2017 NFL Power Rankings - Who got better after the draft?
32. Chicago Bears
Chicago gave up a ton to move up one spot and take Mitchell Trubisky. He may end up being great, but it would be tough to predict that now. It also makes little sense after shelling out major cash for Mike Glennon in free agency, even if it only amounts to a one-year deal. Further, the move to get Trubisky revealed some serious cracks in the foundation between the Bears front office and the coaching staff. It's only May and it seems like this ship is sinking for 2017.
31. New York Jets
Jamal Adams should help the back-end of the Jets defense. Second round pick Marcus Maye should too. Still, it won't be enough to overcome an offense that might have to start Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenburg at QB in 2017 if/when Josh McCown gets injured. The Jets had a good draft, mostly by not doing something crazy for a quarterback full of question marks. That alone moved them ahead of the Bears.
30. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are taking this Moneyball thing seriously. Myles Garrett was an obvious pick and he should make a big impact. After thatthe moves can be questioned. Jabril Peppers is no sure thing transitioning to the NFL, though Cleveland got good value with QB Deshone Kizer in the second round. If Kizer can play, quickly, the Browns could jump in the win column as their defense should be much improved.
29. Los Angeles Rams
Anybody that covered Sean McVay in Washington can see what Rams ownership liked. Yes, McVay is young, but he's impressive in front of the cameras and in casual conversation. The Rams will improve, but without a first round pick in the 2017 Draft, they didn't have a lot of options. Third round WR Cooper Kupp seems like a guy that could be a sneaky pick to lead all rookie wideouts in yards, especially if McVay can get some decent QB play out of Jared Goff.
28. San Francisco 49ers
This is a team that could make a jump in 2017 and set themselves up well for 2018 and beyond. The Niners got a ton from Chicago for the second pick, still got Solomon Thomas with the third pick and added Rueben Foster at the end of the first round. Kyle Shanahan traded up for C.J. Beathard, just the type of QB project he can develop.
27. Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals made headlines when they took Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon in the second round. He's got talent, but he's got big baggage too. Mixon and first round pick John Ross will bring speed to the offense, but Cincy has lost more talent in the last two seasons via free agency than most teams acquire in five seasons. Marvin Lewis' squad went 6-9-1 last year, and a regression from that seems almost inevitable after losing key cogs on the offense and defense.
26. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona lost a lot on defense in free agency - Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, D.J. Swearinger. The Cardinals brass certainly tried to find their replacements via the Draft. Haason Reddick is a crazy athlete but might need a year to adjust to the strength of NFL offensive linemen. Budda Baker should help right away. Still, an aging Carson Palmer has question marks.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
What's the best way to help Blake Bortles? Might be to add Leonard Fournette. Jacksonville got a beast runner and added Cam Robinson from Alabama in the 2nd round. This time last year some thought Robinson could be a top five pick. Add the Jags defensive spending spree in free agency, and maybe there could be new life in North Florida.
24. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers did something smart: Add offensive line help for Philip Rivers late in his career (Forrest Lamp in the 2nd, Dan Feeney in the 3rd). Will it pay off? It might. And new first round WR Mike Williams should help too.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Sure it's gonna look weird without seeing Adrian Peterson in Viking purple, but gettin Dalvin Cook in the second round sure makes the loss a little easier to handle. The Vikings defense will again be the strength of the team, though losing Captain Munnerlyn hurts. Eventually, this team will probably need more than Sam Bradford can give them.
22. Buffalo Bills
The Bills lost a lot at receiver this offseason, but second round rookie Zay Jones might be able to help right away. He put up video game numbers at East Carolina and has good size and hands. Elsewhere, the franchise seems in disarray. GM Doug Whaley and the entire scouting staff got fired, after the draft. Huh? Seems like a fade year for the only team that actually plays in New York.
21. New Orleans Saints
This team will always be about Drew Brees and the offense, but drafting Marshon Lattimore with the 11th pick seems like a heist. A true No. 1 corner, Lattimore should instantly start for the Saints. Third round pick Marcus Williams from Utah could help right away too. New Orleans was awful defending the pass in 2016, and they sure tried to get better via the 2017 Draft.
20. Indianapolis Colts
Much like the Saints, Andrew Luck remains the centerpiece of the Colts franchise. Also much like the Saints, the Colts defense was bad in 2016, so the team tried to get some fixes in the draft. Malik Hooker could be a star. A true centerfielder, he could make a big difference if his health is ready to go. Quincy Wilson should play right away as well.
19. Detroit Lions
The Lions did a lot to help their defense, but it's hard to imagine Detroit has a similar run of good fortune late in games in 2017 as they did in 2016. The draft was fine, but it seems the Lions are due for a statistical regression. Unless Matt Stafford is Superman again.
18. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles added a big-time pass rusher in Tennessee LB Derek Barnett in the first round. He's a good player, reminiscent of Ryan Kerrigan. Is he enough to change the Eagles woes in pass coverage? Probably not.
