NFL Power Rankings: How Do Experts Stack Up Teams After the Draft?
The NFL is far different today than the league everyone remembers from just three months ago.
The Denver Broncos are still the reigning world champions, but their roster is drastically different compared to the one that took the field against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Peyton Manning officially retired.
Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, Evan Mathis, David Bruton Jr. and Ryan Harris were all key contributors who can now be found on other rosters.
Even Brock Osweiler—the supposed quarterback of the future—didn't want to stay in the Mile High City and chose to sign with the Houston Texans instead of taking the reins of a Super Bowl-caliber franchise.
The Broncos situation serves as a microcosm of the changes seen across the league. Teams combined to spend over $1 billion in free agency. The 2016 NFL draft further differentiated the talent pool.
Thus, what everyone came to know by the end of the 2015 campaign no longer applies.
To make sense of it all, eight Bleacher Report NFL writers—Gary Davenport, Mike Freeman, Brad Gagnon, Matt Miller, Ty Schalter, Mike Tanier, Sean Tomlinson and myself—determined which teams are currently the best and the worst the NFL has to offer.
To build a consensus for these power rankings, each squad's ranking from each writer was added to the others. The lowest totals indicated the best teams, while the highest totals marked the other end of the spectrum. If there was a tie, the club with the single highest vote got the nod as the better squad.
Forget what you thought you knew, because it's a new day in professional football.
32. San Francisco 49ers
Additions: Zane Beadles
Subtractions: Alex Boone, Anquan Boldin
Analysis: After last year's tumultuous offseason, the San Francisco 49ers and their fans are probably enjoying a far less hectic spring. Players aren't leaving by the bushelful, and this year's head coaching search wasn't made for reality television.
New head coach Chip Kelly still has to smooth things over with his starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, but it looks like things are finally settling. Kelly will implement his uptempo spread offense, which should greatly benefit Kaepernick.
The team did lose a stalwart up front when Alex Boone signed with the Minnesota Vikings, but the mauling guard wasn't an ideal fit in Kelly's heavy zone scheme. The team quickly replaced him with the veteran Zane Beadles, who has started 94 of 96 games since he came into the league in 2010.
There's still plenty of work to be done in San Francisco, but the team can now set its sights on moving forward with what's on the roster and how these players fit into Kelly's grand plans.
Draft Picks: DeForest Buckner, Joshua Garnett, Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson, Ronald Blair, John Theus, Fahn Cooper, Jeff Driskel, Kelvin Taylor, Aaron Burbridge, Prince Charles Iworah
Analysis: Kelly believes in a certain philosophy: "Bigger people beat up little people." This explains why the organization made the moves it did in the first round of the draft.
At 6'7" and 291 pounds, DeForest Buckner was one of the most physically talented prospects in the class. The massive defensive end will transition smoothly from Oregon's two-gap system to Jim O'Neil's three-man front. He'll do so while joining last year's first-round pick and former Ducks teammate Arik Armstead. The duo should prove to be very difficult for opposing offensive lines to handle.
When the 49ers traded back into the first round, the organization surprised most onlookers with the selection of Stanford guard Joshua Garnett. The selection really shouldn't have been much of a surprise. The reigning Outland Trophy winner epitomizes Kelly's philosophy. He'll slide into one of the starting guard spots and help set the tone up front.
The potential surprise in the 49ers' draft class could be quarterback Jeff Driskel. If things sour between Kaepernick and the organization or the starting signal-caller gets hurt along the way, Driskel is a tremendous athlete who could excel in Kelly's offense.
Jim Harbaugh brought the 49ers back to respectability by building a tough team in the trenches and taking advantage of an athletic quarterback. Kelly looks to be following in those footsteps.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 31
31. Cleveland Browns
Additions: Robert Griffin III, Demario Davis, Alvin Bailey, Rahim Moore, Jamar Taylor
Analysis: Out with the old and in with the new. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam once again made sweeping reforms within the front office and coaching staff. Yet there is actually some hope in C-town for the first time in a long time.
Why? Hue Jackson.
Many believed the former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator and Oakland Raiders head coach was the top head coaching candidate on the market. Jackson is well respected around the league, a demanding coach and a relentless optimist.
The Browns also couldn't move on quickly enough from previous general manager Ray Farmer and built a new executive board with executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry—all former Harvard graduates.
With any new regime, changes are inevitable. Four of the Browns' top starters left via free agency, and the organization is still desperately searching for a franchise quarterback.
If Robert Griffin III—whom the team signed as a free agent—can return to his 2012 form, the organization might have finally figured it out and can start building toward something of substance.
Draft Picks: Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Shon Coleman, Cody Kessler, Joe Schobert, Ricardo Louis, Derrick Kindred, Seth DeValve, Jordan Payton, Spencer Drango, Rashard Higgins, Trey Caldwell, Scooby Wright III
Analysis: A quantity-over-quality approach ruled draft weekend for the Browns. In total, the team tied a modern draft record with 14 total selections.
Clearly, the new front office realized the NFL is a pass-first league and wanted to get more talented at wide receiver by selecting four targets. On the flip side, the defense should be able to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks with the addition of multiple edge defenders.
Ultimately, the success of this year's draft class will hinge on the organization's willingness to trade out of the second overall pick, thus bypassing a potential franchise quarterback.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 32
30. Tennessee Titans
Additions: DeMarco Murray, Ben Jones, Rishard Matthews, Rashad Johnson, Antwon Blake
Subtractions: Michael Griffin, Steven Johnson, Coty Sensabaugh
Analysis: The approach is rather simple: Once an organization believes it has acquired a franchise quarterback, the only path is to build around him.
With Marcus Mariota already in place, new Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson needed to build a better cockpit for the dynamic signal-caller.
Four major offseason moves should instantly make the Titans offense better.
First, the team hired interim head coach Mike Mularkey for the permanent position. Mularkey might not have experienced much success during previous stops with the Buffalo Bills or Jacksonville Jaguars, but it's important for Mariota to be in the same system for a second straight season.
Second, a trade for DeMarco Murray barely cost the team anything. By flipping fourth-round picks in this year's draft, the Titans now have a running back who ran for 1,845 yards just two seasons ago. If Mularkey uses him properly, Murray could quickly return to form.
Finally, Ben Jones and Rishard Matthews might not be viewed as big-time acquisitions, but both upgrade positions of need. Jones is an experienced starting center, and Matthews instantly improves a very poor wide receiver corps.
All eyes are on Mariota, but everyone should instead be looking at the improvements made around him.
Draft Picks: Jack Conklin, Kevin Dodd, Austin Johnson, Derrick Henry, Kevin Byard, Tajae Sharpe, LeShaun Sims, Sebastian Tretola, Aaron Wallace, Kalan Reed
Analysis: Robinson made a name for himself right out of the gates by trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams. The Titans received a windfall of picks in the deal.
With the extra capital, the Titans could manipulate the draft to their liking. Robinson did so by trading back into the top 10 to acquire Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin. Conklin can improve the Titans offensive line at multiple positions. The team has yet to determine if he'll play left or right tackle. He could even move inside to guard. Wherever Conklin eventually lands, he'll be an upgrade.
Conklin might headline this year's class, but the Titans' second round will eventually determine how successful the team really was in its execution.
With three second-round picks, Tennessee chose Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson and Alabama running back Derrick Henry.
Dodd can provide a legitimate presence off the edge opposite Brian Orakpo. Johnson is a talented interior defender who brings both size and athleticism to the team's three-man front. And Henry might be the most interesting of all three. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner will bring a physical presence and form a tremendous one-two punch with Murray.
Last year, the Titans featured the league's worst roster. They're quickly improving under Robinson.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 30
29. San Diego Chargers
Additions: Travis Benjamin, Casey Hayward, Brandon Mebane, Dwight Lowery
Subtractions: Eric Weddle, Ladarius Green, Kendall Reyes, Patrick Robinson
Analysis: A tumultuous offseason surrounded the Chargers organization. A potential move from San Diego loomed liked an ominous cloud. And the team suffered through a messy divorce with one of the franchise's all-time players, Eric Weddle.
Despite these issues, there should be far more hope in San Diego today than there was at the end of the 2015 regular season.
