NFL Power Rankings: Where every team stands after 2021 draft

The NFL Power Rankings are selected by a panel of RunSportBet’s football editors.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Post-FA rank: 1

The Buccaneers maintain their top spot, though the Chiefs closed the gap by continuing an aggressive approach to retooling the club’s offensive line. But Tampa Bay’s roster is still the league’s most talented after a spectacular free-agency period, and its pass rush became even more fearsome with the first-round addition of Joe Tryon.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Post-FA rank: 2

Trading their first-round pick for Orlando Brown was a bold move from the Chiefs. But the decision looks even better in hindsight following the draft. There are two years left before Patrick Mahomes’ cap hit spikes to lead the league, and no player available at No. 31 would’ve been anywhere near as ready as Brown to step in and protect the quarterback’s blindside.

3. Buffalo Bills

Post-FA rank: 3

With only a lack of pass-rushing talent potentially preventing Josh Allen and Co. from making another run at the AFC crown, Buffalo was wise to take two shots at landing an impact defensive end with its first two picks. Carlos Basham Jr. could be a surprise early standout from this draft.

4. Cleveland Browns

Post-FA rank: 6

Cleveland’s offseason approach was one of the league’s smartest, which still feels weird. The Browns engineered a top-eight draft class to complement a great free-agency period. Cornerback Greg Newsome and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah can be immediate contributors for an ascending defense.

5. Baltimore Ravens

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Post-FA rank: 7

Baltimore didn’t land any of the big-name wideouts it coveted in free agency, ultimately settling for Sammy Watkins. So it was imperative to get one of the tier-two receiver options at No. 27. Their pick, Rashod Bateman, boasts the kind of well-rounded skill set that’s lacking in the rest of Lamar Jackson’s weapons.

6. Los Angeles Rams

Post-FA rank: 5

We were big fans of the Rams acquiring quarterback Matthew Stafford, even considering the hefty price tag. But the team’s draft tempered our expectations somewhat. Los Angeles not selecting an offensive lineman was a baffling decision, as was using its first pick on a 155-pound receiver in TuTu Atwell.

7. Green Bay Packers

Post-FA rank: 4

While Green Bay’s draft was underwhelming, the team didn’t hurt its standing among the NFL’s elite. What will hurt, though, is antagonizing your star quarterback to the point he demands an exit. Aaron Rodgers’ reported disgruntlement dominated draft weekend. Even if it’s just a small chance the team puts Jordan Love under center in 2021, the Packers can no longer be seen as a top-five squad.

8. Seattle Seahawks

Post-FA rank: 9

The Seahawks only owned three draft picks, so radically altering their outlook through the draft was always going to be hard. The biggest win for Seattle over the draft weekend was arguably Rodgers taking the trade-rumor heat off Russell Wilson for the foreseeable future.

9. New Orleans Saints

Post-FA rank: 8

Rumors were flying prior to Thursday that New Orleans would jump into the top 10 for a defender or Mac Jones. That speculation made the Saints’ ultimate haul disappointing. Maybe they were right not to go all-in with Drew Brees gone, but their roster is still one of the NFC’s best, and the Saints didn’t land a Day 1 contributor.

10. San Francisco 49ers

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Post-FA rank: 16

That giant sigh of relief you heard around 9 p.m. ET on Thursday collectively came from 49ers fans who had spent the last month hoping their team wasn’t set to mortgage its future on Jones. Instead, Trey Lance is their next franchise quarterback. While Lance is raw and might not start right away, the 49ers take a leap up based on their raised ceiling for this season.

11. Arizona Cardinals

Post-FA rank: 10

Rondale Moore landing with the Cardinals was one of the most ideal fits of the draft. Arizona needed more speed and run-after-the-catch ability from its wideout group, and Moore brings those skills. And with DeAndre Hopkins on the field, he also won’t need to deal with defenses focussing on him too much.

12. Tennessee Titans

Post-FA rank: 12

The Titans are regularly one of the NFL’s biggest draft risk-takers, so it wasn’t a surprise to see them select cornerback Caleb Farley. If Farley and second-round offensive tackle Dillon Radun can fill Tennessee’s most pressing needs from Day 1, the team’s spot in the AFC’s second tier is solidified.

13. Indianapolis Colts

Post-FA rank: 13

After Carson Wentz’s struggles against pressure in 2020, Indy took a gamble prioritizing its pass rush over getting a new left tackle. With so much riding on Wentz turning his career around, the Colts can’t afford to miss out on a veteran addition to their offensive line.

14. Miami Dolphins

Post-FA rank: 14

Miami hit its draft class out of the park, landing two of our top-10 talents in receiver Jaylen Waddle and pass-rusher Jaelan Phillips. Whether the Dolphins can compete with the AFC’s top clubs will come down to Tua Tagovailoa’s second-year development. But the team has done all it can to set him up for success.

15. Washington Football Team

Post-FA rank: 11

Washington remains our favorite for the NFC East crown, though that’s not a major compliment because the rest of the division couldn’t crack the top half of these rankings. But it’s disappointing Washington didn’t grab one of the top rookie quarterbacks, leaving the team to live and die this season on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s erratic arm.

