2023 NFL Draft order: Bears leapfrog Seahawks for No. 2 pick; Lions move up to No. 4
This is a look at the first-round order for the 2023 NFL Draft heading into Week 16 of the 2022 NFL season, along with the top three 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.
NOTE: The NFL announced in August that the Miami Dolphins will forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick following an investigation into whether the team violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game.
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Biggest needs: QB, WR, OL
Week 16 opponent: at Titans
EE: With their two first-rounders, the Texans can use the first to draft a quarterback and the second to draft a player capable of helping the signal-caller. That could be another offensive lineman, even after drafting Kenyon Green 15th overall in 2022. It also could be a receiver (or tight end) who can provide either deep speed or physicality to the offense.
Biggest needs: Edge, DL, OL
Week 16 opponent: vs. Bills
DP: With the Broncos’ win over the Cardinals, the Bears return to the second spot after spending a week at No. 3. It’s not listed here, as you can see, but wide receiver obviously remains a big need for Chicago. The depth, and glaring nature, of pressing needs for the team could make trading down an enticing option for GM Ryan Poles.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE DENVER BRONCOS
Broncos’ record: 4-10 (.469)
Broncos’ Week 16 opponent: at Rams
Seahawks’ biggest needs: Edge, DT, QB
DP: Pete Carroll and John Schneider will have to weigh the rare opportunity to land one of the top quarterbacks in the draft against a chance to address needs that are more glaring at the moment, even if they do retain free-agent-to-be Geno Smith.
NOTE: See the playoff teams section of this article for analysis of the Broncos’ needs.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Rams’ record: 4-10 (.510)
Rams’ Week 16 opponent: vs. Broncos
Lions’ biggest needs: DB, DL, QB
DP: The Lions are in good position to enjoy decent continuity on offense heading into 2023, but the defense figures to see bigger changes. Nearly half of Detroit’s starting defensive lineup from Week 15 is ticketed for free agency.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the Rams’ needs.
Biggest needs: OL, CB, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Buccaneers
DP: Losers of six of their last seven, the Cardinals now have a chance to pick inside the top eight for the third time in five years, where they could add help for Kyler Murray or a defense that was without its top three cornerbacks on Sunday.
Biggest needs: QB, OT, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Chargers
EE: You could argue that the Colts’ three biggest needs are at three of football’s most critical positions — quarterback, left tackle and pass rusher — heading into this coming offseason. Perhaps Bernhard Raimann improves enough as a pass protector to lock down left tackle. But don’t forget the resources they’ve spent on edge rushers, with so-so returns on most of them so far.
Biggest needs: Edge, WR, DL
Week 16 opponent: at Ravens
DP: In the Falcons’ past two games, Atlanta receivers other than Drake London have combined to make 13 catches for 99 yards (7.6 average). Getting a healthy Kyle Pitts back will help next year, but there is still a clear need for more pass-catching weapons.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, RB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Lions
DP: AFC North defenses have demonstrated what happens to the Panthers’ offense when its running game is shut down, and it’s not pretty. There are multiple good options for the third spot on Carolina’s needs list, and running back is certainly one of them with Christian McCaffrey long gone and D’Onta Foreman headed for free agency.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Saints’ record: 5-9 (.480)
Saints’ Week 16 opponent: at Browns
Eagles’ biggest needs: DB, Edge, DL
DP: The Eagles have one of the best defenses in the game, but free agency threatens to take a big bite out of it. Of the 10 Eagles defenders who have played the most snaps this season, just three have contracts that don’t expire or void after this season.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the Saints’ needs.
Biggest needs: OL, Edge, DB
Week 16 opponent: at Steelers
EE: The Raiders appear to have a few building blocks on the offensive line, including Kolton Miller and Dylan Parham, with Thayer Munford Jr. possibly joining them with improvement. But other than that, Las Vegas really could use a lot more help up front. They could draft multiple offensive linemen, with right tackle and at least one of the interior three spots in need of immediate upgrade.