First, the team is staying in San Diego...at least for now. After being ravaged by injuries, multiple key components should be fully healthy going into the next campaign. Last year's first-round pick, running back Melvin Gordon, should be greatly improved. And general manager Tom Telesco landed a few quality players in free agency.
Wide receiver Travis Benjamin will add a completely different dimension to the offense with his speed. "Rabbit" can take the top off any defense, which will create space for Keenan Allen.
The team also added vital components to the secondary after losing Weddle and Patrick Robinson. Casey Hayward is one of the game's best nickel corners, while Dwight Lowery is a veteran presence at free safety.
San Diego might not have "won the offseason" in a traditional sense, but the team will look far more competitive at the start of the 2016 campaign than it did at the end of 2015.
Draft Picks: Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Max Tuerk, Joshua Perry, Jatavis Brown, Drew Kaser, Derek Watt, Donavon Clark
Analysis: The Chargers' selection of Joey Bosa with the third overall pick became the first twist in this year's NFL draft. In part, San Diego needed to keep up with the rest of the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos feature Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware off the edge. The Kansas City Chiefs have Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. And the Oakland Raiders signed Bruce Irvin to play opposite Khalil Mack.
San Diego couldn't fall behind. Like its rivals, it needs to pressure the passer to compete. Bosa will pair with Melvin Ingram, who is coming off a career year, to create a formidable duo.
Bosa isn't the only player in this year's class who can get to the passer. Akron's Jatavis Brown isn't a typical edge player at 5'11" and 227 pounds, but he finished his senior season with 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He can be a versatile weapon used in multiple sub-packages to create even more pressure.
The additions of Hunter Henry and Max Tuerk are important from a depth perspective. Henry is now the heir apparent to Antonio Gates, while Tuerk can play all five offensive line positions—which is critical considering how beat up the Chargers have been on the line.
San Diego was competitive at points last year, but the team's lack of depth absolutely destroyed any chance of a successful season. Those weak points have since been addressed.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 28
28. Chicago Bears
Additions: Bobby Massie, Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, Akiem Hicks, Manny Ramirez
Subtractions: Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, Jermon Bushrod, Jarvis Jenkins, Shea McClellin, Matt Slauson
Analysis: The transition under Chicago Bears head coach John Fox continues into his second year. The team specifically looked at its defense and needed to finish the transition from a four-man front into a true 3-4 system. Last year, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio mixed and matched. This year he'll have talent far more suited to his preferred scheme.
The linebacker corps needed to be revamped. Last year's starting inside linebackers, Christian Jones and Shea McClellin, didn't get the job done. The team prioritized the signings of Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman as a result. Those two will cover more field than almost any other pair of NFL linebackers. They're fast, instinctive and fly to the football.
Akiem Hicks served as a 5-technique throughout his career with the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. When his motor is going full tilt, he can affect an entire game, but that hasn't always been the case.
Finally, on offense, Bobby Massie solidifies the right side of the team's offensive line and allows Kyle Long to slide inside to his natural guard position.
It'll be difficult for the organization to truly replace Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, but the roster today looks far more suited to Fox's vision.
Draft Picks: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, Jonathan Bullard, Nick Kwiatkoski, Deon Bush, Deiondre' Hall, Jordan Howard, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Daniel Braverman
Analysis: Changes at linebacker continued into the draft. In order to acquire Georgia's Leonard Floyd, general manager Ryan Pace leapfrogged the New York Giants to select the rangy defender with the ninth overall pick. Floyd is a far more natural outside linebacker when compared to Lamarr Houston and Pernell McPhee. Those two are much better when moving forward, while Floyd is comfortable working in space.
Second-round pick Cody Whitehair already made veteran guard Matt Slauson expendable. The team released Slauson on Sunday.
The Bears have a clear direction, and only certain types of players fit the mold.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 24
27. Philadelphia Eagles
Additions: Brandon Brooks, Nigel Bradham, Leodis McKelvin, Rodney McLeod, Stefen Wisniewski, Ron Brooks, Rueben Randle, Chase Daniel
Analysis: While the rest of the league might have been making tweaks here or there with their rosters, the Philadelphia Eagles cleaned house in an effort to completely forget the Chip Kelly era.
New head coach Doug Pederson has a completely different approach, and it shows in all the moves the organization made this offseason. Players such as DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso and Mark Sanchez—all handpicked by Kelly—were quickly dumped.
The team remained very active throughout the offseason. After the disaster the offense experienced last year at guard, Brandon Brooks became the top priority. The organization signed the 26-year-old blocker to a five-year, $40 million contract to solidify one spot. The other starting guard spot could be captured by Stefen Wisniewski, who played both guard and center during his career.
Philadelphia proved to be active, but the biggest move was yet to come.
Draft Picks: Carson Wentz, Isaac Seumalo, Wendell Smallwood, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Blake Countess, Jalen Mills, Alex McCalister, Joe Walker
Analysis: Prior to the NFL draft, the Eagles struck a deal with the Cleveland Browns for the second overall pick and the opportunity to select a franchise quarterback. Long before the actual selection, many assumed North Dakota State's Carson Wentz was Philadelphia's target. No one could have been absolutely sure since the Los Angeles Rams picked No. 1 overall, but it became an obvious match for both parties.
Wentz comes out of a pro-style West Coast offense. Pederson—an Andy Reid disciple—will utilize an offensive scheme with heavy West Coast principles. As such, the transition shouldn't be as difficult as expected. The Eagles still have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel on the roster, but this will be Wentz's team moving forward, either this year or the next.
Since the Eagles previously traded their second-round pick to acquire Bradford, the organization had to wait until the third round to make its next selection. Oregon State's Isaac Seumalo became the choice and has an opportunity to potentially start at guard. Philadelphia must build a solid front to get the most out of its quarterbacks.
As long as Wentz works out, this year's draft class will be a home run, but everything is predicated on his development.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 22
26. Detroit Lions
Additions: Marvin Jones, Stevan Ridley, Geoff Schwartz, Stefan Charles, Jeremy Kerley
Subtractions: Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell, James Ihedigbo
Analysis: Megatron isn't walking through that door, nor should the Detroit Lions expect him to. Calvin Johnson dazzled with his combination of intimidating size and graceful athleticism, but he decided to hang up his cleats this offseason.
The Lions aren't a better team without Johnson in the lineup, but they have to try to replace him while figuring how to remain competitive in the NFC North.
The Lions quickly signed Marvin Jones to help fill the void left by the team's all-time leading receiver. Jones has never been a featured target in the NFL. His best season came a year ago when he snagged 65 receptions for 815 yards opposite A.J. Green. The Lions should expect more out of Jones when he pairs with Golden Tate as the team's starting receivers.
Jones might get more opportunities than he expects if the Lions can't fix last year's 32nd-ranked rushing offense. Instead of making a truly concerted effort to improve the running back position, the Lions took another approach in the NFL draft.
Draft Picks: Taylor Decker, A'Shawn Robinson, Graham Glasgow, Miles Killebrew, Joe Dahl, Antwione Williams, Jake Rudock, Anthony Zettel, Jimmy Landes, Dwayne Washington
Analysis: The Lions' offensive line obviously took the blame for last year's struggles. As such, new general manager Bob Quinn decided to load up on big bodies. With three offensive tackles already selected in the first round, Detroit chose Ohio State's Taylor Decker with the 16th overall pick.
"I know the Lions lost a great offensive weapon [in Johnson]," Buckeyes offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said, per the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett. "But they got a solid, solid offensive lineman for a long time that can protect that quarterback."
Quinn added two more offensive linemen before the end of the fifth round. Michigan's Graham Glasgow can compete at guard or center. Washington State's Joe Dahl played left tackle in college, but he's projected to play guard. These types of selections aren't sexy, but they're absolutely vital.
These three big uglies will only add to an offensive line that already featured Larry Warford, Laken Tomlinson and Riley Reiff.
Quinn's message through his first draft as a general manager is clear: A dominant offensive front can cover up other problem areas.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 16
25. Miami Dolphins
Additions: Mario Williams, Jermon Bushrod, Andre Branch, Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell
Subtractions: Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller, Derrick Shelby, Brent Grimes, Rishard Matthews, Jamar Taylor
Analysis: After setting high expectations last offseason, everything fell apart for the Miami Dolphins. The same mistake won't be made twice.
