While the 2021 NFL season is just under a month away, it’s never too early to look ahead. Fanbases will argue day and night about who has the better team. Instead of debating the entire roster, why not debate positions? In the final part of a 12-part series, I will rank each team’s front office. These rankings are a combination of what the decision-makers have done over the entirety of their career, how they performed last season, and projecting how their team will be this upcoming season.
Be sure to check out all of Moran’s NFL Positional Rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Following their top-ranked coaching staff is the back-to-back AFC Champion Chiefs front office. Brett Veach has done a masterful job of building this powerhouse. Veach played a big part in the organization’s blockbuster trade-up to acquire superstar signal-caller, Patrick Mahomes. Veach has been awfully aggressive on the pro side of decision-making. He has invested in big free agents and traded premium draft capital for bonafide difference makers. Mike Borgonzi is a key notable front office member.
2. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have a very respectable front office. It starts with the fabulous job Chris Ballard has done of rounding out this roster. Ballard has built the foundation of this football team through the draft. He has passed on big-time free agents time and time again. This put him in a great position to recently re-sign two core Colts in Darius Leonard and Braden Smith. The Colts have a great football team thanks to Ballard. Ed Dodds is widely known as a top assistant general manager to Ballard.
3. Buffalo Bills
Brandon Beane has done an exceptional job of turning the Bills franchise around. Beane deserves a ton of credit for finding the Bills franchise quarterback, Josh Allen. He also made a very bold move that could not have worked out any better in trading for superstar wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. Beane has added key contributors through the draft, free agency, and trades. He has also done a savvy job of finding value in players not as sought after. Assistant general manager, Joe Schoen has received some recognition as a future general manager candidate as a result of working alongside Beane.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defending Super Bowl champions had a stacked roster across the board thanks to the job done by Jason Licht. Licht positioned the Buccaneers very well to the point where they were instantly Super Bowl champions once they got their franchise quarterback. Licht deserves credit for ultimately signing the best winner of all time in Tom Brady. He constructed a roster on offense and defense that was extremely talented. This offseason, he did a special job of retaining essentially every key member from last year’s team.
5. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have had a top-tier front office for a very long time. Ever since taking over, Eric DeCosta has done a very good job with the Ravens’ roster construction. He has positioned this team well for a possible deep run this season. Ozzie Newsome is no longer the general manager but still has a crucial role in the Ravens’ front office. Newsome accumulated tons of talent for the Ravens while being the general manager. In his last draft as the general manager, he selected the Ravens franchise quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
Long-time Steelers general manager, Kevin Colbert has done a great job of building this football team. The team has not had a losing record throughout his time being the key decision-maker. Colbert has added a sufficient amount of talent to the Steelers every year. The Steelers have been widely known for their success in drafting mid-round wide receivers. Colbert has a lot to do with that. Recent examples are Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. All three were either second or third-round draft picks.
7. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have two great team builders making their personnel decisions in Mickey Loomis and Jeff Ireland. Loomis has been with the Saints for over 20 years. He built the Saints Super Bowl team. Under Loomis’ personnel decisions, the Saints have had very talented rosters and successful seasons. Ireland has been with the Saints for seven years now. He does a lot on the college side of the decision-making, where the Saints have been tremendous.
8. Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead has now been the Rams general manager for a decade. He has had a very impressive run. The decision that put Snead in a prime position was the bold move made hiring such a young head coach in Sean McVay. Ever since, Snead’s personnel decisions have certainly been better. He has been aggressive in trading top draft picks for established players who are young and elite. The blockbuster move to acquire Matthew Stafford could end up being the best of them all for Snead.
9. Los Angeles Chargers
Tom Telesco has quietly been one of the better general managers in football for some time now. His teams have always had the talent to compete with the best. Unfortunately, they always seem to battle a ton of injuries. Telesco seems to have made his best personnel decision yet in drafting quarterback, Justin Herbert. He also made a very exciting head coaching hire this offseason in Brandon Staley. The Chargers should compete for the playoffs this season.
10. San Francisco 49ers
John Lynch has done a very respectable job as the 49ers’ decision-maker. Lynch is now entering his fifth year with the organization. He has helped make some key trades for players like Jimmy Garoppolo and Trent Williams. He has agreed to second contracts with young superstar players in George Kittle and Fred Warner who were drafted his first two years. His biggest move to date was the trade-up to acquire Trey Lance. Lance has special traits and a chance to develop. Lynch has constructed a well-rounded roster that could make another run at a Super Bowl in 2021.
