Pre Draft 2019 NFL Power Rankings: Browns & Jags Rise; Steelers Drop
With the majority of the big name free agents off the board let’s see where each NFL team stacks up heading towards the NFL Draft.
The NFL off-season is in full bloom with the first wave of free agency in the books and NFL Draft less than three weeks away.
At this point in time teams around the NFL have a decent sense of where they project to end up next season and what needs have to be filled in order to increase their expected win total.
Who’s in the best shape heading towards the draft? Let’s power rank each NFL team from 32-1 to find out.
The Bengals got off to a 4-1 start in 2018 before injuries, and a poor defense derailed their season. With a first-year head coach and no key additions made to the terrible defense it is going to be a long year in the queen city.
31: Miami Dolphins
Like Cincinnati, the Dolphins will be under a first-year head coach in Brian Flores. Flores may be a defensive mastermind but in 2019 won’t have the pieces in tack to shut down opposing offenses. As for his own offense, the starter will likely be Ryan Fitzpatrick. With Miami, in a rebuild mode, 2019 won’t be all that successful.
Things can only improve for the Cardinals in 2019 after a 3-13 finish last season. The Cardinals made a handful of smart signings on the offensive lineman and added depth at linebacker this off-season to start improving the roster. Now it will be interesting to see how Kliff Kingsbury decides to use the top overall pick in the upcoming draft.
The Bucs made a home run hire with Bruce Arians. However, they came into the off-season with the least cap space of all NFL team’s. With that, a 5-11 team a year ago lost pieces such as Kwon Alexander and Adam Humphries and failed to add anyone to make up for that production.
Landon Collins was a major addition for the Redskins, but the future of their offense is very much in question. After Alex Smith suffered an injury that may end his carer the Washington offense struggled to move the ball. They added Case Keenum to fill the void for 2019 but is that going to be enough?
27: New York Giants
Trading Odell Beckham Jr. away can only make a team worse. Though the Giants did sign Golden Tate and found a perfect replacement for Landon Collins in Jabrill Peppers the team has a lot of work to do to get back in playoff contention.
26: New York Jets
The Jets made some splashy moves by adding Le’veon Bell and CJ Mosley. However, neither of these moves helped fix a brutal offensive line and weak pass rush from a year ago. If the Jets fill these holes in the upcoming draft, they’ll move up on this list.
25: Denver Broncos
24: Buffalo Bills
The Bills improved their roster this off-season by adding weapons for Josh Allen. Little do people know the Bills defense was among the best in the NFL a year ago. If the Bills offense clicks, they have potential to be dangerous in 2019.
23: Oakland Raiders
Acquiring Antonio Brown for a 3rd and 5th round pick may turn out to be one of the greatest steals in NFL history. In addition, Oakland has made several key additions on defense and on the offensive line. The Raiders aren’t quite contenders but are surely on the rise.
22: Detroit Lions
Detroit may have gone 6-10 last season, but their defense ranked in the NFL’s top 10. It will only improve with the addition of Trey Flowers. Now if the Lions can get Matthew Stafford more help, Detroit can make some noise in the NFC North.
The Packers still have Aaron Rodgers under center which means Green Bay has a chance to make a push for the postseason. This off-season they added a pair of much-needed pass-rushers, but there are still holes in the secondary and at wide receiver.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s return will give the 49ers a massive boost in 2019. In addition, they added two of the best defenders on the market in Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford. They’re still far behind the Rams in the NFC West race, but there’s no doubt the 49ers are on the rise.
19: Tennessee Titans
Until Marcus Mariota proves he can stay healthy for a full season it’s hard to believe in the Titans. Their outstanding defense can only win so many games without help from the offense.
The Panthers sat at 6-2 halfway through the 2018 season and still managed to finish 7-9 that’s hard to do. What’s good for the Panthers is most of the struggles came due to injuries including one to their former MVP quarterback Cam Newton. Thus, if the team fills their remaining holes in the draft, they should be back in the postseason hunt.
For the first time in several seasons, the Steelers aren’t the favorites to win the AFC North next season. Heck, they aren’t favorites for a wild card spot. There’s lots of work to be done on this Steelers roster, so if they want to get back to the postseason next year, they better have an outstanding draft.
The Jags were 10 minutes away from Super Bowl 52. Many thought they’d come back and have a chance to reach Super Bowl 53. Instead, the team finished 5-11 due to a poor offense. Luckily for Jacksonville, their defense was still dominant and will be again next season. With Nick Foles set to be the new starting quarterback and Leonard Fournette healthy Jacksonville should be back in the postseason race.
The Falcons were decimated by injuries on defense last season but offensively were as good as anyone. With a healthy defense and the offense still intact it should be a much better season for Atlanta.
Year one of the Kirk Cousins era, wasn’t pretty. The Vikings offense still needs work up front in the draft, but by re-signing Anthony Barr, their defense is in good shape. If Minnesota fixes, the offensive line expect them to be back in the postseason.
13: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have stayed pretty quiet off-season though they avoided a possible distraction by locking up star pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Look for Dallas to draft much needed secondary help as they currently lack much of a pass defense.
12: Houston Texans
Houston had among the most money to spend heading into the off-season yet have been almost radio silent. The team has some serious holes in both the secondary and the offensive line but outside of that are as complete as anyone in the NFL.
11: Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore RavensThe Ravens defense was the NFL’s best in 2018, but that might change this coming season. Baltimore saw Za’Darius Smith, CJ Mosley and Eric Weddle depart this off-season. They did add Earl Thomas, but there are still holes to fill. Baltimore is also in need of a receiver.
Seattle cracks the top 10 in great thanks to the stellar season they put together in 2018 despite the entire legion of boom having moved on. The Seahawks seem poised to take the next step towards getting back to the super bowl in 2019.
Just over one year ago the Browns just wrapped up an 0-16. Now they enter 2019 a super bowl contender. With Baker Mayfield under center and some of the best weapons in the NFL at his disposal the Browns have a legitimate chance to win the AFC North.
With Nick Foles a Jaguar it’s officially the Carson Wentz show in Philadelphia. If Wentz can stay healthy, this should be a beautiful thing for the Eagles. With a stacked defensive front and dynamic offense the Eagles should be considered the favorites in the NFC East.
The Bears won the NFC North for the first time since 2010 last season. That division title led to an eight-year playoff drought. Unless something drastic happens, that won’t happen again as the Bears are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball which should help them get back to the postseason.
Due to their limited fan base, many overlook the Chargers. On paper, it’s hard to find a more complete team as there really isn’t a single weakness on the entire roster. Look for the Bolts to be back in the postseason in 2019.
The Chiefs were a coin flip away from Super Bowl 53. Can they get to Super Bowl 54? Of course, since Patrick Mahomes is under center but unless they draft major defensive talent, it may be difficult.
Like the Chiefs the Saints were minutes away from Super Bowl 53. Turning the page to 2019 much of the 2018 returns though look for New Orleans to find some more weapons for Drew Brees and a Mark Ingram replacement in the upcoming draft.
The Rams defense gave them a chance to win their first super bowl in 20 years, but the offense did not score enough as they fell to Patriots 13-3 in super bowl 53. With much of the team back for 2019 and the addition of Eric Weddle in the secondary look for another big year out of the Rams.
It’s hard to find a more complete team in the NFL than the Colts. With plenty of draft picks to work with this excellent team is only getting better.