Miami wasn't the big winner in free agency this year. Instead, the organization signed a couple of veterans to fill specific holes on the roster.
Sure, Mario Williams is a big name, but he's on the downside of the career and didn't agree to a megadeal. He'll need to step up and replace the production from Olivier Vernon. Williams and Cameron Wake could be a tremendous one-two punch off the edge. Their combined age is 65 years old, though. Injuries and a lack of production often plague aging players.
Jermon Bushrod is another 30-something added to the lineup. Bushrod followed new head coach Adam Gase from Chicago to Miami, and he'll know the system. He can provide a veteran presence at one of the guard spots.
The other guard spot could be filled by the highest-profile addition to the team's roster.
Draft Picks: Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, Jordan Lucas, Brandon Doughty, Thomas Duarte
Analysis: When the Miami Dolphins traded down from the eighth overall selection to the 13th, they couldn't have possibly imagined Laremy Tunsil would be available.
After all, Tunsil's talent placed him in the conversation as the No. 1 overall player in the draft. Unfortunately, the Ole Miss product's free fall started after the video of his gas-mask bong appeared.
Despite Tunsil's public humiliation, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wasn't bothered by any of it.
"The work that we have done on him and the people we've talked to and even subsequently we continued that and meeting the kid, you know this is a good kid," Ross said, per the Miami Herald's Adam H. Beasley. "It's going to be a great choice."
Veteran Branden Albert will remain at left tackle, while the Florida native is expected to start his career at guard, according to the Herald's Armando Salguero.
Even if other talents in this year's class emerge, Tunsil's situation will define this draft.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 26
24. New York Jets
Additions: Ryan Clady, Matt Forte, Steve McLendon, Jarvis Jenkins, Khiry Robinson
Subtractions: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Chris Ivory, Damon Harrison, Demario Davis, Stevan Ridley, Antonio Allen, Jeremy Kerley
Analysis: Quarterback continues to be the overriding conversation regarding the New York Jets.
At this point, everyone is simply waiting for Ryan Fitzpatrick to re-sign. Exactly when that will happen remains a mystery.
Fitzpatrick's status might be at the forefront, but other major changes occurred throughout New York's roster. Left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson abruptly retired. As a result, general manager Mike Maccagnan traded for former All-Pro Ryan Clady, who is coming off another season-ending knee injury.
The team also lost last year's leading rusher, Chris Ivory, in free agency. Maccagnan's answer was to sign Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson. They'll join Bilal Powell in the backfield.
Steve McLendon is another substitute. After losing Damon Harrison to the New York Giants in free agency, the Jets needed a starting nose tackle and got one.
None of it matters, though, because they're not quarterbacks.
Draft Picks: Darron Lee, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Brandon Shell, Lac Edwards, Charone Peake
Analysis: Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee is a fine player who should excel in Todd Bowles' defensive scheme. But as we said earlier, quarterbacks dominate the conversation. This is especially true when a team surprises by taking Christian Hackenberg over other options while Fitzpatrick remains unsigned.
Hackenberg's addition shouldn't have a major impact on Fitzpatrick's status, but it could affect the length of a potential agreement. If anything, the Penn State product's selection is an indictment of Geno Smith and Bryce Petty.
The Jets appear to have their quarterback of the future, while the organization also quietly rebuilt part of its linebacker corps.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 12
23. Los Angeles Rams
Additions: Quinton Coples, Coty Sensabaugh
Subtractions: James Laurinaitis, Janoris Jenkins, Chris Long, Rodney McLeod, Jared Cook, Nick Fairley
Analysis: Outside of returning to Los Angeles, the Rams had a relatively quiet offseason as it pertains to football decisions. The team decided to let multiple talented players leave instead of retaining them and only signed two free agents of note.
Coty Sensabaugh returns to Gregg Williams' system after playing for him in Tennessee. He'll have an opportunity to start on the outside or serve as the team's primary nickel corner.
Quinton Coples has yet to live up to his first-round status, and he'll be asked to provide depth behind Robert Quinn and William Hayes.
All the while, general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher were hatching a plot to address the team's biggest issue.
Draft Picks: Jared Goff, Tyler Higbee, Pharoh Cooper, Temarrick Hemingway, Josh Forrest, Mike Thomas
Analysis: Here were the Rams' plans for this year's draft:
1. Acquire a franchise quarterback. Check.
2. Build around said quarterback. Check.
In order to achieve the first goal, the team traded up to the No. 1 overall pick to select Cal's Jared Goff. The California kid remains in-state and is now the future of Rams football.
Snead then proceeded to acquire multiple targets for his shiny new quarterback. Western Kentucky's Tyler Higbee has off-field issues, but he was easily one of the top tight end talents available. South Carolina's Pharoh Cooper continues to develop as a wide receiver, and he's special with the ball in his hands. Temarrick Hemingway is another tight end target who is quite raw but highly athletic. And Southern Miss' Mike Thomas just might be the team's best selection outside of its first choice.
Goff and his crew are officially coming to the NFL.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 23
22. Atlanta Falcons
Additions: Alex Mack, Mohamed Sanu, Derrick Shelby, Courtney Upshaw, Sean Weatherspoon
Subtractions: Roddy White, Paul Soliai
Analysis: Which version of the Atlanta Falcons will show up in Dan Quinn's second year as head coach: the one that started the 2015 campaign 5-0 or the one that experienced a six-game losing streak?
The talent is certainly in place for the Falcons to compete in the NFC South. Matt Ryan is a quality quarterback. Julio Jones is the game's most dominant wide receiver. Devonta Freeman is a tremendous multipurpose back. And Desmond Trufant continues to develop into an elite cornerback.
Everything comes down to putting the right talent around those building blocks and getting them all on the same page.
The offensive line struggled last season and never established itself. The team made multiple moves, but none of them truly worked. To rectify the situation, the organization targeted and signed Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. The 30-year-old blocker will be a massive upgrade along the team's offensive interior.
Mohamed Sanu will also step in as Roddy White's replacement. White is the organization's all-time leading receiver, but his play took a step back the last few seasons. Sanu is another physical target who should work well opposite Jones.
Difference-makers on defense didn't come in free agency, though. General manager Thomas Dimitroff attacked those issues in the draft.
Draft Picks: Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Austin Hooper, De'Vondre Campbell, Wes Schweitzer, Devin Fuller
Analysis: With Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith, the Falcons are another team trying to emulate the Seattle Seahawks defense. The scheme is rather simplistic. To properly employ it, the right talent needs to be in place.
It's not as easy as it sounds.
An intimidating safety and speedy linebackers were two things the Falcons' version truly lacked. In order to address both problem areas, Dimitroff used the team's first two draft picks on the defensive side of the ball.
Keanu Neal's selection with the 17th overall pick surprised many. He fits the mold of a Kam Chancellor-like strong safety. The Florida product isn't as big as Chancellor, but he has an NFL body at 6'0" and 211 pounds. Plus, he played the game with an aggressive personality.
Once the team added the safety, linebacker became the next target. Deion Jones is a speedy yet undersized tackler. He only measures 6'1" and 222 pounds, but he ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at LSU's pro day, according to Gridiron Now's Randy Rosetta.
The Falcons defense still isn't complete, but these are two steps in the right direction.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 17
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Additions: Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes, J.R. Sweezy, Daryl Smith, Bryan Anger
Subtractions: Henry Melton, Bruce Carter, Da'Quan Bowers, Logan Mankins
Analysis: Lovie Smith probably believed he built some good will with quarterback Jameis Winston at the helm of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wrong. The organization decided to fire Smith and hire offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as the team's head coach.
Koetter's promotion provides stability for a young offense that improved throughout the 2015 campaign. Two problem areas persisted: offensive line and pass rush.
Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet played remarkably well as rookies, but the rest of the line needed to be improved, particularly after Logan Mankins' retirement.
J.R. Sweezy will try to step in for Mankins, while the defense demanded the rest of the organization's attention.
Defensive end Robert Ayers solved another problem when he signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract. The concern is most of his sack production came after Jason Pierre-Paul returned to the New York Giants defense. An improved pass rush will make the rest of the defense better.
The team also added Brent Grimes after he surprisingly became available. Grimes is an aggressive cornerback who will excel as long as the defensive front holds up its end of the bargain.
These were only the first steps of the defensive overhaul.