17. Carolina Panthers
Carolina landed the belle of the ball. No player had as much hype and intrigue as Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey before the draft, and now he's a Panther. How much can he help Cam Newton and the Panthers offense? That still remains to be seen.
16. Denver Broncos
No team with Von Miller can fall into the back half of the NFL, but no team with Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch at QB can go higher than 16. John Elway didn't do too much this offseason, so maybe he believes in his horses.
15. Tennessee Titans
Big speed but big questions for 5th overall pick Corey Davis. Mike Mayock can explain: "He wasn't even able to work out since his college season. Had an ankle injury. So the NFL just pulled the trigger on a receiver from the MAC that they weren't even able to work out."
14. Houston Texans
The only question is how good can Deshaun Watson be. A rookie QB coming from a spread offense to the NFL? Track record isn't great. If he can be just good, the Texans could go for a deep playoff run. If he struggles, the Texans will look much like the 2016 version. Few players delievered in bigger college football moments than Watson at Clemson, and clearly Bill O'Brien believes in his new passer.
13. Miami Dolphins
Not sure Charles Harris the difference maker the Dolphins needed in the first round. Never had double digit sacks in college and never showed elite speed at the NFL Combine. Miami needs an edge rusher to pair with Ndamukong Suh, Harris will get the chance to be the guy.
12. Baltimore Ravens
There was little question Ozzie Newsome would take a player from Alabama with his first-round pick, the question was what player. Marlon Humphrey will help the Ravens, but was a bit of a surprise.
11. Washington Redskins
NFL teams draft the best player available from their draft board, especially in the early rounds. Rarely does that truly match up with a team's needs, but for the Redskins, it certainly did with Jonathan Allen. Washington had to address their defensive line, and Allen should be an immediate starter and boost for the unit. Jay Gruden's team should be right on the verge of the playoffs, and Allen could put them in.
10. Atlanta Falcons
It's not just about losing the Super Bowl. It's not just about how they lost the Super Bowl. It's not just about losing Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco. It's not just about the history of NFC South winners year-to-year. It's not just about the strong offseason from the Bucs. It's all those things added up that drop the Falcons to the 10 spot in 2017. First round pick Tak McKinley should help the Falcons defense, but this offseason will be about dealing with 2016 baggage.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
Will Andy Reid bench Alex Smith for rookie Pat Mahomes? Who knows - but it will be very interesting to watch. Chiefs will win nine or 10 games and not win in the playoffs regardless.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Few rookies will be in a better spot to contribute right away in the NFL like O.J. Howard. The Bucs offense just keeps adding weapons for Jameis Winston. The Bucs won nine games in 2016, and then added DeSean Jackson and Chris Baker to the defensive line. Both players should perform well in Tampa. This team looks like the next NFC South winner.
7. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks didn't make a pick until midway through the second round, but will still be a title contender. Is Eddie Lacy the piece that can get the Seahawks back into a Super Bowl? He's only 26, but is two years removed from a 1,000 yard season and only played five games in 2016. Seattle must get more out of the run game, and if Lacy is right, he could be a huge help for Russ Wilson. Don't count this team out, and the contract structure for Lacy - one-year, incentive laden deal - could be the right motivator.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones is going all-in on Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, and he better be right. Dallas lost a lot this offseason, starting with their dominant offensive line saying goodbye to Ronald Leary and Doug Free, and their draft didn't do much to quell concerns. Taco Charlton could help, but he's not explosive. The Cowboys caught the NFL by surprise early in 2016, and that will not be the case in 2017. Plus their schedule will get significantly harder. The Cowboys finished 2016 with a 13-3 record, don't expect that to happen again.
5. Oakland Raiders
Under Al Davis, the Raiders made a reputation of bringing in players with reputations. Oakland's first round pick in 2016 fits the bill. Gareon Conley may be proved an innocent man, but the allegations against him were enough to scare off the 23 teams that picked ahead of the Raiders. Conley is a good player and can help right away, assuming he doesn't have to deal with a suspension.
4. New York Giants
The Giants are built to win now, and it's obvious because Big Blue added another weapon for Eli Manning in the first roun in Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram. The most interesting pick? Definitely the third-round selection of Cal QB Davis Webb. It likely won't matter in 2017, but could after that.
3. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay's first four picks in the 2017 Draft went to defensive side of the ball, and the first two were secondary players. Aaron Rodgers and the offense will score. If the defense can improve, look out.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Can T.J. Watt get to NFL quarterbacks? The Steelers certainly think so. If he can bring a defensive playmaking presense, the offense will be plenty good. Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger will all be back, and the Steelers offense should again be deadly.
1. New England Patriots
The Patriots didn't even pick until the third round and still are the run away best team in the NFL. Don't forget New England acquired Brandin Cooks this offseason, and oh yeah, they still have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.