Pickard’s 2020 NFL Power Rankings: May Edition

The NFL Draft and the peak of free agency are in the rearview mirror. Although the COVID-19 pandemic stands in the way, NFL workout programs are next on the agenda. With that in mind, NFL rosters are beginning to take shape and it’s becoming clear whether teams will be tanking or contending.

Without further ado, here are NFL power rankings as of May.

32. Washington Redskins

The Redskins made a huge addition by snagging Chase Young. However, losing Trent Williams is a painful move, especially when the man hiding behind the suddenly-bare offensive line is sophomore Dwayne Haskins, who struggled last season.

31. Detroit Lions

The Lions made the right choice by holding on to their pick and selecting Jeffrey Okudah. With that said, Okudah is merely a replacement for Darius Slay, who was traded to the Eagles, meaning the Lions’ defense didn’t really improve, it just returned to the status quo. The offense will continue to hover around mediocrity.

30. Chicago Bears

Having one of the best defenses but still ranking 30th overall is not a good sign. The offense got a slight rejuvenation with Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet, but this team will continue to struggle in 2020 because they witnessed one upgrade and many downgrades.

29. New York Jets

The Jets solidified their offensive line and navigated a great draft, but the offense is still a question mark. The wide receiver corps is nothing impressive while in the backfield, New York Le’Veon Bell is not nearly as productive as Pittsburgh Le’Veon Bell.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars escaped Nick Foles’s contract thanks to a trade with the Bears but struggled just about everywhere else. They continued the destruction of their once-league-best defense and even explored trade talks for Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars are heading in a downward direction, which seems to be their goal.

27. Carolina Panthers

It’s understandable for a team to over-address a position of need so they can solidify their depth. With that said, failing to select a single offensive player in the draft is painful. Adding Robby Anderson and Teddy Bridgewater are huge moves, but it’s still hard to imagine a significant push from Carolina.

26. New York Giants

A team can only do some much with the resources they have. New York achieved as many moves as they realistically could with the cap space and draft picks at their disposal and they didn’t make any awful moves. However, they failed to address their skill positions and could be headed towards another underachieving season.

25. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders drafted a lot of receivers and added to the quarterback competition, further solidifying their depth. The defense looks good, too, but the offensive line is somewhat concerning. All-around, this is an average team with controversies at quarterback and maybe even head coach.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

Drafting Joe Burrow was inevitable and that should finalize a well-rounded offense in Cincinnati. However, the offensive line and defense continue to look average at best, so Cincinnati will need to rely on their flashy skill players if they want to make a legitimate playoff push under an unproven head coach in Zac Taylor.

23. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta looked like Super Bowl contenders last offseason. Three months later, head coach Dan Quinn was on the hot seat. This is an unpredictable team, but their decision to free up cap space by moving on from Austin Hooper, Devonta Freeman, Desmond Trufant, and Vic Beasley is going to hurt them significantly.

22. Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray is back with upgraded weapons. David Johnson, a liability in the backfield, was shipped away for one of the league’s best wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins. The defense was solidified, too, leaving offensive line as the main concern with a small and young Murray at the helm.

21. Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles sent off Philip Rivers and welcomed a new quarterback battle between Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert. Other than passing on an offensive lineman early in the draft, Los Angeles navigated it in a wise manner. However, they didn’t make enough improvements to put their name in the playoff conversation.

20. Miami Dolphins

Oh, Miami. They dominated free agency and the draft with their cap space and surplus of draft picks, leaving them in a good position. The moves will certainly translate to wins, but how long will that take? Miami is on the outside looking in and likely won’t secure a playoff spot this season.

19. Cleveland Browns

Adding Austin Hooper to complement David Njoku adds a nice touch but Baker Mayfield still hasn’t proven himself as a quarterback who can make a playoff push. The defense looks scary, too; selecting Grant Delpit in the second round was a steal. Cleveland has playoff potential but it remains to be seen whether or not they get over the hump in 2020.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger should be back in 2020, which is an immediate boost. However, wide receiver is as unstable as ever, with doubts surrounding JuJu Smith-Schuster. The defense looks reliable again, but it remains to be seen if this is an offense that can squeak into a Wild Card spot.

17. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams parted with Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley (among other cap casualties), but the selections of Van Jefferson and Cam Akers were positive. This defense will remain scary while the offensive line should be in a similar situation. However, Jared Goff and the rest of the skill players don’t have enough cohesion or experience combined to make a legitimate playoff push.

