With the NFL draft wrapping up last Saturday, it gives fans a more clear of an idea of what to expect from their favorite teams. If the draft didn’t provide that clarity for you, no worries! Your Sconnie Sports Talk NFL Power Rankings are here to help provide some extra clarity for you.
1. The New England Patriots didn’t have a draft pick until the third round, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t improved over the offseason. With the addition of Brandin Cooks and Mike Gillisee, the Patriots offense has only gotten better since last season, despite not re-signing LeGarrette Blount. Oh yeah, and some guy named Rob Gronkowski is only getting healthier.
2. The Atlanta Falcons traded up in the first round to select Takkarist McKinley to help their pass rush, which struggled in the Super Bowl. Now they only have one question surrounding their team this offseason. Will their offense be as explosive as it was last year despite Kyle Shanahan leaving for San Francisco? I’m not too worried about it though thanks to the reigning league MVP, Matt Ryan.
3. The Dallas Cowboys know how good their offense was last season, thanks to rookie stars Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. That’s why they focused on their defense in this year’s draft, taking players like Taco Charlton and Chidobe Awuzie. As long as the Cowboys can manage to avoid the sophomore slump, they could have another season like the last one.
4. The Green Bay Packers recognized their need for a running back in this year’s draft, and took three of them. Any of them could be Green Bay’s featured back since the team released veteran Christine Michael. They also filled the holes in the secondary by drafting Kevin King and Josh Jones. The team seems to have completed their roster, and they even drafted a familiar face in Vince Biegel.
5. Despite their collapse against the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card Round last season, the New York Giants managed to put together a pretty good year. Their defense looked to be one of the best in the league, and they mostly kept it intact. They also were able to sign wide receiver Brandon Marshall this offseason, providing another target for Eli Manning alongside Odell Beckham Jr. The only thing the Giants are really lacking is a running back after releasing Rashad Jennings. Watch out New England, we know how scary this team can be once they get on a roll.
6. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Badger favorite T.J. Watt with the 30th overall pick. This is a perfect fit for T.J. (one that I actually predicted). The three ‘B’ dangerous weapons (Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger) on Pittsburgh’s offense will be back to doing their usual this year, unless their meltdown in Foxboro sticks around.
7. The Seattle Seahawks need help on their offensive line, and they didn’t draft any tackles until the sixth round. The Seahawks also don’t have a viable backup quarterback for Russell Wilson, which could be a issue considering how problematic their offensive line is. But Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor are still on their defense (for now) and are what helps rank Seattle so high.
8. The Oakland Raiders won the offseason for one reason: BEAST MODE IS BACK! The Raiders coaxed Marshawn Lynch out of retirement with a two-year deal and an injury cart full of Skittles. The Raiders fell apart last season due to Derek Carr’s injury, but Raider fans have nothing to worry about as they should be back to full force again this season.
9. The Kansas City Chiefs traded up in the first round to get Alex Smith’s successor in Patrick Mahomes II, which was as interesting a move as the Bears trading to get Trubisky. The Chiefs have a solid roster, a steady coach in Andy Reid, and a breakout star from last year in Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs will make it to the playoffs again this year.
10. The Houston Texans probably made the best move of all teams this offseason by dumping Brock Osweiler, his monster contract, and lacking talent onto the Browns. They then drafted (in my opinion) the best quarterback in the draft in Deshaun Watson. I like what they are doing over in Houston, and they deserve to round out the top 10.
11. The Detroit Lions made an impressive season out of last year despite unexpectedly losing Calvin Johnson to retirement. They drafted Jarrad Davis at linebacker in the first round, and essentially filled most of their team needs. The only other thing I would like to see Detroit add is a running back and the team is reportedly interested in LeGarrette Blount. Expect Detroit to make another Wild Card appearance.
12. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are definitely a team to watch for this season. They may be young, but they continuously have good drafts. Jameis Winston has a new target in O.J. Howard, who the Buccaneers were lucky enough to have drop to 19th overall. I’m high on the Buccaneers this season, and fully expect them to make the playoffs.
13. The Tennessee Titans had two excellent first-round draft picks in Corey Davis and Adoree’ Jackson. Marcus Mariota got another target in Davis, who could quite possibly be one of the best college receivers ever. The AFC South could be interesting this year, with the Colts, Texans and Titans all in the running (sorry Jacksonville).
14. John Elway’s Denver Broncos fell off the wagon after Peyton Manning retired last year and they lost Brock Osweiler to the Texans. Their defense was still one of the best in the league though, thanks to the help of Von Miller. They stole Jake Butt, the tight end out of Michigan, in the fifth round and recently added Jamaal Charles to their roster. In order to prevent becoming irrelevant like Chad Kelly, the Broncos need to step it up be to able to compete in the most competitive division in the league.
15. The Miami Dolphins are one of those teams that is just stuck in the middle. Nothing too great to boost them up, but nothing too bad to drop them down. The Dolphins had a decent draft, snagging linebackers Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan in the first and second rounds. With the defensive help, Miami could by eyeing another Wild Card spot this year.