16. New England Patriots

Post-FA rank: 15

While Cam Newton didn’t produce a good 2020 campaign, he should still hold off Jones for the starting job, at least to start the season. If the 2015 MVP can’t rebound, it won’t be due to a lack of talent around him this time. Meanwhile, Jones is a solid Plan B for the Patriots.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Post-FA rank: 18

The Chargers are the most likely team to raise your expectations in the offseason, then fall flat on their face once the games begin and make your confidence seem foolish. But with L.A. nabbing Rashawn Slater and Asante Samuel Jr. in the first two rounds without moving up, it’s easy to fall into the trap again.

18. Dallas Cowboys

Post-FA rank: 19

Dallas focused on its defense while using eight of its 11 picks on the unit, including five straight to begin the draft. It was a much-needed infusion of talent, but it’s fair to question if the Cowboys were smart to select multiple players with character issues, and use their first-rounder on another attempt to solidify the linebacker position.

19. Minnesota Vikings

Post-FA rank: 23

Though Minnesota’s draft wasn’t the most eye-catching, general manager Rick Spielman is still making intelligent moves to keep his team competitive. Offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw offered great value at No. 23, and he fills the biggest void on a talented offense.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Post-FA rank: 17

Najee Harris is a great prospect, but he’s not a generational talent. And he needs to be on that level to produce behind one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines. Though Pittsburgh has earned the benefit of the doubt, picking Harris could soon be seen as a luxury with the Big Ben era winding down.

21. Chicago Bears

Post-FA rank: 26

Justin Fields was the No. 2 quarterback in this class for many, including us. Trading up for him at No. 11 led to outstanding value, and the Bears also reinvigorated the feeling around their team. More mediocrity with Andy Dalton isn’t inevitable now. For the first time in a while, Chicago will actually be fun to watch.

22. Denver Broncos

Post-FA rank: 20

The Broncos passing on Fields at No. 9 could haunt them fast. Drew Lock is a borderline starter and not a franchise player, while Teddy Bridgewater is competent but unremarkable. But Denver’s brass could look like geniuses if the team can pull off a trade for a certain aggrieved reigning MVP.

23. Las Vegas Raiders

Post-FA rank: 21

You have to admire the Raiders’ confidence in their evaluations and willingness to go against the general consensus on players. But if they don’t start hitting on their early picks to validate the front office’s process, general manager Mike Mayock might pay the price.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

Post-FA rank: 24

Cincinnati selecting receiver Ja’Marr Chase over Sewell at No. 5 could be the most consequential decision of the Joe Burrow era. Sure, reuniting the ex-LSU teammates might produce fireworks. But if the team’s offensive line remains unable to protect Burrow – who’s coming off a torn ACL – fans will be quick to second-guess the move.

25. New York Giants

Post-FA rank: 22

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman finally realized the virtues of trading down while dropping in the first and second rounds to accumulate 2022 picks. Though Gettleman becoming more flexible is encouraging, he’ll likely need New York to produce a winning season if the executive wants to stick around and use those future assets.

26. Carolina Panthers

Post-FA rank: 25

There won’t be any excuses for Sam Darnold if he can’t resurrect his career in Carolina. He was already set to benefit from a dynamic trio in Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson. After taking cornerback Jaycee Horn at No. 8, the Panthers used their next three picks to bolster Darnold’s supporting cast even further.

27. Philadelphia Eagles

Post-FA rank: 28

An embarrassing clip showing general manager Howie Roseman and a team executive seemingly upset over a decision somewhat overshadowed the Eagles’ rookie class. While Philadelphia came out strong with DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson, it’s hard not to worry even more about the club’s front office after last season’s drama.

28. New York Jets

Post-FA rank: 27

The Jets seemed to have learned their lesson from the Darnold era. After taking Zach Wilson at No. 2, New York made sure to get its new quarterback as much help as possible, using pick Nos. 14, 34, and 107 on offensive players.

29. Atlanta Falcons

Post-FA rank: 29

Getting a grasp on what the Falcons are doing is difficult. If they want to compete right away with Matt Ryan, why are we hearing Julio Jones trade talk? Atlanta is seemingly trying to balance winning now and building for the future, and it could be in danger of failing on both fronts as a result.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars

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Post-FA rank: 30

Trevor Lawrence was the biggest slam-dunk pick at No. 1 since Andrew Luck in 2012, and he’ll immediately elevate the Jaguars this season. But the team’s 2021 fate will likely come down to how quickly head coach Urban Meyer adjusts to the professional level.

31. Detroit Lions

Post-FA rank: 31

New Lions head coach Dan Campbell wants to build a team that will “bite a kneecap off” its opponents. Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes’ first draft – with two maulers in offensive tackle Penei Sewell and defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike headlining the haul – was the first major step in that direction.

32. Houston Texans

Post-FA rank: 32

Deshaun Watson’s legal troubles continue to hang over the Texans. So it wasn’t surprising that Houston used a third-rounder – which was its first pick in the draft – on quarterback Davis Mills. Even if Watson’s off-field issues are resolved, he likely won’t reconsider his trade demand.