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NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After the 2019 NFL Draft?

NFL Staff

We've passed another significant signpost on the way to Miami and Super Bowl LIV. Beginning with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray on Thursday and ending with UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson, over 250 young players were drafted over the weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.

Many others were then inked by teams as undrafted free agents.

Just as with free agency in March, this influx of new talent has had a significant impact on rosters around the NFL. And while there will be another wave of free agency after the draft, we now have a pretty good idea what each team will look like in 2019.

Knowing that, there's only one thing to do. Rank them, of course.

That's just what Bleacher Report NFL analysts Brent Sobleski, Brad Gagnon and Gary Davenport have gathered to do: rank all 32 teams in the National Football League, from an AFC East squad that may or may not be tanking to another that's the defending Super Bowl champion.

Let's get to it.


32. Miami Dolphins

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

High: 32

Low: 32

There's been a lot of talk of the Miami Dolphins "tanking" in 2019. And for good reason, as most of the offseason has been spent cutting veteran players and clearing cap space.

The belief was that Miami's master plan involved punting on this season in an effort to secure a high pick in next year's draft—a draft loaded with talent at the quarterback position.

Miami's draft would seem to bear that out. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is a talented player who fills a need, but the No. 13 overall pick is perhaps the only member of the Dolphins class with a realistic shot at making an impact in 2019.

However, the Dolphins may have accelerated the rebuild a bit when they obtained 2018 No. 10 pick Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a late second-rounder and a Day 3 pick in 2020.

Rosen's no sure bet after a disastrous rookie season in the desert. But he was ostensibly a Top 10 pick for a reason, and the acquisition is essentially a no-risk, low-cost move for Miami's new regime.

It's going to take time for the Dolphins to climb back to respectability. But if the Rosen deal is any indication, this new braintrust knows what it's doing.

31. Arizona Cardinals

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

High: 30

Low: 31

Well, new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury got his man.

In selecting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft (and spending a top-10 pick on a signal-caller for the second consecutive season), the Cardinals made it clear they are behind their new head coach—ready to turn the page toward a new (and hopefully brighter) future.

However, the worst team in the NFL last year still faces more questions than answers. That new quarterback is undersized. That new head coach had a sub-.500 record in the Big 12. The offensive line tasked with protecting Murray in 2019 allowed over 50 sacks a year ago. The skill-position talent around Murray isn't especially formidable, although it's better with the addition of Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. And a defense that ranked 20th in the NFL last year has a new coordinator and issues of its own.

The Murray pick may have injected some hope into a beleaguered fanbase, but it's still shaping up to be a long season in the Valley of the Sun.

30. New York Giants

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

High: 27

Low: 31

If anyone out there understands what the New York Giants are doing this offseason, do the rest of us a favor and clue us in.

There has essentially been one move the Giants have made that made some sense: flipping edge-rusher Olivier Vernon to Cleveland for guard Kevin Zeitler. Even that badly needed help on the O-line came at a high price.

Outside of that? The Giants sold arguably the NFL's best receiver in the NFL in Odell Beckham Jr. for 40 cents on the dollar and then used the 17th overall pick obtained in that deal to draft a nose tackle. With the sixth overall pick, New York took a quarterback (Daniel Jones of Duke) who probably would have been there at 17. It was a pick one AFC executive called "inexcusable" while speaking with B/R's Mike Freeman.

The 2018 season was a 5-11 disaster for the Giants. But if the months that have passed since are any indication, the worst is yet to come.

"When you use a top-10 pick on a guy who you admit won't play a role for years to come, you're not looking to compete immediately," Gagnon wrote. "That's clearly the case with the Giants, who are essentially tanking for more talent in the 2020 draft after taking projects Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence in the Top 20." 

29. Cincinnati Bengals

John Minchillo/Associated Press

High: 24

Low: 30

It's a time of great change for the Cincinnati Bengals. After 16 years in the Queen City, head coach Marvin Lewis was shown the door. It now falls on first-time head coach Zac Taylor to try to get the Bengals out of the AFC North basement.

Taylor has his work cut out for him.

