NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After the 2018 NFL Draft?

Chris Simms@@CSimmsQBNFL Lead AnalystApril 30, 2018

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After the 2018 NFL Draft?

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    In the NFL, the difference between being an 11-5 team and a 5-11 team can be just a handful of plays. As a player—and this was especially true for me as a quarterback—you realize just how close your team is to a championship opportunity when you go back and watch film after the season. 

    That's the great thing about the NFL for both players and coaches. You always genuinely believe you're just a couple of pieces away. Thanks to free agency and the draft, those pieces can be had.

    I remember feeling this way with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2004 season. We ended up taking Cadillac Williams with the fifth pick in the 2005 draft, and we knew we were getting one of the best playmakers in the entire draft. That gave us a newfound energy, and we went on to go 11-5 and win the NFC South.

    With the draft and the bulk of free agency in the books, now is a good time to re-evaluate where teams stand. While the moves teams have made are only showing up on paper right now, these are different teams than we saw at the end of last season. My rankings are going to be different than last season's, and while they're going to change again before 2018 gets underway, here's how I currently see things.

32. Cleveland Browns

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    The Cleveland Browns have done a lot of good things to change their team—there's no question about that. I'm excited to see what the new culture guys are going to bring to the franchise. Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry are great locker room guys who will have a positive influence on the players.

    Now, I would have gone in a different direction with Cleveland's first two draft picks, but the Browns did get some quality players in the first few rounds. Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb and Chad Thomas will be able to contribute right away.

    John Dorsey stood tall and took the guys he wanted. Now it'll be up to the players to prove him right.

    I like the direction the Browns are taking. While I have them last in my power rankings now, don't be surprised if they make a significant jump up the board as the 2018 season unfolds. The Browns are far better than they were last year, but they're in a position where I have to see the improvement on the field before I can rank them to reflect it.

31. Arizona Cardinals

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    There are a lot of unknowns with the Arizona Cardinals. Bruce Arians is gone, which means Arizona has lost one of the best offensive minds in the sport. I'll have to see how things work with new head coach Steve Wilks before I'm willing to move Arizona up the board.

    The Cardinals parted ways with Tyrann Mathieu but did add pieces to the offensive line in Andre Smith, Justin Pugh and Mason Cole. They also added veteran quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon to ensure their new face of the franchise would have time to develop.

    Arizona made UCLA's Josh Rosen that new face of the franchise in the draft. He should have a bright future with the Cardinals.

    Overall, though, this is an underwhelming roster. We don't know how David Johnson is going to be returning from injury, and besides him and Larry Fitzgerald, there aren't any standout offensive weapons. With a new coaching staff in place, the Cardinals are in a transition period.

30. Indianapolis Colts

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    The Indianapolis Colts would be higher up this list if I had more faith in Andrew Luck's health. I believe he'll be ready to start in Week 1, but there's no guarantee. If he isn't at least throwing the football soon, he's not going to be the Luck we're used to seeing in Week 1, anyway.

    The Colts made some interesting depth signings in free agency, and they got Luck some weapons in Eric Ebron and Ryan Grant. What I really like, though, is what general manager Chris Ballard did in the draft.

    Indianapolis got big up front on both sides of the ball. It got Quenton Nelson, of course, but second-round pick Braden Smith was one of my favorite guards in the draft too. Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis add talent to the Indianapolis defensive front.

    The Colts improved the line in front of Luck and improved the defense so that, hopefully, Luck won't have to win a shootout every game upon his return. Their game plan this offseason has been smart.

29. Miami Dolphins

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    My biggest question with the Miami Dolphins is that I don't know what they are. I don't know what their identity is supposed to be. Ryan Tannehill will be back under center, but I know Miami's interest in Baker Mayfield was real. This tells me the Dolphins aren't sold on Tannehill, even if they say otherwise.

    The Dolphins did add some nice pieces this offseason. They got Danny Amendola at receiver and added a great defensive lineman in Robert Quinn. They also scooped up safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, one of the safest players in the draft. He'll help out Miami's secondary tremendously.

    I just have to question the role of Tannehill and his ability to return from injury and take another step forward. Miami lost cornerstone players like Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh in the offseason. If Tannehill isn't the guy the Dolphins want to build around, I don't know who is.

    The Dolphins have to prove to me that they have a foundation and a clear direction before I'll be willing to buy in.