16. The Indianapolis Colts shifted their focus to their defense during the draft, with six out of eight picks contributing to that side of the ball. Their first-round pick, Malik Hooker (safety out of Ohio State), shows potential to a team that was a contender just two seasons ago. This could be their year to bounce back on top with a healthy Andrew Luck and a young defense made of playmakers.
17. The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of doubters, but I am not one of them. The Vikings didn’t have a first-round pick this year (Sam Bradford trade), but they made up for it with one of the best second-round picks. With the departure of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings added Dalvin Cook to play alongside Latavius Murray. Their defense is still stout, and the only worrisome part of this team is their offensive line. If they can figure that out, they could be fighting for the NFC North title.
18. The Washington Redskins had a disappointing free agency period, losing their top two wide receivers in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson. Still, they kept Kirk Cousins and signed Zach Brown and Terrelle Pryor. The Redskins also got a steal, drafting Jonathan Allen in the first round, who was arguably one of the best players in all of college football last year. With the Giants and Cowboys fighting for the NFC East, Washington will be lucky to earn a playoff spot.
19. For the Arizona Cardinals, it seems so long ago that you guys were competing for the NFC title, but in reality that was only a season ago. The Cardinals took a massive step back last year, but show promise with star running back David Johnson. I also like their first two picks with Haason Reddick and Budda Baker, who could be just the pieces needed to get this team back to where they once were.
20. Carolina Panthers, remember when you guys went 15-1? The Super Bowl hangover was strong last year, and it doesn’t appear much has happened to change your fate. The Panthers did draft Stanford running back Christian McCaffery, who could be a good fit with the team. But don’t expect much from the Panthers as they have not gained enough this offseason to propel them back to the upper half of this list.
21. The Cincinnati Bengals picked up controversial running back Joe Mixon, but no one to block for him. Their offensive line is still a work in progress and they shouldn’t expect much from running backs. The Bengals did draft wide receiver John Ross, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash time. Ross and A.J. Green could make quite a pair at wideout this year.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: I thought about moving the Eagles up higher just because of how great they did hosting the draft. What an amazing crowd! I do expect Philadelphia to improve on what they started last year with rookie Carson Wentz. I don’t anticipate a slump from Wentz, who started out red-hot last year. This is a fairly young team, and I expect them to play like that.
23. Baltimore Ravens fans have claimed for years now that Joe Flacco is elite, but I don’t think they will be saying that this year. Thanks to Steve Smith Sr. retiring and Kamar Aiken leaving during free agency, Flacco has a small selection of players to throw the ball to. The Ravens didn’t help his cause either by drafting no pass catchers. With the Steelers in their division, it’s hard to see the Ravens making any kind of playoff run right now.
24. The New Orleans Saints definitely had a few people scratching their heads after the first round of the NFL draft last Thursday. With a defense that his been repulsive the past few years, it was puzzling on why they would take Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Ryan Ramcyzk. They added Adrian Peterson to their backfield, but lost star receiver Brandin Cooks in their trade that landed them Ramcyzk.
25. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette fourth overall. This was a gutsy pick by a team that needs to rely less on their quarterback, and it appears they plan on doing just that with the addition of Fournette and OT Cam Robinson to help block. Jacksonville’s defense could look to improve with their second-year players in Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. Expect Jacksonville to take a few steps in the right direction this year, but not nearly enough to make the playoffs.
26. Los Angeles Chargers: The only move this team has really made this offseason was from San Diego to Los Angeles. After Keenan Allen went down early last season, Philip Rivers was left with basically nothing at wide receiver. The Chargers were smart in drafting Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, as he will fit in well with Rivers. Don’t expect much from the Chargers this season in a division that is full of competition.
27. The Los Angeles Rams had a disappointing return to the west coast last year, but they have a few things to look forward to. They hired former Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to take over their defense. They also have second-year quarterback and former first-overall pick Jared Goff, who is likely to see more playing time this year. If the Rams are lucky, Todd Gurley will snap out of his sophomore slump.
28. The Buffalo Bills have to be one of the most confusing teams in the NFL. They fired general manager Doug Whaley this week after the draft. Whaley was also involved with the hiring of Sean McDermott. The bottom line here is that the Bills are confusing. Next.
29. The San Francisco 49ers were the team with the second-best first round and probably best overall. They picked up Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster in the first and stole a few picks from the Bears. But the 49ers need to find a quarterback, because with Brian Hoyer at the helm, the only way to go on this list is down.
30. Cleveland Browns fans have something to be excited about! The Browns got first-overall pick Myles Garrett and versatile defensive back/linebacker/kick returner Jabrill Peppers. The main thing for the Browns the season was keeping head coach Hue Jackson, finally providing some stability for a team that has had close to none.
31. The Chicago Bears traded their third-overall pick and ten other picks (okay it was actually three picks, but you get the idea) to the San Francisco 49ers to move one pick to draft a player the 49ers weren’t even thinking of picking. Chicago found Jay Cutler’s replacement in Mitchell Trubisky, whose shoes shouldn’t be hard to fill.
32. New York Jets: Congratulations on taking the Cleveland Browns coveted spot. The Jets don’t have a viable option at quarterback on their roster. They’ve released veteran players such as Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, and Brandon Marshall. I can only think of one word to describe the Jets right now: MESSY.