In fairness, the Bengals have some talent on offense. Quarterback Andy Dalton's no superstar, but he's had his moments in the NFL. Joe Mixon is a rising young tailback. A.J. Green is one of the best wide receivers in the league. And the Bengals bolstered the offensive line in this year's draft with the addition of tackle Jonah Williams and guard Michael Jordan.

But the defense is a hot mess.

No team in the NFL allowed more yards per game than the 413.6 the Bengals surrendered in 2018. And with Vontaze Burfict gone, an already shaky linebacking corps looks that much weaker.

In a loaded AFC North, it could be a long first season for Taylor in Cincy.

28. Washington Redskins

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

High: 24

Low: 29

We're about to say something that may be a harbinger of the Apocalypse.

The Washington Redskins, in adding Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Mississippi State edge-rusher Montez Sweat, may have had the best first round of any team in the NFL.

The addition of Haskins, along with the earlier acquisition of veteran signal-caller Case Keenum, solidifies a quarterback position that was thrown into chaos when Alex Smith got hurt.

Sweat joins a Washington front seven that already featured Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis and second-year pro Da'Ron Payne. Inside linebacker Reuben Foster also won't face any further league discipline after the situation that led to his release last year in San Francisco.

The Redskins still have problems; specifically, the skill positions on offense around Keenum and Haskins are a looming weakness. And Washington—on paper—remains the third-best team in the NFC East.

But it may be internal strife that ultimately dooms Washington, as Sobleski explained: 

"Washington's initial standing is a reflection of potential inner-team turmoil more so than anything it accomplished this offseason. The franchise crushed the draft with the additions of quarterback Dwayne Haskins, defensive end Montez Sweat, wide receiver Terry McLaurin and running back Bryce Love. Where head coach Jay Gruden stands in relation to the front office and owner Daniel Snyder is in question, though. As good of a value as Haskins was with the 15th overall pick, he isn't exactly an ideal fit in the coach's offensive scheme. Furthermore, the lines of communication seemed to break down at points this offseason. Washington may have drafted much better than expected, but the same lingering organizational issues exist."    

27. Oakland Raiders

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

High: 23

Low: 29

There were three teams that eventually wound up with three picks in Round 1 of the 2019 draft. The Oakland Raiders were the first of those teams. It cost them quite a bit to land those picks: The trades that secured the No. 24 and No. 27 picks involved sending edge-rusher Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper out of town.

Whether those trades were worth it is very much up for debate after a questionable first round by new Raiders GM Mike Mayock.

To be fair, Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell (No. 4), Alabama tailback Josh Jacobs (No. 24) and Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram (No. 27) are all capable players and likely starters. But running back and safety aren't premium positions, and most draftniks expected Ferrell to go substantially later in the round.

Still, two of the analysts here at B/R slotted Oakland ahead of the Broncos in the AFC West.

The third (Davenport) is more skeptical.

"Are the Raiders a better team now than they were two weeks ago? Yes. But the Silver and Black are still arguably the weakest team in the AFC West—and one of the weaker in all of the NFL," he said.

26. New York Jets

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

High: 23

Low: 28

Credit where it's due; the New York Jets certainly didn't sit on their hands this offseason.

Coming off a 4-12 season that got Todd Bowles fired and netted the Jets the third overall pick in 2019, the team hired an offensive-minded head coach in Adam Gase and spent big bucks on both sides of the ball on a free-agent class headlined by tailback Le'Veon Bell and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley.

The Jets also added a potential difference-maker on defense with that third pick in Alabama tackle Quinnen Williams—a player many considered the top overall prospect in this class.

All are moves that offer optimism for the future. But question marks remain—the biggest among them a pass rush that has very little in the way of edge-rushing talent.

The Jets have positioned young quarterback Sam Darnold to get better in 2019, but it's going to be another year or two before this team has any legitimate shot at contending for a playoff spot.

But uniforms!

25. Denver Broncos

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

High: 21

Low: 28

The good news for the Denver Broncos in 2019 is that the first two days of the draft were kind to them. The Broncos nabbed an athletic, field-stretching tight end in Noah Fant, a versatile, hard-nosed offensive lineman in Dalton Risner and fell into the quarterback the team reportedly coveted when Missouri's Drew Lock slipped into the second round.

