There are just three weeks left in the 2020 NFL regular season. It’s time to slowly turn some attention toward the 2021 NFL draft — unless you’re a fan of the Jets or Jaguars, in which case the draft already has your full attention.
The ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) currently projects the Jets and Jaguars to pick 1-2 next April, with the Bengals, Cowboys and Chargers not far behind. But even the Chiefs, FPI’s favorite to win the Super Bowl, have an eye to the ’21 draft class.
It’s early, but we’re here to help get you prepared for the coming months. We asked our NFL Nation reporters to detail the most important thing fans need to know about each of the 32 teams’ draft situations right now.
Projected first-round pick: No. 5
How Dak Prescott‘s contract negotiations play out could affect the direction the Cowboys go in this draft. If they don’t reach a long-term deal, the Cowboys seemingly would have to move quarterback near the top of the draft list since the cost of tagging him a third straight year in 2022 would be prohibitive. But whether Prescott gets a deal done or not, the rest of the draft has to focus on defense — anywhere on defense. The secondary needs a revamping, with three key players set to hit free agency. Bigger defensive tackles seem to be on the list. Linebacker is a need if Jaylon Smith is not going to be around (the team could part ways with him in the offseason). There is a ton of money tied up on offense, with or without Prescott, but the defense needs a lot of help. — Todd Archer
Projected first-round pick: No. 12
The Giants might be looking to land an edge rusher, even if they address the position in free agency. They passed on Josh Allen two years ago and missed out on Chase Young in 2020. They need to get someone with a high pick this year. It’s such an obvious need for this team, despite a solid defense. — Jordan Raanan
Projected first-round pick: No. 10