16. Indianapolis Colts

Adding Philip Rivers and Jacob Eason were huge moves, but the Colts pushed away Eric Ebron and Jacoby Brissett in the process. They also cut Malik Hooker, which dealt a blow to the defense. Indianapolis did add depth at receiver and running back, and they should be a fringe playoff team in 2020.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

2020 should play out much like 2019, with the Eagles and Cowboys fighting for one final playoff spot. Philadelphia could be the odd team out, but they will at least make a push after adding immense help at wideout. The offensive line remains dominant while most of the defense is still intact.

14. Dallas Cowboys

Drafting CeeDee Lamb was surely a move that Cowboys fans welcomed. This offense is going to be even more explosive, while the offensive line should rebound and the defense will remain successful. Expect a playoff push from the Cowboys in 2020.

13. Tennessee Titans

The Titans will take a step back after their miraculous 2019 but expect them to reach the playoffs again. Wide receiver is still a shaky position, but A.J. Brown’s emergence last year was huge. Ryan Tannehill should thrive while Derrick Henry will continue to explode. The offensive line took a hit by losing Jack Conklin, but this team is still an all-around contender.

12. Houston Texans

Trading away DeAndre Hopkins is painful, but the team landed Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb to help soften the blow. Plus, don’t forget that MVP-candidate Deshaun Watson is under center. This defense is still scary and the offensive line is finally average. Houston shouldn’t expect a Super Bowl, but the playoffs are likely.

11. Minnesota Vikings

Stefon Diggs is gone, but this offense is still exciting. Justin Jefferson should compliment Adam Thielen nicely, while there is solid depth behind star running back Dalvin Cook. Defensively, losing Everson Griffen hurts but placing the franchise tag safety Anthony Harris was a wise move. The Vikings should secure a wild-card spot in 2020.

10. New England Patriots

The Patriots were hit again by the loss of players this offseason, but this time, Tom Brady found his way to Tampa Bay. The defense is still one of the best in the league, but the offense is worrisome with a weak offensive line and inexperience at quarterback. New England shouldn’t fall off the cliff of relevancy, but they likely won’t win their division.

9. Denver Broncos

This ranking of Denver is sure to ruffle some feathers, but it’s obvious that this is a rising team poised to thrive in 2020. They have a ferocious two-headed monster at running back, one of the best wide receiver corps in the game, and a future star at quarterback in Drew Lock. The defense isn’t getting any younger, but the unit remains a formidable brick wall.

8. Buffalo Bills

Buffalo emerged in 2019 as a strong playoff contender. Josh Allen continues to grow into a talented quarterback, and he surely welcomes the addition of Stefon Diggs. However, the big focus should be on the defense, as Buffalo’s unit is the best in the NFL. Coupling a league-best defense with a dynamic and explosive offense should make the Bills legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

7. Green Bay Packers

Failing to select a wide receiver in the draft was a painful decision, but the Packers should still see success in 2020. Green Bay possesses an underrated defense and an Aaron Rodgers-led offense that is known for its heroics. The odds might be stacked against Green Bay, but they should prevail.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an incredible offseason, with the additions of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady being paramount. Losing Breshad Perriman is an underrated deficit, but all in all, the Buccaneers are poised for a highly successful 2020 season, especially if their defense can replicate the success they boasted last year.

5. San Francisco 49ers

Winning the NFC was a huge step for the 49ers just one year after posting the second-worst record in the league. San Francisco suffered some losses—such as Emmanuel Sanders, who signed with the Saints—but the Niners are expected to make a playoff push once again.

4. Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson won’t be the MVP in 2020 and he will surely come back down to Earth. However, he is still a star quarterback and should lead his team back to the playoffs in his third professional year. Baltimore had a highly successful draft and a decent receiving corps coupled with a great backfield (not to mention a standout defense) should keep them on the map next year.

3. Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks, who proved their dominance over the 49ers last year, were one bad call away from a shot at the Super Bowl. Losing Jadeveon Clowney hurts but the Seahawks have addressed several areas of need ahead of a playoff pursuit in 2020. Beyond an explosive offense and sturdy defense, Seattle’s depth chart is one of the best in the NFL.

2. New Orleans Saints

The Saints’ playoff woes have hurt them immensely, but the course of history can be altered. New Orleans has one of the best all-around rosters in football while also achieving one of football’s best offseasons. The Saints continue to improve and should land themselves in the playoffs once again.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

The reigning Super Bowl champions are back and had a quiet offseason, which isn’t always a bad thing. They lacked additions, but they lacked deductions, too, meaning their league-best roster is still intact. Plus, you can never put doubt in Patrick Mahomes. This team is No. 1 until they consistently prove otherwise.

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