11. Cleveland Browns
So far, in his short time as the Browns general manager, Andrew Berry has done an incredible job. He has done a good job of acquiring talent through free agency, the draft, and trades. Berry has built up a very respectable roster across the board. This offseason, he did a great job of addressing a defensive unit that needed it. Under Berry in just his second year, the Browns are well-positioned to make a playoff run.
12. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have a multitude of personnel decision-makers at the top of their organization. Their owner, Jerry Jones, has a ton of say in who the team adds. His son, Stephen Jones has taken on more of a role over time. Will McClay is also a very underrated asset to this front office. Decisions are made between the three. Despite a lack of recent playoff runs, the Cowboys have a very talented football team on paper almost every year.
13. New England Patriots
Head coach Bill Belichick has a lot to do with the personnel decisions the Patriots make. He has had some moves work well and some that have not. Belichick does find good value in underrated players who he finds ways to get the best out of. Dave Ziegler has been with the Patriots for a while now. This offseason, he was promoted to Director of Player Personnel. In his first offseason, the Patriots were very aggressive in free agency. They also drafted a quarterback, Mac Jones in the first round.
14. Green Bay Packers
Over his first few years as general manager, Brian Gutekunst has acquired some great talent in both free agency and the draft. Some of those noteworthy, top-tier players are Za’Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander, and Elgton Jenkins. Gutekunst has helped this team make back-to-back NFC Championship games. However, his mismanagement of the Aaron Rodgers situation brings down his ranking here. If the Packers were to have added immediate contributors it could have led to a Super Bowl championship last season.
15. Seattle Seahawks
John Schneider has had his fair share of ups and downs as the Seahawks general manager. Under Schneider, the Seahawks have found elite-level players in the middle of the draft. He selected the team’s star quarterback, Russell Wilson along with two dynamic wide receivers in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. However, Schneider has failed on too many of his recent first-round draft picks. This has hurt the Seahawks’ chances of ultimately getting over the top again.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Rick Spielman is a reputable top decision-maker for the Vikings. He has added star talent through the beginning and middle parts of the draft. Some of those headliners are Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter, and Eric Kendricks. This team has been a playoff-caliber one on paper most seasons under Spielman. Hopefully, the team’s offensive line and defense are drastically improved from what they were a year ago.
17. Tennessee Titans
Under general manager Jon Robinson, the Titans have attained success. Throughout his five years, the Titans have had five winning seasons with three playoff appearances. Unfortunately, Robinson has gotten some key decisions wrong. He declined fifth-year options for Jack Conklin and Corey Davis while picking up Adoree’ Jackson‘s. His replacement for Conklin was a first-round pick who is not in the league a year later. He did make a bold move for Julio Jones though. It will be interesting to see if it can take this team to a new level.
18. Philadelphia Eagles
General manager, Howie Roseman has delivered the Eagles franchise with a Super Bowl championship. He has constructed some great teams loaded with talent. However, some of his recent personnel decisions have not been so great. The Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts decision was entirely mismanaged. The head coaching search this offseason was a disaster. Lastly, this is an aging team with a disastrous salary cap situation. It will be interesting to see how Roseman’s team does moving forward.
19. Miami Dolphins
Chris Grier has done a solid job of churning the Dolphins roster. He has added adequate talent through free agency and the draft. The two biggest things with Grier moving forward are his last two first picks. He will need Tua Tagovailoa to take a step forward and Jaylen Waddle to deliver as Justin Herbert and Penei Sewell were the two players drafted right after.
20. Washington Football Team
Over the last two years, Washington has had multiple staff members at the forefront of personnel decisions made. Last offseason, Ron Rivera was the general manager. He added some great talent in Chase Young, Antonio Gibson, Logan Thomas, Kendall Fuller, and Kamren Curl. He found some great value. This offseason, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney were both added to the front office. They continued to add to the talent this football team has. They addressed a key need at wide receiver. This team is capable of being much better.
21. Denver Broncos
This offseason, the Broncos hired George Paton to take over the general manager role from John Elway. However, Elway is still a part of the Broncos front office. Over the years, Elway added a great amount of talent to the Broncos and won a Super Bowl. In his first offseason, Paton did some impressive things in free agency and the draft. He re-signed star safety, Justin Simmons. Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller were two solid free-agent additions. His first two draft picks, Patrick Surtain II and Javonte Williams both bring great excitement.