Denver also had a pretty good free-agency period, acquiring a solid right tackle in Ja'Wuan James and a solid veteran defensive back in Kareem Jackson.

However, the addition of Joe Flacco is at best a minor upgrade at quarterback over Case Keenum. A wide receiver position that was once a strength is now a potential weakness outside Emmanuel Sanders. And Denver did nothing to get better at inside linebacker.

That leads us to the bad news in Denver: Two of the three analysts here at Bleacher Report ranked the Broncos last in the AFC West.

And if that's where the team finishes, general manager John Elway could find himself on the hot seat.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

High: 19

Low: 28

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the teams breaking in a new head coach in 2019. But whereas teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns are rolling out first-time head coaches, the Buccaneers went the battle-tested route with Bruce Arians.

Despite the loss of players like DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, the Buccaneers are a team with quite a bit of offensive talent in the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard. Arians' aggressive offensive scheme appears tailor-made for quarterback Jameis Winston, who enters a make-or-break season.

But new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles faces a tough task. Rookie Devin White is an excellent replacement for Kwon Alexander at inside linebacker, but the pass rush and secondary are looming problem areas for a team that ranked 27th in total defense a year ago.

Those defensive issues will likely be too much for Tampa Bay to overcome in 2019. In fact, it will probably be something of an upset if the Buccaneers finish higher than fourth place in the NFC South.

23. Detroit Lions

Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

High: 16

Low: 26

The first year of the Matt Patricia era in Detroit didn't go so well—the Lions went 6-10, the team's fewest victories since 2012.

Little has happened this offseason to indicate the team's going to be substantially better in 2019.

Yes, the Lions spent major money in free agency on edge-rusher Trey Flowers. But Flowers has never posted a double-digit sack season. In fact, no one on the Detroit roster has had a double-digit sack season…ever.

The addition of tight end T.J. Hockenson was a good one, but it can be argued the Lions had bigger needs at No. 8 overall. Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai was something of a reach in Round 2—his range and coverage skills are areas of concern.

The cold, hard truth: Not only do the Lions have the look of the weakest team in the NFC North, but they look like the division's worst team by a sizable margin.

22. Tennessee Titans

Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

High: 18

Low: 24

Two years ago, the Tennessee Titans won a playoff game. A year ago, those same Titans narrowly missed the playoffs in Mike Vrabel's first year as head coach.

Regrettably, in 2019 that downward trend will most likely continue.

It's not that the Titans don't have talent. Tailback Derrick Henry emerged as a bruising force in 2018. Wide receiver Corey Davis started to show off the ability that made him a Top 10 pick. Jurrell Casey is one of the most underrated defensive ends in the game. Rookie wideout A.J. Brown gives the pass-catching corps a badly needed boost of talent.

But quarterback Marcus Mariota has struggled to stay healthy and now faces a potential QB controversy with Ryan Tannehill in town. Tennessee's pass rush was hit hard by roster attrition in the offseason. And that wideout group still features more questions than answers.

The Titans may well be the best last-place team in the NFL.

But that's apt to be little solace to the Titans or their fans.

21. Carolina Panthers

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

High: 20

Low: 22

Over the first half of the 2018 season, the Panthers were a 6-2 team that looked like a Super Bowl contender. Over the second half of the season, the Panthers were a 1-7 dumpster fire whose only win came in Week 17 against a Saints team that was resting starters.

There's been at least one major area of transition for the team in 2019. After trimming down the edge-rushers (including bidding adieu to Julius Peppers), the Panthers were precariously thin at that position. But veteran Bruce Irvin was brought in in free agency, and the Panthers used their first pick in this year's draft to add an Athletic EDGE in Florida State's Brian Burns.

Peppers wasn't the only aging vet whom they let go. With longtime stalwart Thomas Davis gone, the pressure is on for Shaq Thompson to make strides at linebacker. Mike Adams wasn't the player he used to be at safety, but his departure left a hole in the back end that wasn't filled in free agency or the draft.

Add in a somewhat shaky cadre of wide receivers in Charlotte (again), and while Carolina has a shot at contending in 2019, it's a time with more than one significant question hanging over it.