Draft Picks: Vernon Hargreaves, Noah Spence, Roberto Aguayo, Ryan Smith, Caleb Benenoch, Devante Bond, Dan Vitale
Analysis: Grimes' presence will help this year's draft class. The Buccaneers traded down two slots and still landed their top target in Florida's Vernon Hargreaves. The veteran and the rookie should be a perfect match in the secondary.
"Brent Grimes is a guy that I really look up to," Hargreaves said, per Andrew Astleford for ESPN.com. "I like to model his game. I'm going to be in his pocket, ask him a whole bunch of questions. He's going to be annoyed with me. But he's just going to have to deal with me for a little bit."
The team then lucked out with Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence, who fell to the 39th overall pick. Spence is the most natural pass-rusher from this year's class and could prove to be the bookend Ayers needs.
The unexpected then happened: The Buccaneers inexplicably traded up in the second round to select a kicker. Florida State's Roberto Aguayo might be the best kicker in college football history, but he's still a kicker.
An anonymous general manager told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman the selection was "the dumbest pick in the history of the draft."
We'll just leave it there.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 20
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
Additions: Malik Jackson, Chris Ivory, Prince Amukamara, Kelvin Beachum, Tashaun Gipson, Brad Nortman
Subtractions: Zane Beadles, Stefen Wisniewski, Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, Clay Harbor
Analysis: When free agency started, the Jacksonville Jaguars organization did its best impression of the Million Dollar Man: "Everybody's got a price."
With over $70 million of cap space, the Jaguars handed out a few massive contracts. None was bigger than the one signed by defensive end Malik Jackson. The multifaceted defender inked a five-year, $85.5 million contract and set the tone for the rest of free agency.
General manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley had an overall plan in place. The defense would receive priority. After Jackson, the team also signed defensive backs Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara.
This plan would extend into the draft, where Bradley might finally have the talent in place to build a defense worthy of the Seattle Seahawks model the team continues to pursue.
Draft Picks: Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, Sheldon Day, Tyrone Holmes, Brandon Allen, Jonathan Woodard
Analysis: If there is one team that absolutely crushed the draft process, it's the Jaguars. The combination of Florida State's Jalen Ramsey and UCLA's Myles Jack alone makes Jacksonville a big winner.
Both players were considered top-five prospects. Ramsey might have even been the No. 1 overall talent in this year's class. He'll now serve as Bradley's version of Richard Sherman.
Jack, on the other hand, tumbled all the way out of the first round because of long-term concerns about an injured knee. His status became entirely dependent on a team's medical staff. The Jaguars cleared him and took advantage of the situation. The UCLA linebacker can be used in many different ways and fits the role of "Otto" linebacker once filled by Bruce Irvin in Seattle.
If the Jaguars' draft ended there, it would have been fantastic. They soldiered on and continued to add talented defensive prospects. Maryland defensive end Yannick Ngakoue became the team's third-round choice after breaking the school's record with 13.5 sacks. Notre Dame defensive tackle Sheldon Day consistently produced and provided a disruptive presence as an interior defender. And Montana's Tyrone Holmes led the FCS last season with 18 sacks.
Jacksonville will now feature one of the league's youngest and most talented defenses.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 25
19. New Orleans Saints
Additions: Coby Fleener, James Laurinaitis, Nick Fairley, Craig Robertson
Subtractions: Jahri Evans, Marques Colston, Benjamin Watson, Brandon Browner, Rafael Bush, Khiry Robinson, David Hawthorne
Analysis: Defense has been optional in the Big Easy the last few years. The New Orleans Saints finished 31st in total defense last season, and major changes needed to be made.
As a result, Brandon Browner, David Hawthorne and Rafael Bush are no longer with the team. Instead, the organization targeted James Laurinaitis, Nick Fairley and Craig Robertson to infuse a new attitude on that side of the ball.
While the defense consistently provided head coach Sean Payton with headaches, the offense always produced. It did last year, too, but Payton and quarterback Drew Brees must move forward without two of the franchise's greatest workhorses, Marques Colston and Jahri Evans. Both came in the same year as Brees and have been mainstays during the team's recent success. Their losses will be felt throughout the roster.
Those guys can't be replaced, but tight end Benjamin Watson can. Watson set new career highs last year as a focal point of the offense. The franchise decided to go younger by targeting and signing Coby Fleener in free agency. Fleener won't make anyone forget Jimmy Graham, but he should thrive as a move tight end in New Orleans' wide-open passing game.
The only true constants within the Saints organization are Payton and Brees. How long can they keep it going? It's a question for later as the organization remolds the roster on the fly.
Draft Picks: Sheldon Rankins, Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, David Onyemata, Daniel Lasco
Analysis: The Saints didn't finish with many draft picks, but they made the most out of them.
Louisville's Sheldon Rankins is a premier interior pass-rusher. His value couldn't be any higher. He might not fit the traditional mold of a 3-4 defensive lineman, but teams are in nickel so often he should be quite effective alongside Cameron Jordan.
Ohio State's Michael Thomas, meanwhile, has the unenviable task of replacing Colston. Both Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead are productive options. Neither stands taller than 5'11", though. At 6'3" and 212 pounds, Thomas is the big, physical receiver Brees loves to target when he needs a big play.
New Orleans traded back into the second round to acquire another former Buckeye, Vonn Bell. The safety is an interesting addition since he's better working in space than being close to the line of scrimmage. He can be used as a nickel corner alongside Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro.
All three need to contribute at a high level this fall for the Saints to be competitive in the NFC South.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 18
18. Dallas Cowboys
Additions: Alfred Morris, Cedric Thornton
Subtractions: Greg Hardy, Ronald Leary, Jeremy Mincey, Mackenzy Bernadeau
Analysis: Last year, the Dallas Cowboys just might have been the best four-win team in NFL history. The roster wasn't nearly as bad as the record indicated. Injuries destroyed the team's season, and Dallas would automatically be better this fall simply by getting a few of its top players healthy.
Of course, Tony Romo's absence due to collarbone issues set everything in motion. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten dealt with injuries as well. The organization didn't need to make any major offseason moves. Getting these three ready will be big enough step in the right direction.
The team will also benefit from the subtraction of Greg Hardy. Defensive end remains a concern because of suspensions for Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, but the organization couldn't handle another season with Hardy as a distraction. His play didn't compensate for the headaches the team endured.
Jerry Jones did dip into free agency by signing Alfred Morris and Cedric Thornton. Morris is a solid backup option, and Thornton can start next to Tyrone Crawford, but the team's improved health will be the biggest indicator of success.
Draft Picks: Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper, Dak Prescott, Anthony Brown, Kavon Frazier, Darius Jackson, Rico Gathers
Analysis: Running back Ezekiel Elliott officially enters the league as the most exciting rookie in this year's draft class after finding himself in the perfect situation. The Cowboys already have talent at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end. The team also features the league's best offensive line. Elliott should step in from Day 1 and quickly develop into one of the NFL's best running backs. Anything else would be a disappointment.
Drafting Jaylon Smith proved to be a great moment during the weekend, but he's not expected to play this year.
The additions of defensive tackle Maliek Collins and defensive end Charles Tapper will, though. Collins is an ideal 3-technique for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Even as a fourth-round pick, Tapper is slated to start due to the previously mentioned suspensions. These two are perfect fits within the Cowboys' defensive scheme.
As a whole, the class will be hit or miss. Elliott and the defensive linemen will be big additions, but the rest of the group could add very little this season.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 29
17. Baltimore Ravens
Additions: Eric Weddle, Mike Wallace, Benjamin Watson
Subtractions: Kelechi Osemele, Daryl Smith, Chris Canty, Courtney Upshaw, Will Hill, Matt Schaub
Analysis: Each year, Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome finds a way to replenish his roster with some of the best available talent in the draft and free agency.
One of the benefits of being a consistently good team with the reputation of a professional atmosphere is having veterans who want to join the program. The Ravens hit the jackpot this offseason with three quality free-agent signings.
Eric Weddle is still a top safety. His messy exit from the San Diego Chargers notwithstanding, the 31-year-old defensive back is only one season removed from back-to-back 100-plus-tackle campaigns, Pro Bowl appearances and All-Pro honors.
Benjamin Watson might be 35 years old, but he's coming off the best season of his career. Last year with the New Orleans Saints, the former first-round pick set new career highs with 74 receptions for 825 yards and six touchdowns.
