The NFL Power Rankings are selected by a panel of theScore’s football editors.
1. Buffalo Bills
Post-draft rank: 1
The Bills got better this year, and that should scare everyone around the NFL. Assuming Tre’Davious White doesn’t miss a beat following his ACL rehab and rookie Kaiir Elam slides in as a starter at corner, Buffalo’s defense will remain excellent. Von Miller might be the missing piece of the puzzle for the unit.
2. Los Angeles Rams
Post-draft rank: 2
Things couldn’t be going much better for the Rams, who signed their most important players to long-term deals in the offseason and have seen their top additions this year shine early at camp, including receiver Allen Robinson.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Post-draft rank: 3
How the Chiefs fare without wide receiver Tyreek Hill and safety Tyrann Mathieu remains to be seen, but Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid alone make Kansas City one of the NFL’s scariest teams. Plus, rookie Skyy Moore, who could be an important part of Kansas City’s new-look receiving corps, has stood out at camp so far.
4. Los Angeles Chargers
Post-draft rank: 5
The Chargers’ offense showed its talent last season but needed help on defense after allowing the fourth-most points in the league, and they aggressively tackled that issue. The defense will need to step up to go on a deep playoff run, and the new-look unit seems to be clicking so far.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Post-draft rank: 6
Many believe the 2021 Bengals are a one-year wonder, but we’ll give Cincy the benefit of the doubt. It’s scary to think that the likes of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase will only get better as they gain more experience. Not only did the Bengals keep all their best players, but the club also bolstered its offensive line and secondary, addressing the top offseason priorities.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Post-draft rank: 4
Julio Jones hasn’t been nearly as productive as he once was, but the seven-time Pro Bowler was an exciting addition for Tampa Bay. However, excitement quickly evaporated when starting center Ryan Jensen went down with a knee injury. Losing Jensen for multiple months is a big blow to one of the league’s premier O-lines.
7. Green Bay Packers
Post-draft rank: 7
Aaron Rodgers and an underrated defense make the Packers contenders in the NFC, but Green Bay has to develop more talent around its quarterback to reach the Super Bowl. Injuries have been an issue early at camp, with rookie receiver Christian Watson and tackle David Bakhtiari nursing knee ailments.
8. Baltimore Ravens
Post-draft rank: 9
The Ravens still have time to sign Lamar Jackson to an extension before the season, and they should try to make that happen as the price will continue to rise. After a solid offseason and with Jackson and other stars fully healthy again, Baltimore will continue to be one of the league’s most competitive teams.
9. Denver Broncos
Post-draft rank: 10
Is Denver already a Super Bowl contender? Trading for Russell Wilson did solve the Broncos’ biggest problem, but this is still an unproven roster that has talent but also little margin for error in the NFL’s toughest division.
10. Las Vegas Raiders
Post-draft rank: 13
With Davante Adams making everything look easy, the Raiders’ offense is already firing on all cylinders. Competing in the AFC West won’t be easy, but Las Vegas got better. The Raiders don’t get as much love as the Chiefs, Chargers, and even Broncos, but they seem just fine with being underdogs.
11. Dallas Cowboys
Post-draft rank: 11
It feels like every year is the same story for the Cowboys: Their coach finds himself on the hot seat but there’s enough individual talent on the roster to make a deep run. Some of that talent departed in the offseason, but the main rookies – including wide receiver Jalen Tolbert – are impressing at camp. That’s promising for the Cowboys, who will be without injured wideouts Michael Gallup and James Washington to start the season.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
Post-draft rank: 16
The Eagles stood out early in free agency and the draft, and they’ve since gotten better, signing starting corner James Bradberry and veteran safety Jaquiski Tartt. Philly is prepared to compete in the NFC, and it’s now Jalen Hurts’ time to take the team to the next level in a make-or-break season for the third-year quarterback.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Post-draft rank: 12
Indy already employed a great running game and solid defense, so moving from quarterback Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan made the team an early AFC South favorite. But the Colts haven’t added a proven receiver and seem fine with Parris Campbell and rookie Alec Pierce being the main weapons behind Michael Pittman Jr. That’s not ideal when you’re competing in an AFC overloaded with serious Super Bowl contenders.
14. Tennessee Titans
Post-draft rank: 14
Tennessee heads into the season with more questions than they did last year, largely due to its passing game. Some of those issues will quickly be fixed if Treylon Burks lives up to his billing, though. The first-round rookie wideout, drafted this year to replace A.J. Brown, reportedly struggled during OTAs but has already turned heads at training camp.
15. Cleveland Browns
Post-draft rank: 8
Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension is shorter than many around the NFL expected, but the Browns will still start the season with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. While that isn’t ideal, it doesn’t ruin Cleveland’s year. If Brissett can win a couple of games, the Browns will be in a strong position to compete in the AFC North when Watson returns. His receiving corps remains an issue, though. Two of Cleveland’s main wideouts – rookie David Bell and Anthony Schwartz – are battling injuries, creating more problems for a team that was already thin at wide receiver.