20. Seattle Seahawks

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

High: 15

Low: 22

If there were any questions before, there aren't now.

The days of a power running game and the Legion of Boom are over. The Seattle Seahawks are Russell Wilson's team now.

The Seahawks made that clear when they made Wilson the highest-paid player in the game. But that massive contract has consequences; part of the reason the Seahawks traded Frank Clark was likely borne of the financial reality that 18 percent of the team's salary cap is tied up in a single player.

The Seahawks are a good football team—a playoff team a year ago. And Seattle could easily be in the mix for at least a wild-card spot again this year.

But with Clark gone, the pass rush is now a potential problem. The wide receiver position could be as well if injuries force Doug Baldwin to retire.

The Seahawks attempted to address both of those areas in this year's draft, but if picks like L.J. Collier and D.K. Metcalf don't pan out relatively quickly, the Seahawks could be in trouble.

19. Baltimore Ravens

Nick Wass/Associated Press

High: 13

Low: 26

There's quite a bit of disparity in our analysts' assessment of the defending AFC North champions in 2019. One has the Ravens ranked inside the top 15. Another has them slotted outside the top 25.

The higher ranking may be due to Baltimore's run to the postseason a year ago, the promising rookie season of quarterback Lamar Jackson and an offense that added veteran tailback Mark Ingram and a pair of rookie receivers in Oklahoma's Marquise Brown and Notre Dame's Miles Boykin.

The lower ranking may be due to a defense that lost its two best edge-rushers (Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith) and top inside linebacker (C.J. Mosley). Or the fact that over Baltimore's last couple of games last season, defenses appeared to figure Jackson and Baltimore's run-heavy offense out.

If the Ravens can still get pressure on opposing quarterbacks this year despite those losses and Jackson improves as a passer, the Ravens will be a force to be reckoned with in their division.

But if the defense backslides and Jackson's development stalls, the Ravens could also be a prime candidate to regress in 2019.

18. Buffalo Bills

Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

High: 15

Low: 22

The Buffalo Bills won six games last year, which on the surface isn't that impressive. But that 6-10 record is better than most expected in 2018 in Josh Allen's first season.

And the team appears substantially better now.

The Bills spent big money on the offense in free agency, adding linemen like Mitch Morse and Ty Nsekhe, wide receivers like John Brown and Cole Beasley and depth at tailback in Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon.

The Bills brought in even more backfield depth on Day 2 in Devin Singletary. But it wasn't that selection that has Gagnon saying a word fans in Buffalo haven't heard much over the last 20 years:

"Top picks Ed Oliver and Cody Ford are positioned to make major impacts immediately for a Bills team that was already much improved following a strong run in free agency. They've added plenty of experience in support of emerging quarterback Josh Allen on the offensive side of the ball, and they're well-positioned to make a playoff run if Allen can continue to improve in 2019."

This feels like a good time for some classic Mora.

17. Atlanta Falcons

John Amis/Associated Press

High: 14

Low: 21

The 2018 season was a miserable one for the Atlanta Falcons. The team was beset by injuries to significant players on both sides of the ball, whether it was tailback Devonta Freeman, linebacker Deion Jones or safety Keanu Neal.

The health of those players is more important to the Falcons in 2019 than any additions the team made this year. Without Jones and Neal, the defense crumbled. With tailback Tevin Coleman now in San Francisco, there's that much more pressure on Freeman to carry the ground game.

There's also been a coaching shakeup on both sides of the ball. Both coordinators were let go in the offseason—head coach Dan Quinn will be taking over the defensive play-calling, while Dirk Koetter was brought in to get the offense back on track.

The right side of the offensive line was remade this year with a pair of first-round picks, but the key to getting back into contention for these Falcons remains staying off the trainer's table.

16. San Francisco 49ers

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

High: 17

Low: 18

Here we go again.

At this time a year ago, the San Francisco 49ers were one of the most hyped teams in the NFL after a wildly aggressive offseason from general manager John Lynch.

Then, injuries eviscerated the roster and everything fell apart—so much so that the 49ers wound up with the second overall pick in this year's draft.

