Six teams learned their first-round position in the 2021 NFL Draft during wild-card weekend. Those teams all lost in the opening round of the expanded postseason.
With 14 teams — seven from each conference — now making the playoffs, the wild-card loser with the worst record holds the 19th overall pick in the draft rather than the previous No. 21 selection. In 2021, the “first loser” spot belongs to the Washington Football Team, who won the NFC East with a 7-9 record and then lost to the Buccaneers in a home wild-card game.
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The first 18 spots in the 2021 NFL Draft were set after the completion of Week 17. No. 1 went to the 1-15 Jaguars, who “clinched” the selection in Week 16. The Jets, who made a strong run at the pick by starting 0-13, settled for No. 2 after registering back-to-back-wins in Weeks 15 and 16.
The Dolphins have the No. 3 selection by virtue of the Texans finishing 4-12. Houston traded the pick in 2019 as part of the deal to acquire left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Miami also has its own pick, No. 18 overall.
Below is the official NFL Draft order for the first 24 picks in 2021, now including the teams that lost in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
NFL Draft order 2021
|2||New York Jets||2-14|
|3||Miami Dolphins||(via 4-12 Houston Texans)|
|11||New York Giants||6-10|
|12||San Francisco 49ers||6-10|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers||7-9|
|15||New England Patriots||7-9|
|17||Las Vegas Raiders||8-8|
|19||Washington Football Team||7-9|
|23||New York Jets||(via 12-4 Seattle Seahawks)|
Positions 25-32 will be determined over the course of the divisional round, conference championship games and Super Bowl 55. Those spots will go to the teams that are still alive in the playoffs.
Jacksonville and the Jets separated themselves from the rest of the field in the latter stages of the “Tank for Trevor” competition in the 2020 season. “Trevor” is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who remains the consensus top choice despite being outplayed by Ohio State’s Justin Fields in the teams’ College Football Playoff semifinal game.
Fields should be there for the Jets if they decide to move on from Sam Darnold, the third pick in the 2018 draft. That’s assuming Fields is still on the board; there has been speculation the Jags could explore taking Fields at No. 1 if former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer — or current Ohio State coach Ryan Day — becomes their new head coach. That would leave Lawrence available for the Jets.
SN’s NFL mock draft prior to wild-card weekend had Lawrence, Fields, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (to Miami), Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye (to Atlanta) and Oregon tackle Penei Sewell (to Cincinnati) as its top five.