This is a look at the first-round order for the 2024 NFL Draft heading into Week 16 of the 2023 NFL season, along with the top five needs for each team. The order is determined by record, using strength of schedule as the first tiebreaker (click here to see a full list of the draft-order tiebreakers). Keep in mind — teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today are marked as PL (short for playoffs) in the order below. The draft order for playoff teams is determined by the results of postseason play.
Arrows reflect movement from last week’s order.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CAROLINA PANTHERS
Panthers’ record: 2-12 (.526 strength of schedule)
Panthers’ Week 16 opponent: vs. Packers
Bears’ biggest needs: IOL, WR, TE, Edge, QB
Landing DJ Moore last offseason was a big win for general manager Ryan Poles, but much of the rest of the 2024 receiving corps remains unsettled, with veterans Darnell Mooney and Equanimeous St. Brown set to hit free agency. Rookie Tyler Scott has flashed this year, but Chicago must but add playmakers via the draft and/or free agency if Justin Fields (or a new passer acquired with this selection) is to succeed.
See the bottom of this article for analysis of the Panthers’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, TE, OT, CB, RB
Week 16 opponent: at Broncos
The cornerback spot has been a thorn in the Patriots’ side all season. J.C. Jackson has not been a difference-maker since returning to Foxborough from L.A. in early October, and he could be a cap casualty after the season. The team cut Jack Jones in mid-November, and Myles Bryant is an impending free agent. Christian Gonzalez and Marcus Jones will return from injury in 2024 to aid Jonathan Jones, but finding more depth should be high on New England’s priority list during the middle of the draft.
Biggest needs: CB, WR, DT, IOL, TE
Week 16 opponent: at Bears
Arizona’s porous run defense could use some beefing up this offseason. Even if the Cardinals re-sign some combination of Kevin Strong, Leki Fotu and/or Carlos Watkins, they’ll need to add more young talent via the draft. Have to think Jonathan Gannon will have interior lineman top of mind on Days 1 and 2.
Biggest needs: Edge, QB, OT, LB, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Jets
Curtis Samuel has had his moments this year, including during Sunday’s loss to the Rams, when he hauled in two touchdowns. He might garner interest on the free agent market, though, and reserve receivers Byron Pringle and Jamison Crowder are also not under contract for next season. Finding a bargain mid-round pass-catcher would provide insurance behind Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Dyami Brown over the next couple of seasons.
Biggest needs: RB, OL, DT, QB, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Eagles
If the Giants and Saquon Barkley part ways this offseason, look for New York to add another dual-threat back within the top 100 overall selections in April. The G-Men have one extra pick in the second round after trading Leonard Williams to Seattle at the deadline.
Week 16 opponent: vs. Cardinals
See Pick No. 1 for analysis of the Bears’ needs.
Biggest needs: CB, RB, OT, DT, QB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Bills
Easton Stick did not play well in his first NFL start — then again, few Chargers did during last Thursday’s 63-21 blowout loss to the Raiders. The former sixth-round pick now has three more games to put up tape that will convince whoever’s a part of the next regime he’s a better backup option for Justin Herbert than any of the other QB prospects in this year’s draft.
Biggest needs: OT, CB, WR, Edge, RB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Seahawks
The Titans should be evaluating both offensive tackle spots for the 2024 season. Andre Dillard, who signed a three-year deal with Tennessee this year but has not started since November, when he had to spend time in the concussion protocol, could return at left tackle. Jaelyn Duncan, who has replaced Dillard over the past few weeks, might get a chance to compete for the position if he improves over the next few games. Or the team could add one of the talented players in the 2024 draft class. The right tackle situation also appears unsettled; might Dillon Radunz (who started one game at left tackle, in Week 11) shift back inside after taking over for Nicholas Petit-Frere while Petit-Frere missed time with suspension and injury?