That pick was used on Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, who joins fellow newcomer to San Francisco Dee Ford on a front that includes no less than three other former first-rounders in DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas. The 49ers also spent big bucks to upgrade the linebacking corps with the addition of Kwon Alexander.

Lynch hit the offense, too. Tevin Coleman was brought in in free agency to bolster the backfield. The 49ers spent two Day 2 picks on wide receiver help in Jalen Hurd and Deebo Samuel, who has the look of a Day 1 starter.

This is a talented enough team to contend for a playoff spot if the 49ers can just stay healthy.

As we saw last year, though, that can be one whopper of an "if."

15. Minnesota Vikings

Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

High: 14

Low: 19

When the 2018 season opened, the Minnesota Vikings were the No. 1 team in the Bleacher Report NFL power rankings.


When the dust settled on the 2018 campaign, the Vikings held the dubious distinction of the NFL's most disappointing team—a preseason Super Bowl favorite that pitched and lurched its way to an 8-7-1 record.

In theory, the Vikings appear well-positioned to better that record in 2019. They didn't suffer any major losses in free agency, Minnesota is stocked with talent on both sides of the ball, and first-round pick Garrett Bradbury should help solidify an offensive line that was the team's biggest need this offseason.

And yet, Davenport expects the team to miss the playoffs yet again:

"The problem in Minnesota isn't hard to pinpoint. It's the guy making $56 million guaranteed over the next two years. Kirk Cousins isn't a bad quarterback necessarily. But he's not an especially good one, either—he's a stat padder who has consistently faltered in big games and against higher-end opposition over his career. His contract was an $84 million boondoggle, but there's little the Vikings can do about it at present."

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

High: 11

Low: 21

For much of this offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been a team badly in need of some good news. After sitting out all of the 2018 season, tailback Le'Veon Bell is now in New York. Wide receiver Antonio Brown's time with the team ended with a thud—he was traded to the Raiders for pennies on the dollar.

Yes, Pittsburgh still has James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. But losing two-thirds of the Killer B's was a massive blow. The Steelers had gaping holes at inside linebacker and in the secondary. And last year's nine wins were Pittsburgh's fewest since 2013.

Well, the Steelers got that good news in Round 1 of the 2019 draft. For the first time in many years, Pittsburgh moved up in the round to select a defensive player in Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. If Bush plays anywhere near his potential, the rangy inside 'backer will go a long way toward solving a problem that has existed since Ryan Shazier got hurt.

Pittsburgh remains a dangerous team, but in an AFC North that looks like one of the league's toughest divisions, there won't be much margin for error. However, Sobleski expects the Steelers to be in the thick of the division race this season:

"The Steelers aren't just going to lay down and concede the AFC North to the upstart Baltimore Ravens and much-improved Cleveland Browns. Yes, the organization finally moved on from running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown, but it continued to do what it does by drafting well. General manager Kevin Colbert's decision to move up 10 spots in the first round and fill the team's biggest need at inside linebacker with Devin Bush was nothing short of inspirational. Third-round cornerback Justin Layne may turn into the draft's biggest steal. The Steelers will be better on defense, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will keep the offense rolling even without Bell and Brown."

13. Houston Texans

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

High: 11

Low: 16

The Houston Texans were the AFC South champions in 2018 and remain a dangerous team in many respects.

Houston has an electrifying young quarterback in Deshaun Watson. One of the NFL's very best wide receivers and defensive players in DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt, respectively. And yet, none of the analysts here at Bleacher Report slotted the Texans as the best team in the AFC South.

Houston added two defensive backs in Tashaun Gipson and Bradley Roby in free agency, but those players aren't as good as the DBs Houston lost in Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu. An offensive line that allowed a staggering 62 sacks a year ago added pieces, but tackle Matt Kalil missed the entire 2018 season, and first-round pick Tytus Howard is a developmental prospect after playing at tiny Alabama State.

"The Texans could, in theory, beat out the Colts for the division title for the second straight year," Davenport said. "But if that line struggles again in 2019, they could also backslide and miss the playoffs altogether. Houston had one area where it absolutely had to improve in the offseason. And I don't know that it did enough in that regard."

