With the 2017 season in a close, the combine complete, free agency active and the draft around the corner, now is the perfect time to do an in-depth assessment of each team.
This is not a super bowl/playoff assessment or a popularity assessment like others do. This power ranking assessment is strictly basing the team on the players it currently has and assuming they will try to make a positive/playoff season run. This will assess their strengths and weaknesses and most importantly, there will be no favorites or boost of any team.
32. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins sunk to a new low when they cut all their veteran players including Suh, Pouncey, and Timmons. Though they restocked with some new veterans, it’s likely they will only help Miami for one year (even if that). The Dolphins went from having a chance at the playoffs to full rebuild/don’t even think about the playoffs for the next ten years.
31. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have a monster upside coming into the season: they might have their starting QB Andrew Luck back. They also added a veteran tight end and have a lot of picks in the draft thanks to a blockbuster trade with the Jets. The Colts will need every pick they can get to fill holes left behind from players they cut.
30. Cleveland Browns
Why are the Browns so low on this list after making moves all offseason long? Well, simply put, their offense is made of a bunch of players stringed together from various teams. While this combination might be magical, especially coupled with the draft picks they sit with this year, the Browns are still a Cinderella team. They need to show everyone the clock hasn’t struck 12 yet.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
After letting running back Jeremy Hill join the Patriots and getting themselves involved in a trade, the Bengals have done nothing much this offseason but stockpile picks. They will likely be used to fill the holes they have and to cycle out players. If the Bengals are serious about making a playoff run then they need to be more aggressive in free agency.
28. Arizona Cardinals
After Carson Palmer announced retirement, and Tyrann Mathieu and Adrian Peterson were released, it was safe to say the Cardinals would be in a pickle to get new talent at these positions. Coupled that with signing journeymen to the roster, it is safe to say the Cardinals are looking forward to the draft to help their needs. Like many teams doing so, it is a shot in the dark on the players they pick.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have been quiet this offseason yet still made some noise. After releasing their kicker Nick Folk, they picked up Catanzaro from the Jets, traded picks to the Giants for safety JPP, and signed DE Vinny Curry. The Bucs seem to be upgrading their lines. They also re-signed the majority of their pending free agents. So the Bucs are almost the same as last year but with slight improvements. Maybe possible contenders in the NFC South for once?
26. New York Giants
After an epic failure of a season, the Giants are looking to bounce back to their former Patriots stopping, Super Bowl winning glory. With OBJ demanding more money in his contract the Giants are looking to keep him despite the obvious “for sale” sign on the door. Once/if OBJ is dealt, the Giants could look to bolster a secondary that they depleted. They could also add in an understudy for Giants QB Eli Manning to mentor.
25. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo has shipped off and traded most of their offensive players this offseason. However, they traded up in the draft to pop in rookie players in spots they desperately need help. The Bills are still looking to trade up again to secure a QB since shipping QB Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland.
24. Denver Broncos
The Broncos have made moves to keep their wide receivers and add an actual QB to their ranks. QB Trevor Siemian has been shipped off to the Vikings for picks, and Aqib Talib has been shipped off for picks as well to the Rams. They also traded some picks for Sue Cravens. Hopefully Elway still has the touch in their player merry-go-round and this does not come back to bite them.
23. New York Jets
The Jets have been busy living up to the promises GM Mike Maccagnan vouched in the pre-offseason. Having $90+ million to burn, the Jets signed many free agents to fill holes in a terrible offense and even worse defense. Hopefully, Trumaine Johnson and Avery Williamson can help on defense. Re-signing Josh McCown and adding Terrelle Pryor can help the offense get into a rhythm. All of this could add up to developing the possible, and very likely, drafted QB.
22. Chicago Bears
The Bears have been busy this offseason giving Trubisky plenty of weapons on offense. They added a few new WRs and stacked up their defense and special teams. If Trubisky’s sophomore year at QB is a better one, we could see the Bears coming into a new era.
21. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys overhauled their offensive line by adding more wide receivers and O-Line players to protect Dak from blitzes. These include Cameron Fleming and Joe Looney. The big question now is do they bring their free agents back into the fold or is it draft shopping season?
20. Seattle Seahawks
After dropping Richard Sherman, the Seahawks went on a cap space cut craze. They dropped Jeremy Lane and traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles for a WR and pick. They recouped their losses by adding a lot of players for cheap and even signing a number of practice squad players.
19. Atlanta Falcons
After losing a lot of players to free agency like Adrian Clayborn and Dontre Poe, the Falcons are looking less like the Super Bowl bound champs. Currently, they look more like the ones that blew the major lead to the Patriots two years ago. Maybe they are going into the draft to plug a lot of holes, but they need to make changes now.
18. Washington Redskins
After getting QB Alex Smith in a trade with the Chiefs, it seemed as though the Redskins were making the right moves. However, they hurt themselves by giving up key players on defense. Maybe they will recoup their losses in the draft, but they have more holes to fill on offense. This especially in the wide receiver position before they fill the defense.
17. Tennessee Titans
The Titans cleaned house by kicking out older players like DeMarco Murray, Matt Cassel and even some of their coaching staff. They brought in only coaches and staff, no players. While losing quite a few, this team is talented and could be a potential wildcard contender.
