Power Rankings - Post-Draft
With the 2019 NFL Draft over, it’s time to look at how the teams stack up at this point in the season. It’s important to note that we have not yet seen any of the drafted players participate in an NFL game, and therefore we can only use our best judgement as to how likely any player is to affect their team. Let’s dive in!
1) New England Patriots
As reigning Super Bowl Champions (for the sixth time), the Patriots were always likely to be at the top of this list. Furthermore, they have added good players at key positions in the draft - WR N’keal Harry, CB Joejuan Williams and DE Chase Winovich are the standouts for me. And their only real loss was TE Rob Gronkowski whose contributions to the team last season were limited until the playoffs.
2) Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have been quietly building a superb team over the last few years and we saw some of the fruits of that last season. Arguably, QB Philip Rivers is a limiting factor at this stage of his career, but with DE Joey Bosa and TE Hunter Henry back from injuries that sidelined them most of last season, this team is already better even before we consider their draft picks. DT Jerry Tillery and S Nasir Adderley are talented players with massive upside potential in the NFL.
3) New Orleans Saints
The Saints are undoubtedly a talented team and many rankings have them first or second. However, I’m not convinced that the loss of RB Mark Ingram is a good thing for this offence even considering the immense talent of star back Alvin Kamara. I’m also unsure that Drew Brees will not become a limiting factor, especially as the season wears on. That said, TE Jared Cook is a solid free agency addition and I’m hearing good things about several members of their draft class.
4) Los Angeles Rams
The Rams had a tremendous 2018 season culminating in a trip to the Super Bowl where QB Jared Goff drew criticism for a deer-in-the-headlights performance. He will have learned from this and will carry that experience into the 2019 season with something of a point to prove. This Rams side is loaded and the return of WR Cooper Kupp from a torn ACL will be a massive boost for this offence.
5) Green Bay Packers
The Packers are in the best shape they’ve been in for years with QB Aaron Rodgers looking, at this stage, to be completely healthy. As I said in my draft round-up article, all four of their draft picks from the first two days were, in my opinion, top-5 prospects at their position and I’m looking forward to seeing the difference they will make in this Packers side.
6) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs’ offence with outstanding QB Patrick Mahomes was masterful and incredibly compelling to watch. They will, however, be without RB Kareem Hunt and WR Tyreek Hill who have both had issues off the field. Last season, this team was hampered by issues on defence which will either be resolved or magnified by the various transactions in the offseason as well as the hiring of a new defensive coordinator who is implementing a new defensive scheme.
7) Indianapolis Colts
With QB Andrew Luck back in the fold, this team looked really promising last season. They have a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball including last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year LB Darius Leonard. They have continued to add strong, physical players through the offseason and I would expect them to perform well.
8) Cleveland Browns
The Browns have a phenomenal roster - I would say the best in the league right now. Even with talent on both sides of the ball, they continued to add pieces this offseason - most notably WR Odell Beckham Jr. And in the draft they managed to get CB Greedy Williams in the second round which should be tremendous value. A team to watch this season - my pick for winners of the AFC North.
9) Chicago Bears
The Bears did not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft because of the Khalil Mack trade - a trade which has massively shaped this team for the better. When they finally did get to draft, their selections included RB David Montgomery - a top-3 prospect - and WR Riley Ridley whom I love. Not only were both picks excellent value, but they go some way to solving this team’s biggest problem let season by taking some of the pressure away from QB Mitch Trubisky.
10) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are a tremendous football team - one of the best rosters in the league. I think they are a shoo-in to win the NFC East this season and potentially do well in the postseason. Like the Bears, Dallas did not have a first-round pick having used theirs to acquire WR Amari Cooper who made an immediate impact in this offence last season. An unspectacular draft was not enough to drop this team out of the top-10.
11) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles added some really talented players in the draft including RB Miles Sanders and WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside. They also traded up in the first round to grab the best left tackle in the draft - Andre Dillard - a likely future replacement for Jason Peters. The biggest question mark for this team is star QB Carson Wentz and whether or not he can stay healthy.
12) Baltimore Ravens
This team changed massively when rookie QB Lamar Jackson took over from the veteran Joe Flacco - the whole offence was reinvigorated and Jackson’s unique skill set proved hard to defend against. This offseason, the Ravens have continued to build around Jackson with additions including charismatic WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
13) Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks signed franchise QB Russell Wilson to a massive contract in the offseason and drafted physical WR D.K. Metcalf as another target down the field. But they also lost S Earl Thomas and DE Frank Clark, and its extremely likely that both S Kam Chancellor and WR Doug Baldwin will never play another NFL snap. The Seahawks’ division is potentially looking much tougher this season and I’m not convinced this team will remain this high on the rankings.
14) Houston Texans
The Texans looked really promising last season with young QB Deshaun Watson looking particularly good at the helm of the offence. They were, however, let down by the worst offensive line in the league. They attempted to fix this in the draft with the selections of two offensive linemen but they missed out on Andre Dillard when the Eagles leapfrogged them. I may have them too high if this offensive line can’t protect Watson.
15) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have had a tumultuous offseason with the losses of RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown - both highly-regarded star players at their positions. QB Ben Roethlisberger is also starting to show his age. That said, they added several offensive pieces through the draft as well as trading up to get LB Devin Bush as a replacement for Ryan Shazier. I also think the Ravens and Browns have better rosters right now making this a tough division for Steelers to win.
16) Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings had a great season in 2017 and thought they had improved last season by replacing journeyman QB Case Keenum with Kirk Cousins on a then-record contract. However, the offence struggled in almost all areas and Cousins looked overwhelmed. The Vikings used the draft to add several new offensive playmakers and will hope to recapture the form of that 2017 season.