Mike Wallace might not be the same player he once was, but the Ravens system is a perfect fit for his narrow skill set. The speedster should be able to take advantage of Joe Flacco's big arm. If last year's first-round selection, Breshad Perriman, disappoints once he's finally on the field, Wallace can immediately take his place.
Plus, Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith and Justin Forsett will all return healthy and hungry.
Yes, the team still lost quality players like Kelechi Osemele, Daryl Smith, Chris Canty and Courtney Upshaw, but Newsome rebuilds a roster better than any general manager in the league.
Draft Picks: Ronnie Stanley, Kamalei Correa, Bronson Kaufusi, Tavon Young, Chris Moore, Alex Lewis, Willie Henry, Kenneth Dixon, Matt Judon, Keenan Reynolds, Maurice Canady
Analysis: With the sixth overall pick, Newsome had a choice to make: Laremy Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley?
"We value the board,"Newsome said, per the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "We got to that pick and we got the highest-rated guy that was there. It just so happened that he potentially could fill a need for us."
Both were considered top prospects and filled an immediate need for the Ravens. Neither would have been a poor choice.
Once the Ravens moved on, the organization built a deep draft class.
Boise State's Kamalei Correa and Grand Valley State's Matt Judon were two of the most athletic edge-rushers available. BYU's Bronson Kaufusi is a talented defensive end who can immediately step in as a 5-technique. Navy's Keenan Reynolds will get an opportunity to transition from quarterback to punt returner. And Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixion is one of the most prolific running backs in NCAA history. He could push for playing time in the team's running back rotation.
With three good veteran signings and a sizable draft class, Newsome continues to turn over the Ravens roster.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 27
16. New York Giants
Additions: Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison, Keenan Robinson
Subtractions: Robert Ayers, Prince Amukamara, Geoff Schwartz, Rueben Randle, Will Beatty
Analysis: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
After 12 years and two Super Bowl championships, Tom Coughlin is no longer the New York Giants head coach. Enter former offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. The coaching staff experienced some turnover, but no major changes were made among the coordinators. The only difference is quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan stepping into the role of offensive coordinator.
Continuity became one of the reasons why the Giants hired McAdoo. However, general manager Jerry Reese, who enters his 10th season, might not have the same type of leeway after missing the playoffs in each of the past four years. It showed in his approach to free agency.
The Giants handed out three contracts worth $193.75 million in total value to bring in Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison. Those aren't the types of moves that general managers comfortable in their position usually make.
Draft Picks: Eli Apple, Sterling Shepard, Darian Thompson, B.J. Goodson, Paul Perkins, Jerell Adams
Analysis: The Giants overcame a weak start to the draft and finished strong.
Ohio State's Eli Apple is a fine player, but it's hard not to think the Giants forced the decision after the Chicago Bears leapfrogged them to select Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd with the ninth overall pick.
Apple has all of the physical tools teams look for in a cornerback, but his development is an ongoing process.
Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard, though, might be one of the best selections in the draft. He doesn't have ideal size (5'10" and 194 pounds), but he's a polished receiver who can play outside or in the slot. Shepard should prove to be a perfect complement to the mega-talented Odell Beckham Jr.
Safety Darian Thompson, linebacker B.J. Goodson, running back Paul Perkins and tight end Jerell Adams are all players who can contribute very early in their careers.
As long as Apple works out, this could be one of the best classes Reese orchestrated.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 21
15. Buffalo Bills
Additions: Robert Blanton, Zach Brown, Jim Dray
Subtractions: Mario Williams, Leodis McKelvin, Chris Hogan, Nigel Bradham, Ron Brooks, Stefan Charles
Analysis: The Buffalo Bills basically broke even in free agency. The organization retained its top two offensive linemen and signed a few free agents while multiple contributors left.
The ability to retain left tackle Cordy Glenn via the franchise tag became the team's top priority this offseason, as it gave them time to negotiate and eventually sign him to a five-year, $65 million extension, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Another highlight—and I'm sure plenty of people won't admit to this—centered on the re-signing of guard Richie Incognito, whose career revival in Buffalo shouldn't be overlooked.
Robert Blanton, Zach Brown and Jim Dray can all contribute or even start, but their additions don't necessarily outweigh the Bills' losses. Mario Williams clearly checked out long before the Bills actually released him, but his presence was invaluable when he wanted to play.
Clearly, the team's losses aren't entirely insurmountable. Leodis McKelvin, Chris Hogan, Nigel Bradham, Ron Brooks and Stefan Charles all contributed, but none of them received a positive grade in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus.
The biggest question going into this season is whether the organization will finally commit to Tyrod Taylor as its franchise quarterback.
Draft Picks: Shaq Lawson, Reggie Ragland, Adolphus Washington, Cardale Jones, Jonathan Williams, Kolby Listenbee, Kevon Seymour
Analysis: Head coach Rex Ryan is smiling, because he has plenty of new toys to use in his precious defensive scheme. After finishing 19th overall in total defense last season, they were needed.
With Williams now gone, this year's first-round pick, Clemson's Shaq Lawson, will be asked to provide a big presence off the edge. Unlike Williams, Lawson is known for his consistent motor and overall consistency.
The team selected Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland in the second round, and he could potentially develop into a Rookie of the Year candidate. Ragland is a rugged, downhill linebacker who makes plenty of plays between the tackles.
A pair of back-to-back Ohio State Buckeyes in the third and fourth rounds could provide long-term impacts. Defensive tackle Adolphus Washington generally received a late first-round or second-round grade after the regular season ended, but an offseason run-in with the law didn't help his draft stock. Meanwhile, quarterback Cardale Jones will put pressure on Taylor and EJ Manuel as he develops. The Cleveland native certainly was excited about the chance to play for the Bills.
Buffalo went defense, defense, defense in the first third rounds. That's what happens when Ryan doesn't put a top-10 unit on the field.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 15
14. Indianapolis Colts
Additions: Patrick Robinson, Jordan Todman, Scott Tolzien
Subtractions: Jerrell Freeman, Coby Fleener, Dwight Lowery
Analysis: After last year's frenzied free agency, the Indianapolis Colts were far more low-key during this year's signing period.
Part of this is due to the fact quarterback Andrew Luck's negotiations will kick into another gear after this season, and he might command the most expensive contract in NFL history.
Thus, the organization only had so much wiggle room to make moves. As a result, Patrick Robinson became the team's top acquisition in free agency. Robinson played well during his lone season with the San Diego Chargers, which netted him a three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Colts.
Robinson will pair with Vontae Davis as former first-round picks who struggled with their initial franchises but continually improved throughout their careers.
The secondary certainly needed improvements, but the team had to wait until the draft to address its biggest need.
Draft Picks: Ryan Kelly, T.J. Green, Le'Raven Clark, Hassan Ridgeway, Antonio Morrison, Joe Haeg, Trevor Bates, Austin Blythe
Analysis: After multiple years of Luck getting the stuffing beat out of him, the organization finally figured out what it must do: invest heavily in offensive linemen.
Alabama's Ryan Kelly will start from day one, and he'll be a massive upgrade over the Colts' previous centers. The reigning Rimington Trophy winner brings the type of presence that can help stabilize the entire unit. The team even made sure to select Iowa's Austin Blythe in the seventh round to solidify the position.
At offensive tackle, Texas Tech's Le'Raven Clark might be raw, but he's freakishly long and is a talented pass protector. North Dakota State's Joe Haeg helped protect Carson Wentz's blind side and helped the Bison win multiple national championships. These two could eventually compete for the right tackle spot if Joe Reitz struggles.
Indianapolis' year of the offensive linemen should help keep Luck upright and less prone to injuries in the coming seasons.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 19
13. Washington Redskins
Additions: Josh Norman, Kendall Reyes, David Bruton Jr., Vernon Davis
Subtractions: Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Terrance Knighton, Keenan Robinson, Jason Hatcher, Dashon Goldson
Analysis: Sometimes, a team just needs to be in the right place at the right time.
The Washington Redskins weren't overly active in the first or second waves of free agency, but the organization had a gift land in its proverbial lap when the Carolina Panthers decided to rescind Josh Norman's franchise tag. General manager Scot McCloughan acted swiftly by bringing Norman in for a visit and signing him to a five-year, $75 million contract.
