Projected 2021 draft order: Jacksonville, Washington are favorites for top pick

The Jacksonville Jaguars will have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, according to the preseason 1-32 order projections from the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI). Could the Jags target Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence next April? That’s who ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had them picking in his early first-round 2021 NFL mock draft.

Each week during the season, FPI projects the draft order by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model’s ratings for individual teams in addition to game locations. The order is based on the record the model believes the teams will have after 16 games, and the order is based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. Stats to know are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.

Check out the full 1-32 projection for the 2021 NFL draft:

Projected record: 5-11
Average draft position: 5.3
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 23.8%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 65.7%

Stat to know: Accuracy was a major issue for Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew II throughout his rookie season. He posted a 60.6% completion percentage last season, but according to NFL Next Gen Stats, his expected completion percentage was 65.8%. The minus-5.2% differential was the worst in the NFL in 2019 among 32 qualifying players, meaning he should have hit more open receivers than he did.


Projected record: 5-11
Average draft position: 7.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 13%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 50.9%

Stat to know: After dominating zone defenses in college, Washington rookie QB Dwayne Haskins appeared particularly perplexed by NFL zone defense last season, posting a league-worst 17.5 QBR to go along with one touchdown and four interceptions vs. zone coverage.


Projected record: 6-10
Average draft position: 7.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 11%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 45.6%

Stat to know: One way to help No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow would be to improve Cincinnati’s pass blocking. Over the past three seasons, Cincinnati ranks dead last among all teams in pass block win rate, as the Bengals maintained only 47.2% of pass blocks for 2.5 seconds. The addition of 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams, who missed all of last season because of injury, should help raise that number.


Projected record: 6-10
Average draft position: 8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 10.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 44%

Stat to know: Christian McCaffrey’s 5,443 yards from scrimmage are the fifth most in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history. If he posts another 2,000 yards from scrimmage, he’ll put himself at fourth in a player’s first four seasons.


Projected record: 6-10
Average draft position: 8.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 8.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 39.7%

Stat to know: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick probably enters the season as the starter, but his recent history shows top pick Tua Tagovailoa won’t have to wait too long to start. The past three times Fitzpatrick opened a season as the team’s starting QB, he lasted six or fewer starts before being benched. Fitzpatrick was effective for Miami last season, finishing with a QBR of 67 (eighth in the NFL).


Projected record: 6-10
Average draft position: 9.4
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 7.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 35.5%

Stat to know: Giants QB Daniel Jones’ 24 TD passes as a rookie exceeded expectations, but he must learn to take better care of the ball. Jones committed 23 turnovers (12 interceptions and 11 fumbles lost), tied for the second most in the NFL. His 11 fumbles lost last season are the most by any player since Aaron Brooks (11) in 2003. Making matters worse, his 18 total fumbles are tied for the fifth most in a single season in NFL history.


Projected record: 7-9
Average draft position: 10.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 5.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 30.4%

Stat to know: Matthew Stafford’s 2019 campaign was cut short because of broken bones in his back, but he ranked second in passing TDs (19) and fourth in passing yards (2,499) through Week 9. Without Stafford in the starting lineup in Weeks 10-17, Detroit went 0-8 and averaged 4.8 yards per play, the third-lowest mark in the NFL during that span.


Projected record: 7-9
Average draft position: 12.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 3%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 21%

Stat to know: Three-time Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell didn’t live up to expectations in his first season in New York in 2019. Among 47 qualified RBs, Bell was 46th in yards per carry, averaging 3.2 YPC. Bell has a current cap hit of $ 14.5 million for the 2020 season, 14.5% of the Jets’ offensive cap space.


Projected record: 7-9
Average draft position: 13
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 2.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 18.7%

Stat to know: The Raiders face a couple of significant challenges this season. They relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas, and the last two teams to relocate (2016 Rams and Chargers) went a combined 13-19 in their first seasons in their new location. Additionally, according to FPI, the Raiders have the third-toughest strength of schedule. Four of their first five games come against teams that won at least 10 games in 2019.