16. Kansas City Chiefs
With Mr. Smith going to Washington and rookie Patrick Mahomes thrust into the spotlight, the Chiefs are placing a large gamble on their second year QB. But with weapons like RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce and newest WR Sammy Watkins, it is a nice safety net for Mahomes to play around in.
15. Detroit Lions
The Lions dropped their tight end in a cap space move and added two-time Super Bowl champ LeGarrette Blount to their backfield. This as well as former Jets’ center Wesley Johnson. If this pans out, the Lions could make a playoff run and finally make their mark.
14. Carolina Panthers
After adding Poe from free agency and getting Torrey Smith in a trade with Philly, the Panthers are a good-looking team. If Cam Newton can keep himself from getting hurt they could make another trip to the Super Bowl.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore has an interesting situation on their hands. They lost a veteran running back when Danny Woodhead retired and they cut DB Webb and WR Jeremy Maclin. Yet, they added WR Michael Crabtree and WR John Browns. While Flacco has a lot of work ahead of him to make this work, hopefully, his O-Line can protect him first.
12. Oakland Raiders
When Jon Gruden came back to football he promised to take it back to 1990s which is both scary good and terribly bad. Gruden didn’t sit idly by while other teams where grabbing their dream players. Rather, he came onto the scene and walked out with RB Doug Martin, TE Derek Carrier, FB Keith Smith, WR Jordy Nelson, S Marcus Gilchrist and LB Tahir Whitehead. These are all upgrades to his current line. He even managed to get in a trade or two.
11. San Francisco 49ers
After Jimmy G’s famous entrance from out of Tom Brady’s shadow and into the spotlight, the 49ers newest QB has what it takes to help them. Coupled that with Richard Sherman on defense and Jerrick McKinnon in the backfield, the 49ers will come busting onto the scene. This even with a brand spanking new(ish) O-Line.
10. Houston Texans
After QB sensation Deshaun Watson went down after suffering a season-ending injury in practice, the Texans were forced to use their back up QB Tom Savage. This allowed them to find more tools for Watson when he returns. If Watson comes back to a team that added a new O-Line and the Honey Badger, things will be looking different in the AFC South.
9. Green Bay Packers
After Aaron Rodgers went down last season and Brett Huntley stepped in, the Packers were forced to identify all weaknesses. Now they need to address them. They released Jordy Nelson, picked up former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson and traded CB Damerious Randell for QB Deshone Kiser (with picks being exchanged as well). Will this interesting cutting of talent help them or hurt them?
8. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have been busy this offseason, nabbing Pro-Bowl center Mike Pouncey and kicker Caleb Sturgis to help with their offense and special teams. The Chargers are looking right this year to make it to the playoffs. Who they pick in the draft and add in the meantime will determine if that it’s true or not.
7. Minnesota Vikings
After giving Kirk Cousins a massive (and fully guaranteed) $84 million deal, the Vikings are looking for a rhythm again. After losing a few players to free agency, the Vikings added former Jet/Seahawk DT Sheldon Richardson and received QB Trevor Siemian in a trade with the Broncos. Will this be another playoff team? Or will it be all smoke and mirrors?
6. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were the favorite in the NFC to win the Superbowl behind the arm of Jared Goff and the speedster Todd Gurley. That didn’t happen. Hopefully, they can regain their playoff form after losing a few big name players to free agency like Trumaine Johnson. Under rookie Head Coach Sean McVay the Rams could be the new powerhouse in the West Coast if everything is firing on all cylinders.
5. New Orleans Saints
The Saints had a tremendous season last year after adding Marshon Lattimore. Now with the Jets former LB Demario Davis locked in after a great season and Brees back in the fold, things could be looking good for the Saints. If they could re-sign the rest of their defense and add in another wide receiver this team could make another playoff run. Hopefully this time around, the brown bags stay at home.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have brought back the Killer “B”s: Bell, Ben, and Brown. But will that be enough against the revamped Browns? After an uneventful offseason, they only managed to re-sign players and add one big name, Morgan Burnett to the defense. Will Big Ben have a better season than last year after the Jacksonville game? Will Brown play assuming there is no deal? Big questions the Steelers have to answer.
3. New England Patriots
The Patriots are the comeback kids so long as Tom Brady is under center. They started the season with a defense that made the Jets look good. The offense was not firing on all cylinders and then all of a sudden both sides of the football were plowing through every team they encountered. That will not be the case this year. After losing Solder, Fleming, and Amendola to FA, a lot of talent is now missing. Signing Clayborn, Patterson and Jeremy Hill, this is not the same squad that Tom Brady is used to. Tom Brady, in effect, is another year older and father time is starting to catch up with him. Can he escape him again?
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars went from being the Cinderella story to an actual playoff contender. With the addition of Former Jet TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and locking up Blake Bortles, it is safe to say the Jaguars could be looking at a return trip. If the defense can come back and be dominate like they were in the 2017 season, they sure can punch another ticket to the playoffs. However, they need an offense to secure the spot. With the release of a few key offensive players, only time will tell if they made the right moves.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
With the Super Bowl Champions adding weapons this offseason from Michael Bennett to Mike Wallace and re-signing most of their players, it is no secret they are the favorite to win again this coming season. But the nagging question that everyone is asking is how will Carson Wentz be? After going down last season due to a nasty torn ACL and LCL, most fans are wondering if he will be his MVP caliber again. Will Nick Foles have to take over again to allow Wentz to fully recuperate? Assuming Foles is still with the Eagles at the start of the season.