know GM Ryan Pace said in the direct aftermath of a massively disappointing 2019 season that he’s sticking with Mitchell Trubisky as his QB1, but he has to find someone at the position who can help his team win games in the event that his prized former No. 2 overall pick continues to sputter. It’s not listed here, but tight end help should be a priority, as well.
Houston Texans (10-6)
Biggest needs: OL, DB, pass rusher
There’s not going to be a lot of draft capital to work with here due to Bill O’Brien’s wheeling and dealing. The defense — last seen being gashed by the Chiefs for 51 points in three quarters — is in need of some repair, but protecting the franchise (aka Deshaun Watson) should still be at the forefront of the head coach/GM’s mind this offseason. Houston’s O-line improved in 2019 thanks largely to the addition of Laremy Tunsil (who has only one year left on his deal). However, it still ranked 22nd in the league, per Football Outsiders.
Los Angeles Rams (9-7)
Biggest needs: OL, edge rusher, LB
There could be big holes to fill on defense with LB Cory Littleton, edge rusher Dante Fowler and DL Michael Brockers ticketed for free agency, but the most pressing concern at this point is left tackle, where Andrew Whitworth, the NFL’s oldest lineman, is a pending free agent.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Biggest needs: Edge rusher, TE, OL
Steelers owner Art Rooney says re-signing Bud Dupree is a top priority this offseason, but until they have a deal, we’ll keep his spot at the top of the needs list. If Dupree does indeed return, then building the best possible supporting cast on offense for Ben Roethlisberger takes precedence.
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