Biggest needs: OT, QB, DT, S, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Commanders
Quinnen Williams is a stud in the middle of the Jets defense. He’s the only tackle under contract for 2024, however. Even if Quinton Jefferson or Solomon Thomas re-sign as free agents, the team will need to carefully evaluate this year’s DT prospects to see if any can complement the franchise defender.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, Edge, CB, DT
Week 16 opponent: vs. Colts
Desmond Ridder‘s inconsistency this season could push Atlanta to pick a new passer early in the 2024 NFL Draft. While Ridder wasn’t the sole reason the Falcons were upset by Carolina on Sunday, the fact Arthur Smith is again contemplating a QB change means Ridder — at the very least — will face some competition in the offseason. With a challenging final three games, Atlanta could move even higher up the draft board by season’s end, putting the Falcons in prime position to select a new quarterback.
Biggest needs: IOL, OT, RB, CB, DT
Week 16 opponent: at Chiefs
Versatile offensive lineman Dylan Parham started at center for the injured Andre James in the team’s win over the struggling Chargers, just as he did early last season when James dealt with a concussion. The former Memphis Tiger should be a foundational piece around whom the team will build if it is unable to re-sign James, tackle Jermaine Eluemunor and guard Greg Van Roten this offseason.
Biggest needs: OT, S, IOL, CB, RB
Week 16 opponent: at Panthers
Injury issues plaguing former first-round picks Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes (who re-joined the team Sunday vs. Tampa Bay), combined with the trade of Rasul Douglas to Buffalo at the deadline, have stretched the Packers’ cornerback depth to the point that Green Bay surrendered 381 passing yards — and a perfect passer rating — to Baker Mayfield in Sunday’s devastating 14-point home loss to the Bucs. The recent signing of David Long Jr., who is on his third team this year, highlights the need for GM Brian Gutekunst to bolster the position during the draft.
Biggest needs: OT, OG, CB, LB, Edge
Week 16 opponent: at Rams
The Saints looked like world-beaters against the Giants on Sunday, but that’s just the short-term view. Taking a more long-term perspective, New Orleans will soon have to address needs up front, with starting offensive linemen Andrus Peat and James Hurst and backup Max Garcia set to become free agents this spring. Trevor Penning could regain his starting left tackle spot next season, but he will need competition in camp. Selecting at least one interior lineman should be on the team’s docket.
Biggest needs: DT, TE, S, CB, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Patriots
Depth behind second-year TE Greg Dulcich, who’s missed most of the season with a hamstring issue, has been a problem for Denver throughout the campaign. The Broncos acquired Adam Trautman from the Saints this offseason, reuniting him with his former coach Sean Payton, but the veteran has only been adequate in Dulcich’s stead. Even if Denver re-signs Trautman in the coming months, expect the franchise to be in search of another receiving tight end with blocking skills in the draft.
Biggest needs: CB, OT, IOL, DT, LB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Bengals
Despite the use of a first-round pick on offensive tackle Broderick Jones in 2023, the offensive line requires additional reinforcements, as evidenced by the four sacks Pittsburgh surrendered against Indianapolis. Jones moved from left to right tackle to take over for Chuks Okorafor, who was benched in November and profiles like a potential cap casualty this offseason. Jones’ versatility and the strength of the 2024 draft class at the position gives Pittsburgh the flexibility to pick a starter at left or right tackle.
Biggest needs: LB, OG, S, DT, Edge
Week 16 opponent: at Titans
After a three-sack rookie season in 2022, Boye Mafe turned himself into the Seahawks’ top pass rusher. The team will hope veteran Uchenna Nwosu can bounce back from a pectoral injury in 2024, while 2023 second-round pick Derick Hall may have a rise next season that is similar to Mafe’s. Still, with Darrell Taylor set to be a restricted free agent, expect GM John Schneider to look for future edge contributors in the middle of the draft.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE HOUSTON TEXANS
Texans’ record: 8-6 (.469)
Texans’ Week 16 opponent: vs. Browns
See Pick No. 3 for analysis of the Cardinals’ needs and the playoff teams section of this article for analysis of the Texans’ needs.
Biggest needs: DT, S, Edge, WR, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Chargers
Buffalo is facing the potential loss of free agent safeties Micah Hyde (who missed Sunday’s game against Dallas with a neck stinger) and Taylor Rapp, while starter Jordan Poyer, who will turn 33 during the 2024 NFL Draft, is heading into a contract year. Damar Hamlin — making a miraculous return from cardiac arrest in 2022 — has appeared in just four games so far this season. The Bills must find additional players for the back end of their defense.