Norman's addition is a game-changer. Cornerback immediately became far less of a concern, and the Redskins now have an answer for Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant. Norman's feisty nature is legendary and only adds to the toughness McCloughan wants at every level of his football team.
Kendall Reyes, David Bruton Jr. and Vernon Davis are all fine signings by the organization, but none of them can have the same type of impact as Norman.
Batman now patrols the NFC East.
Draft Picks: Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens, Kendall Fuller, Matthew Ioannidis, Nate Sudfeld, Steven Daniels, Keith Marshall
Analysis: While McCloughan wanted the Redskins to get tougher at the onset of his tenure, the GM was determined to make his team more dynamic in his second year.
Three picks lend to this change. First-round selection Josh Doctson is a top-notch target. No wide receiver in this year's class proved to be better outside the numbers or at high-pointing the football. USC's Su'a Cravens can be used all over the field as a safety or a linebacker. And the team's final pick, Georgia running back Keith Marshall, ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
McCloughan said his current roster has "A lot more speed. A lot more quickness. A lot more athleticism," per CSN Mid-Atlantic's Tarik El-Bashir.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 11
12. Oakland Raiders
Additions: Kelechi Osemele, Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson
Subtractions: Charles Woodson, Curtis Lofton, Rod Streater, J'Marcus Webb, Tony Bergstrom, Justin Tuck
Analysis: The Oakland Raiders appear to be building something special.
The organization successfully drafted in recent years and supplemented the roster with outstanding free-agent acquisitions. Quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper form the core general manager Reggie McKenzie successfully built. All of that talent also makes free agents want to play with the Raiders.
After signing Kelechi Osemele to a monster five-year, $58.5 million contract and retaining left tackle Donald Penn, the Raiders can make an argument they have the league's best offensive line. Of course, the Dallas Cowboys will have a say in that, but the combination of Penn, Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Austin Howard (or Menelik Watson) should form a dominant front.
Bruce Irvin's addition to the defensive front seven could net similar results. Mack is already one of the league's best. The rest of the front features Dan Williams, Justin Ellis, Mario Edwards, Ben Heeney, Malcolm Smith and Aldon Smith. This group isn't as far along as the offensive side of the ball, but the potential is there.
Sean Smith's signing developed into a two-for-one situation. The eighth-year veteran steps in as the defense's top cornerback, and the Raiders stole him away from the rival Kansas City Chiefs.
Each year, the Raiders added bits and pieces; 2016 may be the year when it finally comes together.
Draft Picks: Karl Joseph, Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Connor Cook, DeAndre Washington, Cory James, Vadal Alexander
Analysis: Take everything said above about the consistent franchise-building McKenzie achieved in recent years and add another draft class to it.
Karl Joseph was the best pure safety prospect. His highlight reels are hypnotic. Not only will he absolutely obliterate a wide receiver, he can also cover in the slot, play the deep part of the field or drop down in the box to make plays as a blitzer or run defender. This year's 14th overall pick adds a major presence to the team's secondary after losing Charles Woodson to retirement.
Jihad Ward and Shilique Calhoun only add to a talented front. These additions are important, though. Oakland's defense is predicated on the Seattle Seahawks model. The Seahawks come at opponents in waves, but a team needs enough talent in place to do so. The Raiders continue to acquire said talent.
Connor Cook might be the most interesting draft selection of all. Why? Carr is already on the roster, and McKenzie felt the need to trade up for the quarterback's services.
"It’s a situation that you look at the board, and it was a good player that we still had up there," McKenzie said, per the team's official site. "...He’s a good player. We just felt like he was too good of a player not to try."
The Raiders now have plenty of good players on the roster.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 14
11. Houston Texans
Additions: Brock Osweiler, Lamar Miller, Jeff Adams, Antonio Allen, Tony Bergstrom
Subtractions: Arian Foster, Brandon Brooks, Ben Jones, Jared Crick, Garrett Graham, Rahim Moore, Brian Hoyer
Analysis: As Johnny Cash sang, "There'll be a golden ladder reaching down when the man comes around."
While the Man in Black referred to "the man" in a biblical sense, the lyric can also be used as a metaphor for the Houston Texans' quarterback situation.
Due to poor quarterback play, the organization hasn't been able to reach its full potential. As such, the team went all out to sign Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million contract. Osweiler is either the golden ticket to take this franchise to the playoffs or its downfall.
It's a risky proposition. The team desperately needed a quarterback. However, Osweiler has only started seven games in his four-year career, all of which came in 2015. The upside is there, but no one knows exactly how he'll develop as a full-time starter.
The only thing the organization could do from that point is build around the quarterback to make his job as easy as possible. It started with the addition of running back Lamar Miller to replace the formerly great Arian Foster and continued throughout the draft.
Draft Picks: Will Fuller, Nick Martin, Braxton Miller, Tyler Ervin, K.J. Dillon, D.J. Reader
Analysis: If Osweiler plays as well as the Texans front office hopes, Houston's offense will be downright dangerous.
Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller adds a vertical component to the offense with his 4.32-second 40-yard speed. The team also added the highly athletic yet underdeveloped Braxton Miller to play out of the slot. The former quarterback is a special athlete, and he'll make things happen with the ball in his hands.
With these two additions, veteran receiver DeAndre Hopkins became the happiest man in the NFL. "Ain't no more double-teams baby," he tweeted.
The organization also had to replace starting center Ben Jones and did so with its second-round pick. Notre Dame's Nick Martin should start working with Osweiler now so the battery doesn't experience snap issues once the season starts.
Five critical additions to the offense make the Texans a far better team considering how good Houston's defense already was.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 13
10. Kansas City Chiefs
Additions: Mitchell Schwartz, Rod Streater
Subtractions: Sean Smith, Donald Stephenson, Jeff Allen, Tyvon Branch, Chase Daniel
Analysis: For the Kansas City Chiefs, a healthy Jamaal Charles is the only addition that really matters. His knee injury last season became somewhat of a boon for quarterback Alex Smith, though.
Without Charles in the lineup, the Chiefs were forced to lean on Smith, and the former No. 1 overall pick put together the best season of his 11-year career. If Smith continues to play at the same level and Charles returns to form, the Chiefs offense will be dangerous.
In order to keep both upright, the organization signed the league's best right tackle in Mitchell Schwartz to replace Donald Stephenson, who left via free agency.
Kansas City didn't make any other moves of major significance, but this year's squad is expected to look more like the one that went 10-0 to finish the 2015 regular season and not the one that started 1-5.
Draft Picks: Chris Jones, KeiVarae Russell, Parker Ehinger, Eric Murray, Demarcus Robinson, Kevin Hogan, Tyreek Hill, D.J. White, Dadi Nicolas
Analysis: The second-round selection of Mississippi State's Chris Jones is somewhat reminiscent of Dontari Poe in 2011. Both were highly regarded prospects with plenty of physical ability yet struggled with inconsistency.
The Chiefs got the most out of Poe and hope to do the same with Jones. The recent draft pick is a different animal at defensive end compared to Allen Bailey and Jaye Howard. Jones is much longer and a better overall athlete. He could quickly develop into a disruptive presence as part of the defensive line rotation.
After Jones' selection, general manager John Dorsey decided to address the hole that cornerback Sean Smith left when he signed a free-agent contract with the rival Oakland Raiders. The team spent three picks on collegiate cornerbacks.
Marcus Peters sets the tone, and Phillip Gaines will likely start opposite last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year. KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray and D.J. White will all compete for playing time. Russell might even shift to safety.
While the Chiefs' offseason has been rather quiet, this roster is good enough to compete for an AFC West crown.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 5
9. Minnesota Vikings
Additions: Alex Boone, Andre Smith, Michael Griffin, Emmanuel Lamur
Subtractions: Mike Wallace, Robert Blanton
Analysis: The Minnesota Vikings are on the verge of something special. Before the organization can move forward, though, it had to address major concerns along the offensive line.
Last season, defenses sacked quarterback Teddy Bridgewater 44 times—which tied for sixth-worst among starting signal-callers.
To address the position, the team signed veterans Alex Boone and Andre Smith. At points in their careers, arguments could be made they were the best at their respective positions.