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

Butch Dill/Associated Press


Low: 15

The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the more difficult teams in the NFL to peg. At this point last year, the Jaguars were garnering buzz as a Super Bowl contender after making the AFC Championship Game the prior year. But the 2018 season was a mess—the offense sputtered, the defense regressed, and the Jags missed the playoffs altogether.

The Jaguars were again one of the more talked-about teams of the offseason this year for a different reason. This time, it was the acquisition of Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles, the quarterback Jacksonville hopes will lead the team to the promised land.

Sobleski broke down what the Jaguars did in the draft to put them back on the right track:

"The Jacksonville Jaguars sit at a crossroads. The same organization that made an AFC Championship Game appearance two seasons ago can either return to elite status or continue to crumble after last year's devastating 5-11 campaign. Nick Foles' addition certainly helps after years of Blake Bortles. The team added the draft class' most productive edge-rusher in Josh Allen to help an already talented defense. It then found offensive value in the next two rounds with right tackle Jawaan Taylor and tight end Josh Oliver. Some roster holes can still be found, particularly at wide receiver, but the Jags appear ready to compete again."

11. Kansas City Chiefs

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

High: 8

Low: 13

The Kansas City Chiefs enjoyed a magical season last year, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading the team to the AFC title game and winning league MVP honors before the defense was eventually Kansas City's undoing.

The Chiefs will be fortunate to get that far again in 2019.

Yes, there have been numerous additions on defense as K.C. moves to a 4-3 base in 2019—safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive ends Frank Clark and Emmanuel Ogbah and cornerback Bashaud Breeland. But there have been just as many losses—safety Eric Berry, cornerback Steven Nelson and edge-rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston.

Treading water is not such a great idea when you finished the 2018 season 31st in total defense—especially when it also cost the team the 29th overall pick in this year's draft.

There are looming problems on offense as well: The depth in the backfield isn't great, and top wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been barred from all team activities and could be facing a lengthy suspension—at least.

Gagnon believes the Chiefs' anticlimactic offseason puts them behind the eight ball:

"Patrick Mahomes is special, but he'll have his work cut out for him in 2019. And it goes beyond the Tyreek Hill debacle. The Chiefs spent the offseason running on a hamster wheel in an attempt to fix the defense, and the decision to trade for Frank Clark after dealing away Dee Ford was just silly. The pass rush took a step back with Justin Houston's departure, and the secondary doesn't look to be dramatically improved. Throw in that they didn't have a first-round pick as a result of the Clark trade, and it was an ugly March/April for Kansas City. The AFC West is the Chargers' division now."

Supporters of the team will point to the additions at wide receiver, running back and cornerback made in the 2019 draft, but can second-round pick Mecole Hardman come close to matching Hill's production?

10. Dallas Cowboys

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

High: 9

Low: 12

It's hardly news to say the Dallas Cowboys have aspirations of playing in the Super Bowl this year. The Cowboys have aspirations of playing in the Super Bowl every year.

This year, though, those aspirations are realistic.

The Cowboys have one of the better defenses in the NFL and took steps to keep things that way, signing top pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence to a massive extension. The addition of wide receiver Amari Cooper during the 2018 season seems to have been worth the first-round pick it cost the Cowboys.

But those aspirations also come with considerable pressure. The Cowboys aren't exactly swimming in cap space, and large extensions loom for Cooper, quarterback Dak Prescott and tailback Ezekiel Elliott. And with the exception of some OL depth/insurance in Connor McGovern, there wasn't much done in the draft that's going to significantly alter the team's fortunes in 2019.

The Cowboys will be a good team in 2019—arguably the best in the NFC East. The team's championship window is open. How long that window stays open is another matter.

And that leaves the Cowboys with precious little margin for error.

9. Green Bay Packers

Mike Roemer/Associated Press

High: 6

Low: 12

The Green Bay Packers would likely just as soon forget the 2018 season ever happened. Despite having Aaron Rodgers under center for all 16 games after an injury-marred 2017, the Packers won just six games—the team's fewest victories in a decade.

That miserable season had consequences—namely the firing of longtime head coach Mike McCarthy. As Matt LaFleur prepares to coach his first NFL game, he's in something of an enviable position among this year's new head coaches.