Biggest needs: QB, Edge, OG, LB, DT
Week 16 opponent: vs. Lions
Starting defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard is set to be a free agent this spring, and Harrison Phillips will be in demand as a potential free agent in 2025 if he keeps playing at his current high level. Rookie Jaquelin Roy will compete for playing time next year, but more depth is needed in the Vikings’ front.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, IOL, LB, S
Week 16 opponent: vs. Jaguars
Safety Antoine Winfield is putting his best foot forward in the final year of his contract and should be sought after as a free agent. Ryan Neal, who is also headed for the market in March, missed the team’s game in Green Bay on Sunday. Young defenders Dee Delaney and Chrisitan Izien have earned bigger roles as the season has worn on, but the Buccaneers should add to their defensive backfield in the middle rounds.
Biggest needs: OT, CB, LB, S, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Saints
Starting safeties Jordan Fuller and John Johnson III are headed for free agency after the season. Quentin Lake could stick as the nickel back in 2024, pushing the Rams to re-sign one of those veterans and grab another safety in the middle rounds to compete for playing time with former seventh-rounders Jason Taylor and Russ Yeast.
Biggest needs: DT, WR, LB, Edge, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Falcons
Receiver Alec Pierce has averaged 15.2 yards per catch while spending most of this season with QB Gardner Minshew; imagine Pierce’s potential as a downfield threat with Anthony Richardson when Richardson returns from injury. Slot man Josh Downs was a nice find in the third round in 2023, but the glue of the passing offense, Michael Pittman Jr., is set to be a free agent after the season. If GM Chris Ballard is unable to re-sign Pittman, he will surely seek a tough-minded, do-it-all receiver in the first three rounds.
Biggest needs: OT, WR, DT, TE, OG
Week 16 opponent: at Steelers
With Ja’Marr Chase sidelined in the fourth quarter of the Bengals’ win over the Vikings, Tee Higgins made the play of the game, backhanding the ball over the pylon for the tying score. Higgins’ contract runs out after 2023, though, and he will surely be expecting a big payday, while veteran Tyler Boyd and No. 3 option Trenton Irwin might also find new homes. Rookie Andrei Iosivas has some potential, but Joe Burrow needs reliable targets other than Chase (who is expected to miss time this season with a separated shoulder) in 2024.
Biggest needs: Edge, OG, DT, WR, OT
Week 16 opponent: at Buccaneers
Logically, it would follow that Cam Robinson’s future with the Jaguars is in doubt, given his sizable 2024 cap figure ($21.6 million) and the fact that he’s appeared in just seven games this season, thanks to a four-game suspension to start the year and a knee injury that has him on injured reserve. Jacksonville must select another young lineman to at least provide depth, if not to push 2021 second-rounder Walker Little (who has filled in for Robinson but also struggled with injuries) for the left tackle job across from last year’s first-rounder, Anton Harrison.
Biggest needs: DT, OT, WR, CB, LB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Raiders
Should he make it to the market, defensive back L’Jarius Sneed would be a coveted free agent for his versatility and playmaking ability. Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams may be in the mix for a starting job to complement Trent McDuffie, but the Chiefs should find another cover man, because teams never have enough quality corners.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CLEVELAND BROWNS
Browns’ record: 9-5 (.536)
Browns’ Week 16 opponent: at Texans
Texans’ biggest needs: OT, DT, Edge, CB, TE
Will Anderson can anchor the defensive line for the foreseeable future, but veteran Jonathan Greenard will surely be seeking major compensation as a free agent after racking up 12.5 sacks this season. Derek Barnett was a solid waiver-wire pick-up who had a sack against a mediocre Titans line on Sunday, but Houston needs to get Anderson some pass-rush help via the draft.
See the bottom of this article for analysis of the Browns’ needs.
Biggest needs: IOL, S, WR, DT, TE
Week 16 opponent: vs. Cowboys
Earlier this month, the Dolphins signed Austin Jackson to an extension to be their starting right tackle of the future. That frees them to address the interior of their line in the draft. Connor Williams (who is out for the year with a torn ACL) and Robert Hunt are impending free agents, and Liam Eichenberg has struggled at times in the pivot.
