The Pre-Draft, Post-Free Agency Frenzy Power Rankings Thing.
Here we go again. As always all opinions are welcomed so hit me up.
32) Tennessee Titans: I would imagine this might be what I pick up the most heat for, but let’s get into it. For starters I love Ken Whisenhunt and in the long run I think this team improves vastly, but when you look at how average they were last year and that they’ve lost arguably their best player in Verner, I think it might be a long season for Tennessee. This could all change if Locker picks up his game this year and becomes the Franchise QB they desperately need.
31) Buffalo Bills: An organisation that has suffered greatly over the last few weeks and my thoughts go out to a the family of Ralph Wilson Jr and to Jim Kelly and his family a terrible few weeks for all those involved with the Bills.
The Bills Defence has taken a massive hit. Losing Jairus Byrd was a big deal, but losing Pettine is a huge deal. Pettine made a Secondary with very few starters look like a top Defensive Back Field, without him and Byrd they could really suffer. On Offence Manuel to get results now. Could be a long year for Buffalo.
30) Oakland Raiders: There is no denying that it has been a pretty interesting off-season so far for the Raiders and that they have made some slightly questionable moves. That being said, this team is a QB away from pushing 8-8…which might not be enough for the front office. I still however believe they have a long-term goal, but it could be a long season for them.
29) Minnesota Vikings: This year has a real “rebuilding” feel to it, especially with the absence of Jared Allen. That being said if they can get a QB to be productive they could win a few, I just don’t think they have what it takes to keep up with the rest of the NFC North.
28) Cleveland Browns: They could shoot up this list post draft, but only if they get the most of the 15 picks they have. Cleveland have actually made some decent moves in free agency, however I just think they have a lot of new pieces and an entirely new coaching team. It might take some time.
27) New York Jets: There is no denying that the Jets have made some big moves and still have a great Defence. But in a Division that sees the top 2 teams making game changing moves, I still think they fall short. Michael Vick reliving some old magic could change everything.
26) Washington: Washington made some steps this off-season to help out an RG3 that has been more than a little under fire. DeSean Jackson will add an unpredictable aspect to their Offence and should take some pressure off a QB that had serious problems last season. Where this team falls down however is on Defence. Losing London Fletcher is huge and will be difficult to replace. This team will have to accept that they will have to win games on their Offence…which struggled last season.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars: I’m a huge fan of the way the Jags are putting their team together. For starters I love what they’ve done on Defence. Bringing in 2 key pieces from the Superbowl Championship winning Defensive line is a great move and immediately improves their team. Bringing Henne back is a great move too. If they can’t find a QB in the draft then they’ve still got a serviceable QB that won them a few games last year. As I said at the start of this, I love how the Jags are putting their team together and this is for one simple reason. They’re taking their time. Slowly they are putting together a team that could go on to win things, similar to how the Seahawks have been put together. Whatever happens, they probably won’t be making the playoffs this year. But the future is bright.
24) St Louis Rams: I’m probably a little low on this team. Despite them being probably the 4th best team in the NFC West they were still better than most teams in the league last year. Truthfully though they’ve had a quiet off-season so far and to take a big step in that division they need to help out Sam Bradford. Throughout the draft their concern should be to see what they’ve got in a QB they paid an awful lot of money for.
23) Dallas Cowboys: There are few teams that took as big a backward step as the Cowboys. The biggest loss will obviously be Demarcus Ware, who they simply couldn’t afford to keep on a roster that has been put together by poor decisions and over paying players. If the Cowboys are to hold their own in a league that has managed to seemingly improved in every corner, then they’ll need to improve through the draft. The truth of the matter is they’re probably in for a rough season as they scramble to get under their salary cap again next year.
22) Carolina Panthers: How do you go from being one of the top teams to a fairly poor one? Let almost your entire Wide Receiver corp leave. Regardless of how disruptive someone like Steve Smith is there is no doubting he is a play maker, I just can’t help but feel letting him go is cutting their nose of to spite their face. What’s now left for the Panthers is the prospect of an almost entirely Rookie line up at Wideout, with a QB that has been known to throw his toys out of the pram. Ron Rivera could be in for a tough season. With that in mind however, we said that last season…
21) New York Giants: The Giants & Eli Manning both had a season they would rather forget last year. As a result they’ve been hugely active in free agency, picking up players to fill gaps in all areas of need. In truth similar to the Rams I’m probably a little low on the G-Men, but until I see all these pieces working together and when I’ve seen Eli Manning not have a similar season to last year, I can’t put this team any higher. But I am ,very aware they could be this years sleeping…yup Giants.
20) Miami Dolphins: It’s been a Off-Season for the Dolphins. At the least they lost 2 starters on the O-line at the most the team got dragged through a controversy that arguably has a lot of the front office on the hot seat. Add into this some slightly questionable free agency moves and we have what is really a make or break season for the Dolphins. Do they make it? No, probably not but I think we’ll definitely see an improvement.
19) Houston Texans: Despite last season make no mistake. This is not a bad team. With a coaching overhaul, (hopefully) a new QB and a renewed vigour to succeed this team should do reasonably well this season. Just probably not good enough to over throw the Colts.
18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It is crazy to see a team can let Revis go and still have one of the most successful Off Seasons of any team. Despite the Bucs being big Off Season winners, they are still in a Division with the Panthers, Falcons and the Saints, success will be possible, but very difficult.
17) San Diego Chargers: The Chargers had a great season last year under Mike McCoy. However this year the honeymoon is over and are bound to come up against some adversity in their 2nd season. The fact remains that whilst every team around them has got better the Chargers haven’t done a great deal to improve. A decent draft however could see them shoot up this list.
