2011 NFL Power Rankings: Post-NFL Draft Edition
Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings
Now that the NFL draft has concluded, it's time to start looking ahead to next season (assuming there is one.)
Who will be the best teams in the NFL during the 2011-2012 season?
Here it is, from worst to first, the post-draft edition of the NFL power rankings.
32. Washington Redskins
As it stands right now, John Beck is the Washington Redskins starting quarterback.
They have terrible receivers, a below-average running game, a below-average secondary and a below-average run defense.
The only thing to really like about this team is the fact that they have Brian Orakpo.
It should be a dreadful season for Washington, which is still paying Albert Haynesworth.
31. Arizona Cardinals
I absolutely love Patrick Peterson to death, I think he'll be great. As for the Cardinals next season, not so much.
They still have no quarterback to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball.
In a few years, they could make a run, but next season should not be a fun one for Arizona.
30. Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton is not pro-ready enough to make the Panthers resemble contenders next season.
DeAngelo Williams will most likely not be back next season, which means points will be hard to come by for the Panthers.
Unfortunately for them, it will be just the opposite for their opponents.
Too many holes on this team right now to win.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Some people will wonder how a team that made it into the second round of the playoffs last season could be this low.
Those same people should wonder how a team that went 7-9 even got into the playoffs at all.
Matt Hasselbeck isn't coming back, which means Charlie Whitehurst will be the starter next season.
They were the biggest losers of the draft.
Unless Marshawn Lynch decides to break eight tackles on every play this season, the Seahawks will be awful.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
I love what the Bengals did in the draft moving on from the abysmal Carson Palmer-Chad Johnson era that lasted almost a decade.
But the wins won't start coming next year.
The Bengals should be good soon, but this will be a developmental year.
27. Buffalo Bills
Much like the Bengals, the Bills are improving, but to say they'll start winning next year would be wrong.
For the time being, the Bills may be in games like they were last year, but they won't win many.
26. Denver Broncos
Their defense is still one of the worst in the league, and they're attempting to turn pass-rusher Von Miller into a 4-3 linebacker, taking away his biggest strength.
Unless Tebow can find the magic he had at Florida in the pros, the Broncos will not be very good this year.
25. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are another team that's getting better, but they won't be a playoff team next season.
I could see them pulling off a few upsets like they did last year, but they definitely won't be a playoff team.
24. Minnesota Vikings
There's plenty of talent in Minnesota, but the Vikings will lose this year for the same reason they always do—terrible quarterback play.
Whether it's Joe Webb, Tarvaris Jackson or Christian Ponder under center, it's looking like the Minnesota Vikings will be massive underachievers once again.
23. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are on the right track, but as of right now, their just an average NFL team.
They finished 8-8 last season, and I expect more of the same this year.
They're right on the brink of the playoffs, though, and they could be a sleeper this year.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
It's clear the Jaguars have their eye on the future after drafting Blaine Gabbert in the first round.
They obviously don't believe the team they have right now is good enough to make the playoffs, so they began to think about the future.
If they don't believe they'll be good this season, why should I?
21. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are the first of many teams on this list with playoff aspirations.
As much as I love some of their players, Chad Henne is way too inconsistent, and both of their running backs are free agents this year.
It's possible Miami could make the playoffs if Chad Henne figures it out this year, but don't count on it.
20. San Francisco 49ers
I was pretty puzzled by the 49ers' pick of Aldon Smith seventh overall, but I think he'll be a good player nonetheless.
The 49ers have a whole lot of talent on their roster from Vernon Davis to Patrick Willis.
They could definitely win the NFC West and maybe even a playoff game or two.
But in order to do that, they must find somebody to give them consistent play from the QB position whether it be Alex Smith or newly drafted Colin Kaepernick.
19. St. Louis Rams
And here's the other NFC West team that could win the division, the St. Louis Rams.
I loved what they did on draft day, getting Sam Bradford three badly needed new weapons and picking up UNC stud defensive end Robert Quinn.
It could come down to the last week between the 49ers and Rams, but I give the Rams a slight edge because they have a much better quarterback.
18. Tennessee Titans
Now here's a team a lot of people are forgetting about.
Not too long ago, the Titans were one of the premier teams in football, and a lot of that team is still intact.
They have the ultimate weapon in Chris Johnson and a hard-nosed, tough defense.
I also like Jake Locker a lot.
Watch out for the Titans.
17. Kansas City Chiefs
Here's a team that I think is better than people give them credit for.
They have the new David Garrard in Matt Cassel, a quarterback who doesn't make mistakes and won't win you a game but won't lose one either.
They also have one of the best running backs in the league in Jamaal Charles, an elite receiver in Dwayne Bowe, a good O-line and an all-around above-average defense.
If Eric Berry can play on a Troy Polamalu level and the big three on offense play like they did last year, this could be a team with an outside shot at the Super Bowl.
They're that talented.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Led by charismatic quarterback Josh Freeman, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the latest team that finds a way to win at any cost.
And I like that.
The Bucs don't look great on paper, but they stay in games until the fourth quarter, where Josh Freeman is king.
