NFL power rankings 2019: Post-draft standings for all 32 teams
32. Miami Dolphins
Final 2018 rank: 22
Josh Rosen’s Arizona Cardinals finished at the bottom of last year’s power rankings. Josh Rosen’s Miami Dolphins start this year’s power rankings in the same. It isn’t the Rosen curse. It’s going from a bad team with a chance to get Kyler Murray to another bad team who didn’t. Rosen gets a rookie re-do, though he’ll need some talent around him before performance can be rightfully judged.
31. New York Giants
Final 2018 rank: 26
The Giants have traded Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall since we last spoke. Is someone spiking David Gettleman’s coffee?
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Final 2018 rank: 28
The Buccaneers lost some skill at the skill positions and filled a need with Devin White that wasn’t one until Kwon Alexander was allowed to leave for the 49ers. So that’s an even split. Jameis Winston’s still under center, and he hasn’t inspired confidence in forever. Bruce Arians better find some magic under that Kangol hat of his.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
Final 2018 rank: 24
The Bengals have an average quarterback, and that’s about the Red Rifle’s ceiling these days. They have a porous defense and nothing wow-worthy from a draft class focused on improvement up front. That’s the sign of a team that knows it’s a year away, at least.
28. Arizona Cardinals
Final 2018 rank: 32
The Cardinals had a damn good draft. They got Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall and supported him by selecting speed at skill positions throughout the draft. If this offense sticks together, it could be a sight to see. Right now, however, there’s a lot of “potential” talk. There’s no guarantee Murray will pan out, especially in a rookie year where he’s gonna start. How about Kliff Kingsbury’s college system? What about all those receivers? Or a leaky defense that didn’t get much help? We can say this: The Cardinals stink until they show otherwise, but there’s certainly hope for the future.
27. Detroit Lions
Final 2018 rank: 23
The Lions spent a fortune on Trey Flowers, who has never had double-digit sacks. They drafted T.J. Hockenson, who is legit by all accounts. But they still have Matt Stafford, an expensive, talented, yet completely average quarterback. His roar doesn’t scare anybody anymore.
26. Denver Broncos
Final 2018 rank: 21
Noah Fant is good. Drew Lock could be. Neither top draft pick will revolutionize the Broncos’ fortune in 2019, which is still tied to the Joe Flacco acquisition. John Elway’s quarterback misfires will continue, unless Lock emerges quickly. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb can’t do everything in the Mile High City.
25. Washington Redskins
Final 2018 rank: 25
Washington got Dwayne Haskins and Montez Sweat in the first round, maybe the NFL draft’s best opening salvo. Tons of potential in those two, who play premium positions. They’ll stay down until Haskins shows good form because we all saw what happened after Alex Smith was lost. Washington went from competitive to, well, not. This team has more talent than those ranked above, but you’ve got nothing without a competent, nay, functional quarterback behind center.
24. Buffalo Bills
Final 2018 rank: 20
Josh Allen should be better in his second season. Ed Oliver could be an excellent pickup at No. 9 overall. That said, we still don’t think the Bills got that much better. A running back tandem of Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon strikes fear in no one. John Brown and Cole Beasley? Better, but still…snooze.
23. Oakland Raiders
Final 2018 rank: 30
Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams and No. 24 overall draft pick Josh Jacobs will make life a lot easier on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who now has enough talent around him to run an explosive offense. That side of the ball is way better, and even the defense improved a tick. That’s especially true in the secondary, now a team strength with cornerback depth and impact players at safety. Counting on 30-plus linebackers is a risky proposition, and the Raiders are another draft class away from intimidation along the defensive front. The Raiders are undoubtedly better, but still have a lot of work ahead.
22. New York Jets
Final 2018 rank: 31
Sam Darnold has all the makings of a franchise quarterback, especially working with new head coach Adam Gase. Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley came after big paychecks. The Jets didn’t address edge rusher at No. 3, but they may have taken the draft’s best player in Quinnen Williams. The Jets are discernably better, still not good. That’s more than we can say about the new uniforms.
21. Carolina Panthers
Final 2018 rank: 19
The Panthers seem to be getting older and a little bit worse every year. Christian McCaffrey can’t save them, even if the borderline overworked Stanford product plays every offensive and defensive snap next year.
20. San Francisco 49ers
Final 2018 rank: 29
The Shannahan/Lynch regime – yes, the ticket’s getting along just fine, thank you – added some pieces off the edge in Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. The biggest upgrade didn’t require a single move. Jimmy Garoppolo just had to heal, and heal he has. That doesn’t rocket the Sourdough Sams to the top, however. Let’s not forget that, despite a fat contract and a few 2017 comebacks, Jimmy G’s still an unproven commodity.
19. Tennessee Titans
Final 2018 rank: 13
Titans added a top prospect in Jeffrey Simmons, who won’t help at all in 2019 while recovering from knee surgery. That won’t help a team with no great answers at quarterback. The draft class could end up a productive whole leading to a better future, and that’s important after floundering in the middle far too long. Life will get hard before it gets easier as a likely cellar dweller in a competitive AFC South.
18. Baltimore Ravens
Final 2018 rank: 12
The Ravens lost two prominent edge rushers and a stout interior linebacker. They lost Eric Weddle, but added Earl Thomas. Overall, the defense is less secure. Lamar Jackson’s quarterbacking style has worked, but will that trend continue if he gets hit a ton over a full regular season? The Ravens drafted Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, but can they get him the ball deep? There are lots of questions for a team that surprised many last year but won’t sneak up on anybody in 2019.
17. Minnesota Vikings
Final 2018 rank: 16
The Vikings added required help up front, but offseason additions won’t matter much if a very expensive quarterback can’t come through in the clutch.