22. New York Jets
Joe Douglas has now had two full offseasons as the Jets general manager. The Robert Saleh hire looks to be a fantastic decision by Douglas. He has done a savvy job of accumulating some young talent. His first draft pick looks to be a great one in young left tackle, Mekhi Becton. He added two young players in free agency this March, Carl Lawson and Davis. In the draft, Douglas went with offense the first four picks. Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, and Michael Carter could help turn the Jets around. Douglas has positioned the Jets with a ton of draft capital and salary cap space for next year.
23. New York Giants
This offseason, Dave Gettleman was aggressive. On paper, the Giants have a talented team. Gettleman has built up a defense that should rank toward the top of the league. Some notable additions he made to it are Leonard Williams, Blake Martinez, James Bradberry, and Logan Ryan. The skill talent the Giants have is very exceptional. For Gettleman, it simply comes down to two things. The needed progression from Daniel Jones and steady play from the offensive line will be crucial.
24. Chicago Bears
Ryan Pace has had his ups and downs as the Bears’ key decision-maker. The Bears have made the postseason two of the last three years but have been way too inconsistent. Allen Robinson, Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Jaylon Johnson, and Eddie Jackson make for some of the best talent Pace has added. His glaring misses have been at quarterback and the offensive line. Pace needs Justin Fields to become the Bears franchise quarterback.
25. Arizona Cardinals
Steve Keim has made a few great moves but has been underwhelming in some key areas. Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, D.J. Humphries, Rodney Hudson, J.J. Watt, Chandler Jones, and Budda Baker are some of the best players he has added. However, this team has some big concerns entering a pivotal season. This team has unknowns at running back, tight end, and cornerback which could have likely been better addressed.
26. Las Vegas Raiders
Mike Mayock is entering a massive year and this team has some key questions. Over the last two years, this defense has been awful. Mayock needs a lot of his top draft picks such as Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette, and Johnathan Abram to play much better. All of these players also happen to be on defense, part of the reason this unit has struggled. Second-year wide receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards have to be more reliable. A few of Mayock’s top additions are Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow, and Maxx Crosby.
27. Carolina Panthers
Scott Fitterer was hired by the Panthers in January. He hired Dan Morgan to be his assistant general manager shortly after this year’s draft. In his first free agency as the general manager, Fitterer bolstered a defense that needed it. He signed multiple free agents to help the front seven. Morgan Fox, DaQuan Jones, Haason Reddick, and Denzel Perryman were all solid additions. In the draft, he added exciting cornerback prospect, Jaycee Horn. Offensively, Sam Darnold and Terrace Marshall Jr. were his two most notable additions. The Darnold transaction will be pivotal for the Panthers if they can get to the next level.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
This offseason, the Jaguars hired Trent Baalke to be their general manager. Baalke took over the worst team in football from a year ago and made the easy decision to draft Trevor Lawrence. It will be crucial for Baalke to surround Lawrence with the best possible talent around him. He signed Marvin Jones and drafted Travis Etienne who will help. Eventually, it will be up to Baalke to put enough talent on this roster for this team to greatly improve.
29. Detroit Lions
General manager Brad Holmes was hired by the Lions in the offseason. His first key move was moving Matthew Stafford. In doing so, he gained a ton of draft capital. Holmes invested a ton of resources into the trenches. He re-signed Romeo Okwara and traded for Michael Brockers. Holmes signed star center Frank Ragnow for the long-term. His first three draft picks were Sewell, Levi Onwuzurike, and Alim McNeill. The Lions are likely to struggle this season, but the foundation was built this offseason.
30. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons hired Terry Fontenot to be their new key decision-maker. Fontenot made two very big moves in his first offseason. He traded Jones, a long-time Falcon. The team did not have much salary cap space so someone had to be moved. In the draft, he opted to select a very unique tight end prospect in Kyle Pitts. This team still has needs which leads to a lot of work for Fontenot to do.
31. Houston Texans
Nick Caserio was hired by the Texans in the offseason. Caserio took over a mess of a situation. With Deshaun Watson‘s situation, a lack of salary cap space, and no premium draft picks on an already bad team he could not alter too much. Eventually, key decisions will have to be made that he will have to get right to improve this team.
32. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have the worst front office in the NFL. They do not have much of a scouting department. On the pro side of personnel, they are relatively cheap. Duke Tobin makes the decisions for the Bengals. In the offseason, they let young, core players on defense like Lawson and William Jackson III go. In turn, the replacements they signed were both downgrades. Their offensive line was a major need and was hardly addressed. This team mismanaged many personnel decisions in the offseason.
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