This is a possible playoff team in a crowded NFC this season.
15. Houston Texans
One of the biggest winners of this NFL draft was the Houston Texans.
They needed to improve their pass defense, and they picked up J.J Watt, Brooks Reed and Brandon Harris, who will be three immediate starters; the former two will rush the passer while the latter will cover his receivers.
This is another team that I think has an outside shot at a Super Bowl.
Their offense is as explosive as anybody in the league, and their defense now has serious potential to be in the top 10 this season.
This may be the year that they top the Colts.
14. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions got three great players in the draft—Nick Fairley, Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure.
Although none of them were at a position of need for Detroit, they still help the team immensely.
Especially Fairley, who will pair with Ndamukong Suh to form the most lethal defensive tackle duo in the NFL.
The biggest key to the Lions' success will be if Matt Stafford can stay healthy.
Keep in mind, this team won their last four games last season, including wins over the Bucs and Packers.
13. New York Giants
The Giants got two great value picks in the draft this year with Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin, and I think they have a great team.
But their biggest problem will be that they play in the NFC, which means if they lose their division to the Eagles, they'll be competing against the Bucs, Saints, Lions, Cowboys and Bears for two playoff spots.
And if they make the playoffs, they'll have to get by the Packers, Falcons and Eagles.
I'm not sure they can do that.
12. Chicago Bears
Last year, we all slept on the Bears; nobody thought they were any good.
They ended up in the NFC Championship game.
I won't take the Bears for granted this season, will you?
11. Dallas Cowboys
You can point to the fact that they were one of the worst teams in football last season and right away discount the Cowboys, but it won't happen again.
Tony Romo is returning, and Tyron Smith will now be keeping him clean.
This team has talent all over the place, and whether you admit it or not, you know they can play with anybody.
The biggest question is, will they have another meltdown? I don't think they will.
10. Atlanta Falcons
9. San Diego Chargers
I'm tellin' you right now people, do not forget about the Chargers.
They were ranked No. 1 in both offense and defense last season, and the only reason they didn't win their division is because they constantly had punts blocked.
That won't happen again.
They will be better this year.
8. New Orleans Saints
After adding both Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram in the draft, you'd be lying if you said the Saints didn't get better.
They will be very, very good this season, but will they be able to compete with the big dogs of the NFC come playoff time with a suspect defense?
I think they have a shot at it, but they're certainly not the favorites.
7. Indianapolis Colts
Where there's a Peyton, there's a way. He's not done, and plenty of Colts will be returning from injuries from last season.
The Colts should still be near the top of the AFC.
6. New York Jets
I know, I hate the Jets as much as you do, but you can't discount them after back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game.
Mark Sanchez's poise in pressure situations is incredible, and Muhammad Wilkerson was a great pickup.
The Jets could be in the Super Bowl this February.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Could the Steelers have Super Bowl hangover this season? It's possible.
But even if they don't, they still have a suspect offensive line and secondary.
Not a good combination.
Either way, I don't mean to be too critical of Pittsburgh; they still have an excellent chance of making it back to the Super Bowl, but there are simply four better teams going into the year.
4. Baltimore Ravens
You can say that they don't deserve to be higher than the Steelers until they beat them, but if you ask me, they will beat them this season.
Joe Flacco is another year wiser, and he finally gets a deep threat in Torrey Smith.
Plus, the Steelers got incredibly lucky at points in last year's Steelers-Ravens playoff game.
The Ravens also added Jimmy Smith to improve their secondary; I have a good feeling about Baltimore this year.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick's amazing resurgence will make the Eagles a popular Super Bowl pick—and rightfully so.
Their offense is the most explosive in football; they can score 35 points in a quarter when they're on.
And their defense is good—but not great.
The reason why I put the Eagles higher than teams like Atlanta and New Orleans is because their offense is so incredibly explosive that they can afford to let teams like Green Bay and New England get big leads on them.
2. New England Patriots
I think people are forgetting just how good this team was at points last season.
They were scoring 30 points a game and blowing out teams week after week.
One loss from an unprepared Patriots team in the playoffs doesn't change that.
They're still the best team in the AFC, and they might even be better this year than they were last year.
1. Green Bay Packers
You can call me a homer if you'd like, but you can't tell me the Packers don't deserve to be first on this list.
Last season, the Packers never trailed by more than seven points once—not in the regular season, not in the playoffs, never.
That's a 100 percent legitimate stat, and it truly speaks to just how good Green Bay was last season.
What's even more incredible is that they did it with 15 players on IR, including stars like Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant and Nick Barnett, amongst others.
Not only do they get all those players back, but they get to see some of their dominant players who are still extremely young get even better.
Aaron Rodgers, B.J Raji, Clay Matthews, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields headline a flurry of Packers who will be better this year than last, and the only player who's even shown any signs of declining at all is Donald Driver (whose biggest asset will be as a leader anyway.)
Then consider that they addressed their one and only need—kick returning—in Round 2 when they got Randall Cobb, who was one of the best return men of the draft.
This team has no holes, if you don't think they're the best in football, you're crazy.