16. Green Bay Packers
Final 2018 rank: 18
The Packers didn’t add a big-time receiver at any stage of the offseason. It’s hard to say the offense got better, and it is once again completely reliant on Aaron Rodgers to do Aaron Rodgers things all the time. That’s a tough way to win consistently, especially with first-round edge rusher Rashan Gary as a question mark heading into his rookie year.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Final 2018 rank: 14
Ignore the spin: the Steelers are not better without Antonio Brown. They won’t be awful, thanks to a deep set of skill players and Big Ben continuing his solid play. Devin Bush will make the defense considerably better, but they need third-rounder Justin Layne to come in and quickly help a flailing secondary. The season’s major question hones on Mike Tomlin. Is he still getting through to this team after so much turmoil in recent seasons? Warm up his seat right now.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Final 2018 rank: 17
The Falcons used two top picks to help their offensive line. That’s a smart move. Gotta give Matt Ryan time and room to work. That could help the offense find improved play. That would help Dan Quinn, who needs to be better after some down years.
13. Houston Texans
Final 2018 rank: 10
The Texans have to find a way to keep Deshaun Watson healthy. First-round tackle Andre Dillard was supposed to do that, but the Eagles stole him just before Houston’s pick. The Texans are putting a ton into Alabama State alum Tytus Howard now as the backup plan. If Watson’s available every week, the Texans will be fine. If not, the season could turn on a dime.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Final 2018 rank: 11
Bet against Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll at your own peril. That won’t happen here, even after ditching Frank Clark for a first-round pick. The Seahawks got L.J. Collier to rush the passer and ended up with DK Metcalf after a draft dip. Wilson can make the most of the receiver's raw talent. Losing Doug Baldwin to retirement would hurt if that happens, but Seattle always finds a way to keep rolling.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars
Final 2018 rank: 27
The Jaguars have been a good quarterback away for so long. Well, Nick Foles is here. Landing nice guy Josh Allen and his pass-rush ability could help this defense get back on track, but he’s not the only highlight of what could be an excellent draft class. The Jags should be good, really good, if and only if the in-fighting stops.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Final 2018 rank: 9
The Cowboys used their 2019 first-round pick to land Amari Cooper in 2018, and have zero regrets. Getting Robert Quinn will certainly help, but the transition from pretty good to a great is difficult. Not sure America’s Team is there yet.
9. Philadelphia Eagles
Final 2018 rank: 8
The Eagles had a solid draft, and will remain a team proficient on both sides of the ball. They’re strong along both fronts and have explosiveness in the passing game. There is, however, no Nick Foles safety net this year. Carson Wentz just has to stay healthy or the season will spiral.
8. Chicago Bears
Final 2018 rank: 6
The Bears shuffled their running backs, and will rely on draft pick David Montgomery to carry a heavy load. He’s a scheme fit here and should plug in well. Mitchell Trubisky doesn’t have to be great with that defense but he will have to win Chicago some games in the fourth quarter. And they’ll need a clutch kicker, too. How the Bears play defensively without coordinator Vic Fangio – he’s in Denver now – will be a major factor in Chicago’s season.
7. Kansas City Chiefs
Final 2018 rank: 4
The Chiefs will suffer without Tyreek Hill if he’s in fact done for the foreseeable future. That’s an unknown, and so is a defense with significant turnover at premium positions. Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu have to star in 2019 to keep their unit serviceable enough for Patrick Mahomes to do his thing. K.C. will be more reliant on their superstar quarterback than a year ago.
6. Cleveland Browns
Final 2018 rank: 15
Greedy Williams said the Browns are headed for the Super Bowl after getting drafted … in the second round. That’s a bit too far, but speaks to the high bar set in 2019. The tools for ascension are there, including newcomers Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon, as well as incumbents Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett. Kareem Hunt could be a wild card upon return from an eight-game suspension. Living up to high expectations will be hard. It will be fun watching the Browns try.
5. Los Angeles Rams
Final 2018 rank: 2
Every Ram is tired of answering Todd Gurley questions, but his knee health will be key to their season. Draft pick Darrell Henderson could be a solid Plan B, but there’s no guarantee there. There are issues on the offensive and defensive interior, but the Rams did an excellent job adding volume in the draft with smart trades down the draft board. That might not help maintain elite status in 2019. They’ll have to fight for it behind head coach Sean McVay.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Final 2018 rank: 7
The Colts are built for the present and future thanks to retaining talent, showing restraint in free agency and a solid draft class even without a first-round pick. Adding Justin Houston was smart. Drafting Rock Ya-Sin was, too. This team is deep and dangerous behind quarterback Andrew Luck.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
Final 2018 rank: 5
The Bolts were a major contender last year and should be again after absorbing losses well, especially up front where they drafted defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. Delaware’s Nasir Adderley will pair well with Derwin James in the back end of their defense. The Chargers have tons of firepower on offense, and Philip Rivers can still sling it. The major question for this team, as it has been with so many Chargers squads before, is whether it can perform well in the clutch.
2. New Orleans Saints
Final 2018 rank: 3
The Saints are still stacked, and should be a legitimate Super Bowl contender again this year. Jared Cook will have a huge year working with Drew Brees, and Erik McCoy was a smart add in the second round to account for Max Unger’s loss. They’ll survive Mark Ingram’s loss without incident thanks to Latavius Murray and unique talent Alvin Kamara.
1. New England Patriots
Final 2018 rank: 1
The king stays king. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski and Trey Flowers and are still a threat in all areas. N’Keal Harry and Chase Winovich should thrive with this team and make up for offseason losses, and Tom Brady keeps the trains running on time for the NFL’s most reliable franchise.