Biggest needs: OT, RB, C, DT, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Dolphins
DaRon Bland’s turnover heroics (he leads the league with eight picks, five of which were returned for TDs) mirror what teammate Trevon Diggs did in 2021 (11 picks, two TDs). Those two could form a strong cornerback duo once Diggs returns from the ACL tear he suffered in September. Stephon Gilmore has played well stepping in for Diggs this year, but he’ll be a free agent after the season, and he turns 34 years old next September. Given the attrition faced by all teams at the position, Dallas should look for another mid-round bargain like Bland, a fifth-round selection in 2022.
Biggest needs: WR, OG, CB, Edge, DT
Week 16 opponent: at Vikings
The Lions hoped offseason signee Emmanuel Moseley would help them at cornerback this year, but he lost a second straight season to an ACL tear. Jerry Jacobs, meanwhile, might still be having nightmares about Bears receiver DJ Moore, who caught 13 passes for 164 yards and two TDs in Chicago’s two games against Detroit this season. I would expect the Lions to consider a cornerback in the first two rounds, especially if they find another value like they did in 2023, when they nabbed nickel safety Brian Branch in Round 2.
Biggest needs: RB, Edge, WR, LB, CB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Giants
Philadelphia gave up 75 total points in back-to-back losses to NFC title contenders San Francisco and Dallas at the start of December. Darius Slay (knee injury) and slot defender Avonte Maddox (torn pectoral muscle) are dealing with injuries but should be starters in 2024. The team must evaluate the future of James Bradberry, who turns 31 this summer and was beaten by Seahawks receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba on the go-ahead touchdown catch in Philly’s Week 15 loss, and find some training camp competition for young corners Kelee Ringo, Josh Jobe and Eli Ricks.
Biggest needs: OT, IOL, TE, Edge, DT
Week 16 opponent: vs. Ravens
Former Buckeye teammates Nick Bosa and Chase Young have been great since Young was shipped over from the Commanders, but Young is headed to free agency in 2024, along with Clelin Ferrell. Drake Jackson has been dealing with a knee issue and is on injured reserve, and San Francisco might not want to keep midseason acquisition Randy Gregory at his current cap number for 2024 ($14 million, per Spotrac). Securing another edge rusher in the draft’s middle rounds would be wise.
Biggest needs: DT, OG, RB, CB, WR
Week 16 opponent: at 49ers
Odell Beckham Jr. has looked like his old self at times lately, logging two games of 90-plus yards in the past four weeks — but as of today, he’s not on the Ravens roster for 2024. Neither are Nelson Agholor or the injured Devin Duvernay. Rashod Bateman, meanwhile, had just 39 receiving yards in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, and that was a season high for him; he also dropped a pass. Lamar Jackson and rookie sensation Zay Flowers (who leads the team with 65 catches and 680 receiving yards) have established a connection, but Baltimore will need Bateman to step it up in 2024 — and the team will likely also need to add another young playmaker.
TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE CHICAGO BEARS
Biggest needs: Edge, WR, CB, LB, IOL
Week 16 opponent: vs. Packers
While most teams are reticent to select an off-ball linebacker early in the draft, Carolina should consider cutting against the grain. With team leader Frankie Luvu potentially at risk of leaving for a contender in free agency, and veteran Shaq Thompson — who will be 30 next fall — recovering from a broken leg, Panthers scouts must find a Day 2 or early-Day 3 pick who is able to bolster the second level of the defense.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE HOUSTON TEXANS
Biggest needs: DT, LB, Edge, OT, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Texans
Amari Cooper continues to play well, having pulled within range of his sixth career 1,000-yard season during Cleveland’s win over Chicago (he now has 985), but he is set to count for $23.8 million against the cap in 2024, which is also the final year of his current contract. Like Cooper, Elijah Moore is headed for a contract year. The depth behind those two and rookie Cedric Tillman is not exceptional. Even if Cooper and the Browns agree on an extension, the team should still look for at least one pass-catcher to help build a strong corps in anticipation of Deshaun Watson’s return to action next fall.
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