Biggest needs: DL, OT, CB
Week 16 opponent: at Jets
EE: It might be smart to continue adding pieces on offense to help Trevor Lawrence continue his impressive growth. But the Jaguars can’t overlook some holes on defense, including up front. DaVon Hamilton is outplaying his contract, but Roy Robertson-Harris (a cap-cut candidate) and Folorunso Fatukasi have not. Plus, backups Adam Gotsis and Corey Peters are slated for free agency.
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE CLEVELAND BROWNS
Browns’ record: 6-8 (.523)
Browns’ Week 16 opponent: vs. Saints
See Pick No. 1 for analysis of the Texans’ needs and the bottom of this article for analysis of the Browns’ needs.
Biggest needs: S, OL, TE
Week 16 opponent: at Dolphins
DP: Tight end returns to the needs list with Green Bay’s rookie wide receivers showing much more promise in the second half of the season than they did early on. Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis are both due to hit free agency.
Biggest needs: OL, CB, DL
Week 16 opponent: vs. Raiders
EE: Although Cameron Sutton is a solid player, the Steelers need much more help at cornerback. They’ve rotated heavily in the backfield, often with other teams’ castoffs, and the results have been predictably inconsistent. Pittsburgh really hasn’t had a lockdown corner since Joe Haden left town.
Week 16 opponent: at Chiefs
NOTE: See Pick No. 3 for analysis of the Seahawks’ needs.
Biggest needs: OT, WR, DB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Bengals
EE: Trying to predict the Patriots’ draft strategy can be a frustrating exercise. But if we had to guess right now, both offensive tackle spots loom as the biggest concerns going forward. With all their projected cap space, they certainly could splurge on a free agent. But that shouldn’t preclude them from considering their draft options in Round 1 in what might not be the deepest class at tackle.
Biggest needs: OL, S, QB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Jaguars
EE: Lamarcus Joyner has been underwhelming this season and is due to become a free agent. Assuming the Ashtyn Davis ship has sailed, the Jets can’t count on Will Parks or any of the other backup safeties as provisional starters opposite Jordan Whitehead.
Week 16 opponent: at Panthers
NOTE: See Pick No. 4 for analysis of the Lions’ needs.
Biggest needs: QB, DB, DL
Week 16 opponent: at Cardinals
DP: There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Bucs’ woes this season, but the defense has played a role in them, especially of late. Tampa Bay has allowed the second-highest passer rating (112.2) in the league over the past three weeks.
Biggest needs: OL, TE, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Texans
EE: It’s hard to know what direction the Titans might take this offseason, following the surprise firing of GM Jon Robinson and the team’s late-season turn downward. But the offense has fallen flat because of poor blocking, a lack of team speed and few playmakers outside of Derrick Henry. We expect the Titans to find a way to prioritize those issues through the draft, free agency and the trade market.
Biggest needs: QB, CB, OL
Week 16 opponent: at 49ers
DP: The Commanders seem likely to be in the market for interior offensive linemen with Wes Schweitzer, Trai Turner, Tyler Larsen and Nick Martin playing on deals that expire in 2023, and Andrew Norwell’s contract due to void after next season.
Biggest needs: OT, Edge, WR
Week 16 opponent: at Colts
EE: The Chargers clearly were gunning for a title when they acquired Khalil Mack to pair with Joey Bosa this season. But with Bosa sidelined by injuries for a chunk of 2022 and Mack turning 32 this offseason, and with little depth behind them, we easily could see the Chargers drafting an up-and-coming rusher as insurance and planning for the future.
Biggest needs: QB, WR, interior OL
Week 16 opponent: at Vikings
DP: Whether it’s Daniel Jones or a different quarterback taking snaps for the Giants next season, GM Joe Schoen is going to have to add to a receiving corps that has just Kenny Golladay, Wan’Dale Robinson and Collin Johnson playing on a contract that doesn’t expire or void after this season.
Biggest needs: CB, WR, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Falcons
EE: We’ve been banging the cornerback drum for quite a while here. The Ravens don’t typically stray too far from their biggest needs with their higher draft picks. But the real test will be if one of the top non-corners is available at their first-round pick: Could they surprise and pivot to, say, running back?
PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS THROUGH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
49ers’ record: 10-4 (.413)
49ers’ Week 16 opponent: vs. Commanders
Broncos’ needs: OL, WR, CB
EE: There’s an argument to be made that the Broncos need help at every single position, making it tougher to pin down what direction they might choose early in the draft. Some of their needs are likely to change, depending on what salary-cap moves are made (especially on offense). And yes, we’d include quarterback on the list of positions they could bolster through the draft.
NOTE: See the bottom of this article for analysis of the 49ers’ and Dolphins’ needs.
Biggest needs: DB, OL, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Eagles
DP: With the Cowboys struggling to find answers at corner outside of Trevon Diggs and promising rookie DaRon Bland, it won’t be a surprise if Dallas addresses the position again next spring.
Biggest needs: DB, OT, TE
Week 16 opponent: at Patriots
EE: One of the biggest offseason stories in Cincinnati will be the matter of Joe Burrow’s contract-extension possibilities, which might force the Bengals to sit out the big spending of free agency and let some of their pricier free agents (Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, Hayden Hurst and Eli Apple) test the market. Which direction they head in the draft could depend on which one(s) of those players walk.
Biggest needs: OT, WR, Edge
Week 16 opponent: vs. Seahawks
EE: If you’re looking strictly at needs, a right tackle might be the biggest one. But will the Chiefs trust a rookie in that spot? Andrew Wylie has struggled this season, but then again, Orlando Brown also hasn’t been at his very best, so Kansas City might have to make tough calls at both tackle spots. That’s why the draft still could provide help there.
Biggest needs: DB, DL, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Giants
DP: K.J. Osborn has come on strong in recent weeks, but Minnesota still has a potential out from Adam Thielen’s contract after this season and should at least be looking for an upgrade over Jalen Reagor at receiver.
Biggest needs: OL, S, LB
Week 16 opponent: at Bears
EE: Their draft forecast is a bit unclear until we see what happens in free agency. The most likely Round 1 route could be to fill a void created by a departure. Their top impending free agents include Jordan Poyer, Tremaine Edmunds, Jordan Phillips and Rodger Saffold.
Week 16 opponent: at Cowboys
NOTE: See Pick No. 9 for analysis of the Eagles’ needs.
TEAMS CURRENTLY WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE HOUSTON TEXANS
Biggest needs: DT, S, WR
Week 16 opponent: vs. Saints
EE: The Browns have used a draft pick on an interior defensive lineman three years running but none higher than the 88th pick. Cleveland doesn’t have a first-rounder because of the Deshaun Watson trade but might need to act quickly to address the noticeable needs up front in the trenches.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE DETROIT LIONS
Biggest needs: Edge, OL, DB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Broncos
DP: The Rams are now tied for the most losses by a reigning Super Bowl champion, and their avenues to improvement via the draft are going to be limited. They currently hold just two picks in the first four rounds.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK ACQUIRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS TO THE DENVER BRONCOS
Biggest needs: OL, CB, RB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Packers
EE: Cornerback could end up one of the more interesting higher-priority positions the Dolphins seek to address this offseason. The future of Byron Jones with the team remains a mystery; we’ve been hearing about his potentially imminent return since August. Xavien Howard appears to be an important piece worth keeping, and the Kader Kouho story has been a fun one. But Miami really could stand to bolster the depth and talent, both of which are thin.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Biggest needs: QB, DL, interior OL
Week 16 opponent: at Browns
DP: The New Orleans defense continues to give the team a chance to win, but a handful of its key members might not be back next season. The list of soon-to-be free agents includes starting defensive tackles Shy Tuttle and David Onyemata.
TRADED FIRST-ROUND PICK TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest needs: OL, DL, DB
Week 16 opponent: vs. Commanders
DP: If the Niners give DPOY candidate Nick Bosa a massive contract extension this offseason, that could mean some of his fellow defensive linemen won’t be back in 2023. Samson Ebukam, Kerry Hyder, Charles Omenihu and Hassan Ridgeway are among the impending free agents on the D-line.
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