Depth at wide receiver behind Davante Adams is a question mark, but there's plenty of offensive talent in Titletown for a healthy Rodgers to do some damage. Randall Cobb is gone, but there's still a young wideout corps that showed flashes, a veteran tight end in Jimmy Graham and a talented young tailback in Aaron Jones who might actually get to touch the ball now.

And as Gagnon said, Green Bay also took a buzzsaw to the defense in the offseason:

"Green Bay entered the offseason in need of a defensive transformation, and general manager Brian Gutekunst didn't disappoint. With Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary joining the fray up front and Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. added to the secondary, the Packers suddenly have one of the most talented defenses in the NFL. And let's not forget they have a guy named Aaron Rodgers, who wasn't healthy or in a good environment last season. That should change in 2019."

8. Cleveland Browns

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

High: 7

Low: 9

Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey is trying to set a speed record for turning an NFL tomato can into a contender.

The Browns already went from 0-16 to 7-8-1 in Dorsey's first year as GM. Then, he once again attacked the roster, swinging a pair of marquee trades with the New York Giants that brought edge-rusher Olivier Vernon and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to Northeast Ohio.

Then, despite not having a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Dorsey was able to land a Round 1 talent when LSU cornerback Greedy Williams fell into the team's lap at No. 46.

It wasn't that long ago that the "Clowns" were an NFL punchline—one of the most hapless franchises in all of professional sports.

Now, the team is the odds-on favorite to win the AFC North, and enthusiasm has swept through the fanbase like wildfire.

Of course, that enthusiasm brings with it something else—something that's been foreign to Cleveland essentially since the team returned to the NFL two decades ago.

The expectation to win.

7. Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press


Low: 10

It's Carson's show now.

In each of the last two years, the Philadelphia Eagles were forced to turn to backup quarterback Nick Foles after Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury. That won't be an option for the team in 2019—Foles will be leading the Jaguars this year.

That makes Wentz's health the biggest potential concern looming over the team. It isn't the only one; with Jordan Hicks gone, the middle linebacker spot is iffy, and the trade of Michael Bennett was a blow to the defensive line.

But the Eagles added D-line help in free agency by signing tackle Malik Jackson and bringing back Vinny Curry, and two of Philly's first three draft picks (tackle Andre Dillard and wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside) were both excellent calls.

"If Carson Wentz's health holds up," Davenport said, "the Eagles are as talented and balanced as any team in the NFL. The Eagles are also as battle-tested and well-coached as any club in the league. With that said, there's no Plan B in 2019—if Wentz goes down (again), the Eagles are toast."

6. Chicago Bears

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

High: 4

Low: 8

The 2018 season may have ended with the most heart-wrenching double-doink in the history of the NFL, but there's no denying that the Chicago Bears had (in its totality) a good season in Matt Nagy's first year as head coach.

There's also plenty of room for optimism in 2019.

Yes, the Bears lost an important defensive contributor in safety Adrian Amos. But Chicago replaced him with a comparable talent in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix—on one of the most cost-effective contracts of the year.

The Bears also shipped tailback Jordan Howard out of town. But Iowa State tailback David Montgomery is a more well-rounded running back and quite possibly a sizable upgrade at the position.

Wide receiver Riley Ridley was another excellent get for the Bears in a draft in which Chicago had just five picks, shoring up a receiver corps that was among the team's weaker positional groups.

Now if the Bears can just get a damn kicker, they'll be in business.

5. Los Angeles Rams

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

High: 5

Low: 5

The Los Angeles Rams were NFC champions last year. And they remain a very dangerous team, featuring a potent offense and a talent-laden defense.

But there are a few areas of concern after the offseason so far.

The biggest is probably the interior of the offensive line, where the Rams saw the team's longest-tenured player leave in guard Rodger Saffold without taking any real steps to replace him.

It's a similar story at nose tackle. Any defensive line featuring Aaron Donald is going to be a formidable one, but the decision to allow Ndamukong Suh to walk leaves a sizable hole in the middle of L.A.'s front seven.