Those additions also allowed last year's starting right tackle, T.J. Clemmings, to move from the strong side to the blind side and compete with left tackle Matt Kalil—who has been a disappointment after being taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
While those veteran additions will help on offense, head coach Mike Zimmer might have finally found his answer at safety opposite Harrison Smith in Michael Griffin. The 31-year-old Griffin isn't the same player he once was, but he'll provide an experienced presence along the defense's back line.
Draft Picks: Laquon Treadwell, Mackensie Alexander, Willie Beavers, Kentrell Brothers, Moritz Boehringer, David Morgan, Stephen Weatherly, Jayron Kearse
Analysis: General manager Rick Spielman experienced a lot of success in his last few drafts. Not every pick hits, but they're not all expected to. This year's class should be similar with the potential to hit on early selections with a few projects added from the latter rounds.
Laquon Treadwell will immediately step in as the team's No. 1 target. He and last year's late-round steal, Stefon Diggs, will form quite the complementary duo. Treadwell is a big (6'2", 221 lbs), physical target who is fearless over the middle. The Ole Miss product should also be a tremendous red-zone target for Bridgewater. Throughout most of the draft process, Treadwell served as the top wide receiver prospect before falling to No. 23 overall.
Mackensie Alexander became an even better value, because he's the top cover corner from this year's class. Concerns arose over potential attitude problems and a lack of interceptions during his career. His play on the field, though, was stellar. The combination of Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn, Trae Waynes and Alexander arguably forms the NFL's most talented group of cornerbacks.
Of course, plenty of interest will follow the German-born Moritz Boehringer as the first European to be drafted after not playing college football in the United States. He has the natural tools to succeed, but expectations shouldn't be too lofty. He's a project.
With yet another strong draft class, the Vikings should be in position to capture a second straight NFC North crown.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 9
8. Denver Broncos
Additions: Mark Sanchez, Russell Okung, Donald Stephenson
Subtractions: Peyton Manning, Malik Jackson, Brock Osweiler, Danny Trevathan, David Bruton Jr., Vernon Davis, Evan Mathis, Ryan Harris, Owen Daniels, Ryan Clady
Analysis: As far as Super Bowl hangovers go, the Denver Broncos suffered one of the worst, and the team hasn't even played another down since winning the championship.
Denver experienced massive losses in free agency. The dynamic duo of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware remains intact, but the team's pass rush can't do everything—even if it felt that way at points last season.
Granted, the defense should still be stellar, yet there looks to be the possibility of taking a step back after such a magical run during during Peyton Manning's last ride.
Draft Picks: Paxton Lynch, Adam Gotsis, Justin Simmons, Devontae Booker, Connor McGovern, Andy Janovich, Will Parks, Riley Dixon
Analysis: No quarterback situation has been scrutinized more during the offseason than the Broncos'. Everyone seems to believe in John Elway's vision, but Denver will go into the season with Mark Sanchez and rookie Paxton Lynch as its top options behind center.
The team loves Lynch's raw potential.
Head coach Gary Kubiak said the following about Lynch, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold:
When I watch him on film, the thing that’s really exciting is that this guy extends plays. He has the knack for making people miss, extending plays, and it’s really hard in this business to coach guys to keep their eyes down the field when they’re moving, and this guy does a great job of that. (A) big, strong kid, makes all the throws, moves around very, very well and, like I said, very motivated too.
Of course, last year's quarterbacks didn't perform all that well, but they made plays when needed. It's hard to envision Sanchez or Lynch being any better this year.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 6
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Additions: Ladarius Green, Ryan Harris, Steven Johnson
Subtractions: Steve McLendon, Kelvin Beachum, Antwon Blake, Brandon Boykin, Sean Spence, Jordan Todman, Heath Miller, Troy Polamalu
Analysis: Slow and steady wins the race. This has been the Pittsburgh Steelers' approach since the dawn of time. The organization builds through the draft and doesn't make splashy moves. This approach works, and the team rarely veers from its path.
When the Steelers aggressively pursued tight end Ladarius Green in free agency, it came as a surprise. Clearly, the team saw an opportunity to add to an already-potent offense.
With Heath Miller's retirement, Green can now serve as Ben Roethlisberger's security blanket, and those fans who used to cheer for "Heeeeeeath" can change it up and chant "Greeeeeen."
At the very least, the new tight end can help offset the loss of wide receiver Martavis Bryant to a season-long suspension.
On the other side of the ball, general manager Kevin Colbert decided not to keep multiple players. After finishing 21st in total defense, Pittsburgh needed to upgrade certain positions.
Defensive help came during the draft.
Draft Picks: Artie Burns, Sean Davis, Javon Hargrave, Jerald Hawkins, Travis Feeney, DeMarcus Ayers, Tyler Matakevich
Analysis: Everyone knew the Steelers desperately needed secondary help. As a result, the organization might have forced its first-round pick a little bit with the selection of Miami's Artie Burns.
Burns is a long-term solution to a short-term problem. While you can view this statement as a positive, it's also a concern to take a young, developing project when the team needs an instant return. The Steelers' head coach loves Burns' upside, though.
"He has a lot of growth potential," Mike Tomlin said, per Bob Labriola of the Steelers' official site. "We’re excited about the upsides. ... We’re just really excited about him in general. Good player to work with. He can get things going for us in 2016."
Sean Davis out of Maryland is more likely to provide a bigger impact. Davis is a versatile piece who played cornerback and safety in college. He should immediately step in as Pittsburgh's new starting free safety.
Up front, South Carolina State defensive tackle Javon Hargrave will replace Steve McLendon and split time with Daniel McCullers at nose tackle.
Help is on the way. It just might take a little time to realize its full potential.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 8
6. Green Bay Packers
Addition: Jared Cook
Subtractions: Casey Hayward, John Kuhn, James Jones, Mike Neal, B.J. Raji
Analysis: The Green Bay Packers do what the Green Bay Packers do. They draft well, re-sign their talent and don't like dipping their toes into the free-agency pool.
For general manager Ted Thompson, his primary objective is keeping the players he drafted on the roster. This offseason, nose tackle Letroy Guion, running back James Starks, kicker Mason Crosby and former first-round pick Nick Perry re-upped with the Pack. The organization couldn't retain cornerback Casey Hayward, though.
There proved to be one exception to Green Bay's primary operating principle: tight end Jared Cook. Richard Rodgers was inconsistent in a bigger role. Cook generally falls in the same category, but he adds another athletic target in the passing attack.
Aside from Cook, the Packers went about their normal business.
Draft Picks: Kenny Clark, Jason Spriggs, Kyler Fackrell, Blake Martinez, Dean Lowry, Trevor Davis, Kyle Murphy
Analysis: Two gaping holes existed on the Packers roster prior to the start of the NFL draft. The team addressed both by the end of the second round.
B.J. Raji abruptly announced his retirement this offseason, which left a massive void in the middle of Green Bay's 3-4 front. Kenny Clark may be built drastically different when compared to Raji, but the goal is the same: control the line of scrimmage. The UCLA product is a 20-year-old man-child in the middle.
Clark played nose tackle in head coach Jim Mora's 3-4 defense and displayed violent hands. His ability to stack and shed ranked among the best in this year's class. Not only did Green Bay get younger at nose tackle, but the team also got more athletic with a player who has a much better motor than his predecessor.
Thompson targeted the other side of the ball in the second round. Green Bay's offense nearly crumbled when the team suffered injuries to its offensive tackles. The roster lacked quality depth at this position, so Thompson did something he rarely does: He traded up to get a player.
Indiana's Jason Spriggs is a highly athletic left tackle who will have to find a home on Green Bay's line. According to Packers director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst, the team hasn't committed to a position for Spriggs, per the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Ryan Wood.
The later additions of Utah State's Kyler Fackrell and Stanford's Blake Martinez are interesting. The organization essentially hedged its bets by selecting both an outside and inside linebacker. If one or the other becomes a starter, Clay Matthews can play the other spot.
While organizations preach the best-player-available approach, it's clear a team like Green Bay targets exactly who it needs.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 10
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Additions: Karlos Dansby, Brandon LaFell, Taylor Mays
Subtractions: Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Reggie Nelson, Andre Smith, Leon Hall, Emmanuel Lamur, A.J. Hawk
Analysis: It's been a tough offseason in Cincinnati.