16. Miami Dolphins
Post-draft rank: 20
Can you blame Dolphins fans for being excited? Miami’s put on a show at camp. With Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson, and Raheem Mostert, the Dolphins might have the fastest offense in the league. But the fastest car won’t win without an elite driver behind the wheel. Tua Tagovailoa, with the help of first-year coach Mike McDaniel, must prove he’s the right quarterback for this team, and he looks ready to do so.
17. San Francisco 49ers
Post-draft rank: 15
Going from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance creates questions at quarterback but also raises the team’s ceiling. Signing Deebo Samuel to an extension was important, but the 49ers still have other concerns. Their O-line interior remains a work in progress after Alex Mack’s retirement, and defensive lineman Arik Armstead recently suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for multiple weeks.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Post-draft rank: 18
The Vikings hired first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah but avoided a complete roster overhaul and mostly made win-now moves in the offseason. But is this team – which hasn’t made the playoffs in two years – actually ready to win now? The Vikings are better than they were a year ago, but they’re not a threat in the NFC yet.
19. Arizona Cardinals
Post-draft rank: 17
We all thought the Cardinals would start training camp without any more drama after finally inking an extension with Kyler Murray. However, the independent study clause in the quarterback’s new contract stole the headlines and created a big distraction, eventually resulting in Arizona removing it from the deal.
20. New Orleans Saints
Post-draft rank: 22
The signings of Tyrann Mathieu and receiver Jarvis Landry show that New Orleans wants to make noise in the NFC this year despite longtime coach Sean Payton’s retirement. Getting Michael Thomas back is also huge. The Saints’ biggest concern now is Alvin Kamara, whom the NFL can still suspend under the personal conduct policy.
21. New England Patriots
Post-draft rank: 19
The Patriots’ ceiling doesn’t seem high enough to contend in the AFC, but things could change if the defense continues its dominance and Mac Jones makes a big jump in his sophomore season. Early reports at camp indicate Jones is off to a strong start, and some of his highlights corroborate that.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Post-draft rank: 21
Is this the year the Steelers post their first losing season under coach Mike Tomlin? Pittsburgh has a huge question mark at quarterback as rookie Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky compete for the job. Neither has reportedly impressed at camp so far. But would Pickett, whom we expect to beat out Trubisky at some point, be ready to shine right away in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions? Unless the defense has an impeccable season, it could be a long year in Pittsburgh.
23. Carolina Panthers
Post-draft rank: 27
The narrative surrounding the Panthers is mostly the same as a year ago: They have issues at quarterback. Trading for Baker Mayfield doesn’t solve the team’s issue immediately, but it adds to the mix a player who two years ago was considered a franchise QB and almost beat the Chiefs in the playoffs. Mayfield should beat out Sam Darnold to Carolina’s starting job.
24. New York Jets
Post-draft rank: 24
Zach Wilson’s reportedly shown improvement in camp after struggling in his rookie season. New Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah even sees similarities between Wilson and Joe Burrow. If Wilson has a Year 2 leap as big as the one Uzomah helped Burrow post with the Bengals in 2021, the Jets may finally take flight.
25. Washington Commanders
Post-draft rank: 23
New logo and name, same on-field problems. The Commanders’ biggest uncertainty is under center, as it remains to be seen how Carson Wentz – Washington’s seventh different starting quarterback since 2020 – will perform. On the other side of the ball, star defensive end Chase Young was already ruled out for Week 1 as he recovers from a torn ACL.
26. Detroit Lions
Post-draft rank: 25
Detroit is entering Year 2 of a promising rebuild under coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes. Limitations on offense and glaring holes on defense remain, but the Lions are destined to improve after winning just three games last year.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Post-draft rank: 26
There’s no way the Jaguars will pick first overall for a third straight draft, right? Getting excited about Jacksonville can be risky, but Trevor Lawrence heads into Year 2 with a proven head coach in Doug Pederson and an improved supporting cast.
28. New York Giants
Post-draft rank: 28
New GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll inherited a team with a lot of issues, but the Giants employ talented players on both sides of the ball. Daboll has a lot of work to do, but his life would be much easier in the Big Apple if he can find a way to turn quarterback Daniel Jones’ career around.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Post-draft rank: 29
Good news, Seahawks fans: Drew Lock is not getting most first-team reps at training camp. The bad news: Geno Smith is ahead of him on the depth chart. It’s hard to envision good things for Seattle with its current QB situation.
30. Atlanta Falcons
Post-draft rank: 31
Atlanta’s ultimate goal is to find its next franchise quarterback, but that won’t be easy this year with Marcus Mariota and third-round rookie Desmond Ridder being the top options. The development of young stars such as Kyle Pitts and Drake London is also crucial for the Falcons to find success in the post-Matt Ryan era.
31. Chicago Bears
Post-draft rank: 30
It looks like this will be a long season for the Bears, whose O-line and receiving corps face big questions as new GM Ryan Poles and first-year head coach Matt Eberflus usher in a new era in Chicago. Let’s just hope they don’t fail quarterback Justin Fields for too long.
32. Houston Texans
Post-draft rank: 32
For the Texans – owners of perhaps the NFL’s most talent-deficient roster – training camp and preseason will be about evaluating the development of young players. Unfortunately, second-round rookie receiver John Metchie is unlikely to play this year after being diagnosed with leukemia.