17) San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have improved massively on both sides of the ball this offseason. They added veteran DE Dee Ford and drafted DE Nick Bosa as well as adding LB Kwon Alexander to the defence. On the offensive side, they drafted two wide receivers including highly-ranked prospect Deebo Samuel as well as adding free agent RB Tevin Coleman. AND they get franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo back from his 2018 season-ending ACL tear. This roster is stacked and I predict they will make the playoffs this year.
18) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have, in recent years, failed to live up to their 2016 season form which included an ultimately unsuccessful trip to Super Bowl LI. The Falcons used their first round pick and traded up for another to add Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary to bolster that offensive line, hopefully better protecting Matt Ryan and allowing him to get the ball more often into the hands of last year’s first-round pick WR Calvin Ridley - a player I love.
19) Buffalo Bills
The Bills got their franchise QB Josh Allen in the 2018 draft and his week 3 hurdle of Vikings LB Anthony Barr was my favourite moment of last season. This year they drafted some big-name prospects - DT Ed Oliver, OT Cody ford and RB Devin Singletary as well as adding several players including WR Cole Beasley, WR John Brown and RB Frank Gore in free agency. This team is starting to look like a playoff contender.
20) Oakland Raiders
The Raiders made one of the biggest splashes of free agency by signing former Steelers WR Antonio Brown to add some real firepower to this offence. They also had a ton of draft picks including some acquired in the much-maligned trades of DE Khalil Mack and WR Amari Cooper. They used these to mostly great effect including adding the best RB in the draft - Josh Jacobs as well as top safety prospect Jonathan Abram.
21) Denver Broncos
The Broncos are still playing musical quarterbacks, bailing on Case Keenum after one season and signing free agent veteran Joe Flacco as well as drafting promising talent Drew Lock. Hopefully Lock will prove to be their franchise guy and GM John Elway can finally relax. Elsewhere, they traded down ten places in the first round and still managed to get Iowa TE Noah Fant - my early pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
22) Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags are another team coming trying to regain the form of a previous season after a tough 2018. They finally got rid of mediocre QB Blake Bortles and signed Super Bowl winner Nick Foles, will be interesting to see if that works out. They got incredible value with their first two 2019 draft picks, adding highly-ranked DE Josh Allen and OT Jawaan Taylor, two guys who massively improve this roster.
23) Washington Redskins
The Redskins are another team who have been searching for their franchise QB - a lot of people now think that search is over with the selection of Dwayne Haskins, a guy who was top QB on some draft boards. Not content, they traded back into the first round to select DE Montez Sweat - another highly-ranked prospect. Stanford RB Bryce Love was also a great addition, in my opinion.
24) New York Jets
The Jets, like their division rivals in Buffalo, acquired their franchise QB in the 2018 draft. They used the offseason to add star former-Steeler Le’Veon Bell as RB1 and drafted one of the best players available - DT Quinnen Williams. They also have a new Head Coach in Adam Gase as well as new uniforms. This is a franchise desperately trying to rebuild.
25) Tennessee Titans
The Titans had a fantastic draft with great selections including DT Jeffery Simmons and WR A.J. Brown. This was already a roster with several strong players in key positions but Titans fans will be hoping their draft picks can elevate the team to a playoff berth. The biggest issue for me is whether QB Marcus Mariota can finally prove his worth as an NFL quarterback.
26) Detroit Lions
The Lions are entering their second season with former-Patriots coordinator Matt Patricia as head coach. They made several notable additions in free agency including former-patriot WR Danny Amendola and former-patriot DE Trey Flowers, and in the first round of the draft they added stud TE T.J. Hockenson. This roster now has a lot of talented players but, with the Lions playing in a division that includes the Packers and the Bears, I need to see more before they can rise any higher in the rankings.
27) Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are another team with a lot of talented players - standout for me is RB Christian McCaffrey who had a breakout season in 2018. In the draft, the big news was the addition of promising DE Brian Burns to revitalise this defence. QB Cam Newton will also have some competition/backup in the form of third-round selection Will Grier - a top-5 QB on most draft boards.
28) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are coming off 2 consecutive 5-11 seasons and looking to newly-hired veteran head coach Bruce Arians to bring some success to Tampa. The Bucs have struggled on both sides of the ball in recent years and first-round selection LB Devin White is almost guaranteed to make a massive difference in this defence. On the offensive side, it is hoped that Bruce Arians will be able to coach some QB Jameis Winston to deliver at the level many believed he would.
29) Arizona Cardinals
The Cards made waves in the league after replacing first-round QB Josh Rosen after only one season where he was impacted by a genuinely awful offensive line. No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray is an exciting QB prospect and will arguably be a much better fit in new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air raid” offence. Other talented picks include CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, WR Hakeem Butler and S Deionte Thompson.
30) Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins’ biggest offseason move was the mid-draft acquisition of former-Cardinals QB Josh Rosen for a second round pick after he was selected only a year ago at no. 9 overall. Rosen is a talented QB who, I believe, can elevate this Dolphins offence, and first-round selection DT Christian Wilkins should be able to do the same on the opposite side of the ball.
31) New York Giants
The Giants have had a hard time this offseason, especially in the media, seemingly unable to put a foot right. I wrote an article about the Giants recently evaluating some of the issues they currently face and what the issues are. I like the Daniel Jones pick - they have to replace Manning and Jones is in a similar mould - he is a talented passer and I think also, importantly, franchise material off-the-field.
32) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are a tough team to love right now. I think they drafted well though - OT Jonah Williamson is a top player who will protect the middling Andy Dalton and his eventual successor. Maybe that successor isn’t so far off. The Bengals drafted QB Ryan Finley in round 4 - could be a masterful move if he turns out to be really good.
It will be interesting to see how these rankings change over the course of the 2019 season. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.