Projected record: 7-9
Average draft position: 13.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 16.2%

Stat to know: Cardinals rookie QB Kyler Murray proved to be more successful last season from inside the pocket than out. He posted a 63.3 QBR inside the pocket, which ranked 10th in the NFL. Outside the pocket, Murray’s QBR dropped to 25.2, a mark that ranked 21st. His 38.1-point drop from inside to outside the pocket was the sixth largest in the NFL last season.

Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 14.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 13.6%

Stat to know: With the addition of 2010 All-Decade Team member Chris Harris Jr. via free agency and the healthy return of 2018 All-Pro Derwin James, the Chargers should boast one of the league’s best secondaries. Harris has given up 52% completions as the nearest defender from the slot since 2016, best in the NFL (minimum 70 targets, NFL Next Gen Stats). Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward has 13 interceptions since 2016, tied for fifth in the NFL.


Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 14.8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 13.1%

Stat to know: One of the most encouraging signs from Broncos rookie QB Drew Lock last year was his excellent play against the blitz. He posted a 94.3 QBR when facing a blitz, a number that ranked second in the NFL, behind only Derek Carr. That number was also second among all rookies since tracking began in 2006, trailing only Robert Griffin III’s Offensive Rookie of the Year-winning performance in 2012 (minimum 35 dropbacks against the blitz).


Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 15.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 11.9%

Stat to know: Atlanta could have an entire offensive lineup composed of former first-round picks following its offseason signings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team has started 10 or more offensive players who were selected in the first round during the common draft era (since 1967).


Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 15.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.7%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 13.9%

Stat to know: The Bears’ offense as a whole seems to need a jump-start in 2020. Last season, that unit finished 31st in the NFL in yards per play (4.7), their worst mark since 2007 (4.5) in which Brian Griese, Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton split time under center. After finishing coach Matt Nagy’s first season with the ninth-highest scoring average in the NFL, the Bears’ 8.8-point drop-off in scoring offense from 2018 to 2019 was the largest by any team in the NFL.


Texans’ projected record: 8-8
Texans’ average draft position: 15.3
FPI chance for Texans to earn No. 1 pick: 1.5%
FPI chance for Texans to earn top-five pick: 12.4%

How the Dolphins got this pick: On Sept. 1, 2019, the Dolphins shipped Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills, a fourth-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2021 to the Texans. In return, they received a pair of first-round picks — in 2020 and 2021 — a 2021 second-round pick, cornerback Johnson Bademosi and tackle Julien Davenport.


Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 16.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.8%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 8.6%

Stat to know: The Browns have failed to make the playoffs in 17 consecutive seasons, the longest active streak in the NFL and the longest in franchise history. Since losing the AFC wild-card game to Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, 2003, the franchise has had 11 head coaches and 13 starting quarterbacks.

Rams’ projected record: 8-8
Rams’ average draft position: 17.4
FPI chance for Rams to earn No. 1 pick: 0.6%
FPI chance for Rams to earn top-five pick: 7%

How the Jaguars got this pick: On Oct. 15, 2019, the Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams for two first-round draft picks (2020 and 2021) and a fourth-round pick in 2021.


Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 17.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 6.5%

Stat to know: The 13-3 Packers made it to the NFC Championship Game last season, but are they one of the league’s best teams heading into 2020? They outscored their opponents by only 63 points, the lowest point differential for a 13-win team in NFL history. It also bears mentioning the Packers did this while facing the easiest strength of schedule in terms of opponent record. Of the previous 15 teams to lose in the NFC title game, 11 of them missed the playoffs the following season.


Projected record: 8-8
Average draft position: 18.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.7%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 7.1%

Stat to know: Derrick Henry, who signed his franchise tender this offseason, is looking to become the first player to lead the league in rushing in back-to-back seasons since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006-07. Henry not only led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards in 2019, he also led in rushes (303) and tied Aaron Jones for the most rushing TDs (16). He was key to the Titans’ success as Tennessee was 8-0 in games (including the playoffs) when Henry amassed at least 100 rushing yards.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 19
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.6%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 6.4%

Stat to know: No quarterback in the NFL threw more interceptions when pressured last year than newly acquired Colts starter Philip Rivers (seven) — even though Rivers was the fifth-fastest QB in the NFL in time to throw last year. He shouldn’t have a problem with interior pressure, considering guard Quenton Nelson and center Ryan Kelly both rank in the top 25 of all offensive linemen in that measure. The Colts ranked third in pass block win rate last year, compared to 19th by the Chargers.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 19.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.5%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 5%