The Bengals once again lost in the first round of the playoffs. Afterward, the team suffered a mass exodus of talent in free agency. Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Reggie Nelson and Andre Smith combined to start 160 games over the last four seasons before leaving the organization.
Meanwhile, the only significant return in free agency came when the Cleveland Browns released veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby—he quickly signed with the Bengals. Dansby is a perfect complement to Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga, because he's one of the league's best coverage linebackers and provides a strong veteran presence in the locker room.
Fortunately for the Bengals, the organization has become adept at replacing talent.
Draft Picks: William Jackson III, Tyler Boyd, Nick Vigil, Andrew Billings, Christian Westerman, Cody Core, Clayton Fejedelem
Analysis: In what's become an annual tradition, the Bengals killed the draft. Team president Mike Brown and company stand pat, let the talent come to them and usually find value in every round.
The organization did so again this year.
William Jackson III might not be an immediate starter with Darqueze Dennard and Dre Kirkpatrick already in place, but the Houston product led major college football last season with 28 passes defended. Tyler Boyd should step in and fill the void created by the departures of Jones and Sanu. And fourth-round defensive tackle Andrew Billings could prove to be the steal of the draft after being projected as a first-round talent.
Four or five starters should eventually emerge out of this class.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 7
4. Seattle Seahawks
Additions: Chris Clemons, J'Marcus Webb, Sealver Siliga, Bradley Sowell
Subtractions: Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin, Brandon Mebane, Russell Okung, J.R. Sweezy, Alvin Bailey
Analysis: Success can be the downfall of any NFL franchise. Due to free agency, every other team around the league is eager to swipe talented players from the best-run organizations.
After two straight Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and '14, the Seattle Seahawks roster continues to be plundered. Yes, most of the key components are still in place, but Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin, Brandon Mebane, Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy were big parts of the team's overall success. Lynch retired, and the other four went on to sign with different teams. These decisions created holes throughout the roster—holes that weren't filled via free agency.
Head coach Pete Carroll preaches competition every single day at every level for every position. This is how the organization successfully built a talented roster in the first place. The same philosophy will help rebuild certain areas while Seattle remains one of the NFL's best teams.
Draft Picks: Germain Ifedi, Jarran Reed, C.J. Prosise, Nick Vannett, Rees Odhiambo, Quinton Jefferson, Alex Collins, Joey Hunt, Kenny Lawler, Zac Brooks
Analysis: On paper, the Seahawks had the NFL's worst offensive line entering this year's draft. Clearly, general manager John Schneider agreed, as the Seahawks drafted three new blockers.
Germain Ifedi should immediately start at right tackle. Rees Odhiambo could serve in the same role Alvin Bailey occupied as the team's swing lineman. And Joey Hunt just might surprise by pushing incumbent center Patrick Lewis.
But the Seahawks' best pick came in the second round when Schneider selected Alabama's Jarran Reed. Last year's No. 1 overall run defense added the best run defender to come out of college in the past two years.
Rebuilding the trenches will help fortify an already-talented Seahawks roster.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 4
3. Carolina Panthers
Additions: Brandon Boykin, Paul Soliai, Gino Gradkowski
Subtractions: Josh Norman, Brad Nortman, Charles Tillman, Cortland Finnegan
Analysis: After losing Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos, the Carolina Panthers didn't expect to suffer a hangover since they returned all of their core talent.
However, the organization couldn't agree to terms on a long-term contract with All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman. General manager Dave Gettleman decided to rescind this year's franchise tag after the failed negotiations, and Norman quickly signed with the Washington Redskins.
Even without Norman, the Panthers are loaded. Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Kawann Short, Greg Olsen, Ryan Kalil and Charles Johnson haven't gone anywhere. Plus, Kelvin Benjamin—who amassed 1,008 receiving yards as a rookie in 2014—returns to the lineup after he suffered an ACL tear in last year's training camp.
Batman may no longer reside in Charlotte, but the Panthers still have more than enough talent to form their own Justice League.
Draft Picks: Vernon Butler, James Bradberry, Daryl Worley, Zack Sanchez, Beau Sandland
Analysis: Who said the Panthers don't value cornerbacks?
With Norman's loss, Gettleman attacked the obvious weakness on the roster during the draft. With only five total picks, the GM selected three corners. Carolina will need to quickly develop each of them, but there is now enough talent in place alongside Bene Benwikere and Brandon Boykin for the Panthers secondary to succeed.
Despite the emphasis placed on acquiring defensive backs, the Panthers decided not to trade out of the first round and selected Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler at No. 30 overall. Butler will initially provide depth behind the talented duo of Short and Star Lotulelei, but he could be a starter within a year since both veterans will be looking for long-term contract extensions by the 2017-18 offseason.
Clearly, the Panthers' philosophy is to build their defense from front to back.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 1
2. Arizona Cardinals
Additions: Chandler Jones, Evan Mathis, Tyvon Branch
Subtractions: Jonathan Cooper, Rashad Johnson, Bobby Massie, Ted Larsen, Bradley Sowell
Analysis: The Arizona Cardinals are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Unfortunately, head coach Bruce Arians' squad can't get past the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs.
The Denver Broncos provided a blueprint for beating the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, though. The Cardinals quickly followed suit by adding more talent along their front seven.
Chandler Jones' acquisition from the New England Patriots finally gave Arizona a true presence off the edge. The 26-year-old Jones is coming off a career year with 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Arizona's defense had lacked a sack master since John Abraham's 11.5-sack performance in 2013.
The second big defensive addition came in the first round of the draft.
Draft Picks: Robert Nkemdiche, Brandon Williams, Evan Boehm, Marqui Christian, Cole Toner, Harlan Miller
Analysis: Purely from a talent perspective, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche claimed top-five overall potential. Yet, many viewed him as one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the draft. The reason behind this is twofold. First, Nkemdiche didn't consistently play to his talent level. Second, off-field concerns scared teams—but not the Cardinals.
"I felt very, very comfortable the fourth time I sat down and went through this story again, of what really transpired and where he comes from, and what he’s all about," Arians said, per ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss. "He will fit our culture."
The rest of the draft class will provide depth throughout a talented roster. Nkemdiche, however, will be expected to make a big impact from day one.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 2
1. New England Patriots
Additions: Martellus Bennett, Chris Long, Chris Hogan, Terrance Knighton, Shea McClellin, Clay Harbor, Jonathan Cooper
Subtractions: Chandler Jones, Akiem Hicks, Brandon LaFell, Sealver Siliga, Ryan Wendell
Analysis: Of course, the biggest loss the New England Patriots experienced came when Tom Brady's four-game suspension was reinstated. As long as Jimmy Garoppolo can hold down the fort for the first month of the season, Brady's absence should be viewed as nothing more than a speed bump.
Once the future Hall of Fame quarterback returns, he'll have multiple new weapons to enjoy. The addition of tight end Martellus Bennett via a trade with the Chicago Bears might prove to be the league's best decision. The former former Pro Bowl tight end will pair with Rob Gronkowski to make the Patriots the NFL's most dangerous offense. Defenses will have to pick their poison.
Plus, wide receiver Chris Hogan and tight end Clay Harbor are typical New England acquisitions who create even more diversity within the scheme.
By trading Chandler Jones, head coach Bill Belichick and his defense will have a little less pop off the edge, but the team should be just fine with the combination of Jabaal Sheard and veteran Chris Long taking over as primary pass-rushers.
With or without Brady, the Patriots are still the team to beat.
Draft Picks: Cyrus Jones, Joe Thuney, Jacoby Brissett, Vincent Valentine, Malcolm Mitchell, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Elandon Roberts, Ted Karras, Devin Lucien
Analysis: Despite lacking a first-round pick, the Patriots still acquired nine assets in this year's draft class. Will any actually contribute? It's difficult to say due to the overall depth found on the team's roster.
Cyrus Jones headlines the group, but his greatest value may come on special teams as a returner more than as a cornerback. This isn't to say he won't contribute in the defensive back rotation. He simply brings more value in two phases of the game.
Arguably, the most interesting selection came in the third round when the organization selected North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brady might play into his 40s, and Garoppolo is a free agent after the 2017 campaign.
The overall impact might not be there, but the Patriots always seem to capitalize on players no one expected to contribute early in their careers.
Last Season's Final Ranking: 3