16) Pittsburgh Steelers: Despite a poor season last year, the Steelers showed flashes of brilliance. My main concern this year is mostly to do with a massive change on Defence, as they attempt to get younger. I think we’ll probably see a better Steelers this team but they look like they are still a way away from a Superbowl. 1 last point. Pittsburgh. Some Receivers wouldn’t hurt.
15) Detroit Lions: I think the Lions could be this years sleeper team. The team itself has been pretty close for a while, but it’s always seemed that the coaching was holding them back. Now there are no excuses. Jim Caldwell is a huge step and this team should be contenders…just maybe not this year.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Poor season last year for the Ravens and in particular from Joe Flacco. So what have they changed in the Off-season? Not a great deal, Steve Smith adds a much-needed extra dimension to a fairly one- dimensional Offence and retaining Eugene Monroe was a great move. My main concern is on Defence however. No real improvements in free agency and they will have to pick some young Defensive pieces in the draft. Probably a little too high on this team.
13) Indianapolis Colts: The Colts spent last season winning games they shouldn’t and losing the ones they should. The Off-Season has been a similar affair for this team. They’ve lost a lot of important players (Bethea, Brown), but gained some decent players (Jones, Nicks). In truth with an improved AFC South they might struggle a little this year, but probably still make the Play offs.
12) Green Bay Packers: The Packers have unsurprisingly had a quiet Off Season, where they’ve resigned a lot of decent players to better contract. The obvious exception is the picking up of Julius Peppers, who brings some extra umf to their Defence, which has been an area they’ve struggled for a while. Expect the Packers to have yet another stella draft as well, that being said the NFC North got a lot better in this Off Season and could be an issue to the Packer Play Off push.
11) Atlanta Falcons: Probably a little high on this team, but I wanted to commend how they approached free agency. They basically looked at their glaring needs and sorted them out, even with Ryan being a huge cap hit. In truth as well they were a great team last year that suffered depth issues as most of their starting weapons went out injured. I just think this team could be a surprise after last season and are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
10) Cincinnati Bengals: It really is make or break time for Dalton to prove that he is the guy that can get a Play Off win. The problem the Bengals have is that they’re good enough to make the Play offs but they are nowhere near good enough to win a Super Bowl. If this is to change they may need to make a massive overhaul and take a few risks. That probably wont happen under this coaching staff. Could be another season of heartbreak for Bengals fans.
9) Arizona Cardinals: The Cards were so close to being the surprise team of 2013, but were foiled basically by being in easily the toughest Division in the NFL. The Cards however have made some great moves filling in positions that really improve this team. Veldheer is the obvious no. 1 signing, but adding Cromartie, Ginn and Dwyer add some much-needed depth to this team. The Cards can expect to find themselves pushing for the Playoffs this year as long as Palmer stays relatively mistake free.
8) Chicago Bears: I make no bones about being a Bears fan and have always stayed objective regarding my favourite team. So when I put this team this high up, I believe it is entirely on merit. For starters adding almost an entirely new D-line is a huge deal for a team that couldn’t stop the run for love nor money last season. Secondly adding the ex-Packer MD Jennings is a good addition to a weak Secondary. Basically this team became challengers and a decent draft away from being genuine challengers. One concern however is that maybe Mel Tucker is the issue and the Bears Defence stays as bad as it was last season. If this is the case, expect the Bears to be going into the following season with a different Defensive Coordinator. Make no mistake, the Bears are very much in win now mode.
7) New Orleans Saints: The Saints made some serious changes to free up money from some of their older players that have had very little relevance over the last season. From this they were able to pick up Jairus Byrd who improves a Secondary that will be going up against Matt Ryan, Josh McCown and Cam Newton twice a year. The Saints now have similar issues to the Falcons last year, but I believe regardless coaching will see this improved team to the play offs.
6) Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles had very little that they needed to improve last year and addressed their needs quite well. Losing Jackson is huge, but if they just weren’t on the same page, it needed to happen. That being said, I still think the Eagles have a decent team and are genuine contenders, with a great, young team. The team should keep an eye out however on Nick Foles, who could be set up for a giant fall this year.
5) Kansas City Chiefs: The 1st Season in the Andy Reid reign was a good one and I think they improve on this. They have however lost some decent players in Kansas and decimated their O-line thanks to free agency. With this in mind I still think this is a good team and the combination of Andy Reid and Alex Smith seems to be a good one. Regardless, a decent draft will be the difference between them making the play offs again and a difficult season.
4) San Francisco 49ers: This team didn’t really get worse, but there were a number of teams that got better. That being said, despite some unrest, they are still big competitors for the Superbowl. My main concern is, the loss of Whitner and Rodgers is a big deal, even if they added Bethea. What the Niners have going for them however is they generally do a great job in the draft and could improve this team no end still. A post draft Niners could be a little higher up this list.
3) New England Patriots: I worry about Brady. That is my main concern. But other than that this team could be set for a decent run. Adding Browner and Revis is a great move and takes the pressure off an Offence that has a lost a little of its pop over the last year. With this in mind, I don’t think they have what it takes to beat the 2 teams above.
2) Denver Broncos: The Broncos seemed to be the stopping point for the majority of free agents this year as they build the ultimate “win now”, team. If all of this doesn’t work, they could be in trouble, but if it does then Elway has truly done something epic. I however don’t think they’re good enough still, to topple the no. 1 team.
1) Seattle Seahawks: Regardless of losing a few decent players, this team seems to still be far and away above anything else in the league. So now imagine this team with a fully healthy Harvin. Yup this team are still the no.1 and still probably will be at the start of the season. It is really up to the other teams to now prove me wrong over this.
Ok. that got a little wordy. Regardless I hope you enjoy. Seriously feel free to tell me where I got it wrong.