Stat to know: The Vikings committed to the run last season, running by design 47% of the time, the second-highest mark in the NFL after the Ravens (51%). They did this in large part due to Dalvin Cook’s success, who led the NFL in rushing yards through Week 10 of the regular season and finished 2019 leading all RBs with 73 rushes reaching 15 mph, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 19.3
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 4.7%

Stat to know: In 2018, the Steelers led the NFL in red zone efficiency (74%) and ranked third in goal-to-go efficiency (84%). With QB Ben Roethlisberger on the shelf because of an injury, Pittsburgh finished 2019 dead last in the NFL in red zone efficiency (35%) and had the second-lowest goal-to-go efficiency (52%) in the league, ahead of only the Jaguars.

Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 19.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 4.6%

Stat to know: The Bills acquired Vikings WR Stefon Diggs this offseason. Since entering the league in 2015 out of the University of Maryland, Diggs has 365 receptions (15th in the NFL) and 4,263 receiving yards (14th in the NFL) in the regular season, more than any Bills receiver in that span.


Seahawks’ projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 19.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.3%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 3.8%

How the Jets got this pick: On July 25, the Jets traded safety Jamal Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Seahawks for safety Bradley McDougald, first-round picks in 2021 and 2022 and a third-round pick in 2021.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 20.7
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 3.3%

Stat to know: Tom Brady moved on after 20 seasons in New England, the most seasons with one franchise before changing teams in NFL history. He turned 43 on Aug. 3, which puts him in virtually uncharted waters for a starting QB. Only three QBs (Steve DeBerg, Vinny Testaverde and Warren Moon) have started a game at that age, and they combined for a 2-6 record. In NFL history, players 43 or older have combined to pass for only 22 TDs and 2,542 yards.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 20.8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 3.4%

Stat to know: Because of opt-outs and free agency, the Patriots return only 57% of last season’s snaps, the second-lowest percentage in the NFL, behind the Panthers (47%). Eight of their top 15 players in terms of snaps played last year are not returning, including QB Tom Brady, who signed with Tampa Bay. The result of all the personnel losses? New England’s championship odds are 20-1, its worst preseason odds since 2002.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 21.4
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 2.7%

Stat to know: Last season no team had more receptions, receiving yards or targets by their tight ends than the Eagles. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert were the only tight end duo to record at least 500 receiving yards last season, and Ertz has been Carson Wentz’s most reliable target since he came into the league. The two have connected 303 times, the fourth-most completions of any QB-receiver combo in the league since 2016.


Projected record: 9-7
Average draft position: 21.8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 2.6%

Stat to know: The Cowboys were just 1-6 in one-possession games last season, second worst in the NFL behind the Bengals (0-8). Since 2006, new Dallas coach Mike McCarthy’s 58 wins in games decided by eight points or fewer ranks fourth by any coach in that span.


Projected record: 10-6
Average draft position: 24.7
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 0.7%

Stat to know: Raheem Mostert tore it up in the playoffs with 336 rushing yards and five TDs in three games and appears to be in line to start for the 49ers this season. Mostert has averaged 6.1 yards on 231 career rushes including postseasons but has yet to start in 51 games played.

Projected record: 10-6
Average draft position: 25.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 0.7%

Stat to know: The Saints have posted the best regular-season record in the NFL over the past three seasons. Out of the top three teams in win percentage over that span, New Orleans is the only one to have not won a Super Bowl.


Projected record: 11-5
Average draft position: 26.7
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.0%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 0.2%

Stat to know: Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson rushed for a QB-record 1,206 yards in 2019. However, none of the six other QBs in NFL history to rush for 800-plus yards in a season reached even 600 rushing yards in the following year.


Projected record: 11-5
Average draft position: 27.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.0%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 0.1%

Stat to know: Since tracking started in 2007, there have been 86 instances of a player recording 30 receptions as a slot receiver and 30 receptions as an outside receiver in the same season. Only one — Chiefs TE Travis Kelce in 2019 — played tight end … and he caught 24 passes as an in-line tight end as well.

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