The Rams did at least gain a measure of insurance against Todd Gurley's arthritic knee. Late-season star C.J. Anderson is gone, but in adding Memphis tailback Darrell Henderson on Day 2 of the 2019 draft, the Rams got the most explosive ball-carrier in this draft class.

Henderson's more than just a complement to Gurley—he's a potential replacement.

4. Indianapolis Colts

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

High: 3

Low: 6

The Indianapolis Colts are the best team in the NFL no one's really talking about.

After a 1-5 start to the 2018 season, the Colts peeled off nine wins in 10 games to become the third team in NFL history to make the postseason after five losses in its first six games.

The team appears set for an even better 2019. The Colts didn't suffer any major losses, and while Indy wasn't especially active in free agency despite leading the NFL in cap space, the additions it did make (wide receiver Devin Funchess and edge-rusher Justin Houston) should make an immediate and substantial impact.

As Sobleski wrote, combined with a great 2019 draft, you have a dangerous team on paper:

"Brilliant drafting by general manager Chris Ballard turned the Indianapolis Colts from a crumbling and fading roster under previous head coach Chuck Pagano into one of the league's most talented teams. This year's draft class continued to build on last year's unbelievably talented group. Top pick Rock Ya-Sin is the most physical and competitive cornerback in the class. Ben Banogu provides an explosive and productive edge-rusher. Wide receiver Parris Campbell, meanwhile, brings blazing speed to pair with T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess. Oh yeah, Andrew Luck is still healthy. The Colts have a chance to blossom into the league's best team."

3. Los Angeles Chargers

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

High: 3

Low: 4

The 2019 iteration of the Los Angeles Chargers may well be the franchise's best team in a good long while. It's essentially the same team that won 12 games and a playoff game last year—and a team without any glaring weaknesses.

Yes, the Chargers lost wide receiver Tyrell Williams in free agency. But with youngster Mike Williams coming into his own last season, it was a blow the Chargers could absorb. In this year's draft, the Bolts added a ready-made replacement for Corey Liuget in Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and a talented young safety in Delaware's Nasir Adderley.

The Chargers have just as much offensive weaponry as the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Bolts are much more balanced. Tillery joins Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on one of the NFL's best defensive fronts, and Adderley and Derwin James form a formidable duo at safety.

The Chiefs may have been the talk of the division last year, but it's Los Angeles that is the team to beat in the AFC West in 2019.

2. New Orleans Saints

John Bazemore/Associated Press

High: 1

Low: 2

The offseason can be a time of great change for NFL teams. But apparently someone forgot to tell the New Orleans Saints, because the team looks essentially the same as it did at the end of the NFC Championship Game.

Yes, tailback Mark Ingram and center Max Unger are gone. But the Saints brought in Latavius Murray to fill Ingram's role and have a pair of potential replacements for Unger on hand in veteran Nick Easton and rookie second-rounder Erik McCoy.

The wide receivers behind Michael Thomas remain a concern, but the addition of tight end Jared Cook affords Drew Brees another weapon in the passing game and is a potential bargain at two years, $15 million after a Pro Bowl season in 2018.

The Saints were the NFC's No. 1 seed last year before losing the NFC title game in heartbreaking fashion to the Rams. And given how close the Saints came to Super Bowl LIII, the team appears to have adopted an offseason mantra…

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

1. New England Patriots

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

High: 1

Low: 2

It's been far from a spotless offseason for the defending Super Bowl champions. The team lost starting left tackle Trent Brown in free agency. And its best edge-rusher, Trey Flowers. And some passing-game weapons—most notably tight end Rob Gronkowski, who called it a career after nine standout seasons.

That's a lot of attrition. But if you were expecting to see Darth Hoodie and the Beantown Bradys listed lower here, sorry to disappoint you.

Davenport ranked the Patriots atop his power rankings for one simple reason: They are the Patriots.

"We've seen this movie how many times now? Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are two of the biggest reasons the Patriots have assembled the greatest dynasty in NFL history, but so is the fact that year after year, New England has been able to compensate for talent loss. They've already addressed the losses at wide receiver by adding N'Keal Harry with the final pick in Round 1. The Patriots are easily the best team in the AFC East, and until someone knocks them off their perch, New England's my pick to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV."


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