Projected 2021 NFL Draft order: Jags favored to pick first, putting team in driver’s seat for Trevor Lawrence

While they may not intentionally be “Tanking for Trevor,” the Jaguars, based on the results from the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, have already put themselves in position to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. Lawrence, who helped lead the Tigers to a national championship as a freshman, is slated to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s first round, SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh projected next year’s first round draft order based on each team’s updated win-loss record for the 2020 season. As you can see below, the Jaguars have the first overall pick, while the Bengals, Redskins and Dolphins, despite selecting three of the top-ranked players in the 2020 draft, are projected to have a top-five pick once again.

2021 NFL draft first-round draft projection

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Washington Redskins
4. Miami Dolphins
5. Carolina Panthers
6. New York Giants
7. New York Jets
8. Las Vegas Raiders
9. Atlanta Falcons
10. Detroit Lions
11. Miami Dolphins (f/HOU)
12. Arizona Cardinals
13. Cleveland Browns
14. Chicago Bears
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (f/LAR)
16. Denver Broncos
17. Green Bay Packers
18. Tennessee Titans
19. Los Angeles Chargers
20. Seattle Seahawks
21. New England Patriots
22. Indianapolis Colts
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24. Philadelphia Eagles
25. Pittsburgh Steelers
26. Minnesota Vikings
27. Buffalo Bills
28. Dallas Cowboys
29. New Orleans Saints
30. Baltimore Ravens
31. San Francisco 49ers
32. Kansas City Chiefs

Among the teams that have vastly improved their 2020 win projection is the Buccaneers, who traded up to select former Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall pick.

“Improvements by Tampa Bay, including the Gronk trade, have dropped the Saints from the projected 1 seed in the NFC to the 2 seed behind the 49ers,” Oh said about the projections. “Tampa Bay is up to 8.8 wins, still under their 9.5 win total I see in most sports books, but way up from the 6.5 they were at before their off-season.”

While the Chiefs — who selected former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the final pick in the first round — are projected to earn the AFC’s No. 1 seed heading into the 2020 postseason, the Ravens, last year’s No. 1 seed, have the slight edge to represent the conference in Super Bowl LV. Baltimore, with the 28th pick in this year’s draft, selected former LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, a player who is expected to make an immediate impact on the Ravens’ defense.

As far as rookie fantasy football projections are concerned, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has the highest projection, followed by Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb leads all rookie receivers in projected fantasy rankings, while Edwards-Helaire, the only running back that was selected in the first round, is 17th in terms of running back fantasy rankings.

The Jaguars, who selected CJ Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson with the 9th and 20th overall picks in this year’s draft, are expected to go into the 2020 season with second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew as their starter. But based on his team’s current ’21 draft projection, Minshew will likely be in the midst of a position battle this time next year.

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