28. New York Jets

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    The New York Jets had one of the best offseasons in football. Their signings were phenomenal. They didn't add superstars on offense, but they added solid players like Isaiah Crowell and Terrelle Pryor. They got difference-makers on defense like Avery Williamson and Trumaine Johnson.

    The Jets had a solid free-agency run, and they paired it with a potentially direction-shifting draft choice. I don't know if Sam Darnold will be ready to start right away, but he has franchise-quarterback potential.

    New York can lean on veteran Josh McCown—or Teddy Bridgewater if he proves healthy—but there will be some uncertainty at the quarterback position this season. This is the main reason I have the Jets low in my rankings. They are, however, a team that can make a big jump in 2018 if a few things break their way.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The chemistry between Jameis Winston and DeSean Jackson has to be better this year, and Tampa Bay has to be improved up front on both sides of the ball if it is going to take another step toward the playoffs.

    We'll have to see if Jackson and Winston can be the kind of duo I expected them to be, but the Buccaneers accomplished the second main goal this offseason—at least on paper.

    The Buccaneers re-signed offensive linemen Evan Smith and Ryan Jensen and added an underrated guard prospect in Alex Cappa. They did even more work on the defensive line, bringing in Jason-Pierre Paul, Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and first-round pick Vita Vea. In addition, the Buccaneers added a starting-caliber running back in Ronald Jones and one of my favorite corners in the draft, Carlton Davis.

    Tampa Bay is set up to change its direction in 2018. I'm excited to see where it goes, especially if the passing attack reaches its potential.

26. Denver Broncos

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    Getting quarterback Case Keenum was huge for the Denver Broncos. Keenum aside, however, the Broncos spent free agency adding little depth pieces. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, because Denver believes its Super Bowl window is still open.

    Denver's first two draft picks have the potential to be game-changers. When you can pair Bradley Chubb with Von Miller, you have the foundation for a championship defense. Courtland Sutton was a first-round talent and has the potential to be a No. 1 wideout for Keenum. Both are difference-makers.

    If Keenum can play like he did last season for the Minnesota Vikings, watch out. Denver can be right back in the playoff mix easily. I need to see Keenum prove last season wasn't a fluke before I move the Broncos up the rankings.

25. Chicago Bears

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    The Chicago Bears are one of the few teams in the conversation for the best offseason. 

    First of all, Chicago changed its head coach. Matt Nagy is an offensive mind that will help the development of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears then used free agency to surround Trubisky with weapons, such as Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton.

    I expect Trubisky to take the kind of second-year leap we saw from Jared Goff in 2017.

    Re-signing Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara was big for the Bears defense. So was drafting former Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, who is a legit sideline-to-sideline linebacker. He'll be like a new version of Patrick Willis for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

    We still need to see all the new pieces come together in Chicago, but the Bears should be relevant in the NFC North this season.

24. Oakland Raiders

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    The biggest thing the Oakland Raiders did this offseason was get a new head coach. Jon Gruden is worth two additional wins because of his energy, attention to detail and creativity. It's all going to be big.

    Still, this is a Raiders team with a quarterback coming off a down season and with a defense that was terrible even when Oakland was making a playoff run two years ago. The Raiders can be better in 2018, but there is a lot to prove.

    Oakland had some good depth signings in free agency, like Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin and Tahir Whitehead—one of my favorite signings of the offseason. I'm not going to lie to Raiders fans and say Oakland knocked the draft out of the park, but the Raiders did get bigger on both lines.

    Kolton Miller can be a franchise left tackle, which Oakland needs. P.J. Hall can be an anchor nose tackle. If nothing else, expect the Raiders to be more physical up front in 2018.

23. San Francisco 49ers

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    The San Francisco 49ers ended the 2017 season hot as hell—as hot as any team in the sport, for sure. They then signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a long-term deal, which is huge. Still, I can't rank the 49ers any higher because there are holes on the roster and the Reuben Foster situation lingers.

    Adding Richard Sherman, Weston Richburg and Jerick McKinnon was smart. San Francisco now has an upper-tier corner, an anchor interior lineman and a running back head coach Kyle Shanahan can maximize.

    San Francisco also had a tremendous draft. Tackle Mike McGlinchey fits everything Shanahan wants to do in the running game, and Dante Pettis is a receiver who can do anything asked of him.

    The 49ers were one of the most exciting teams to watch last season with Garoppolo under center. They should be even more exciting this season. Whether the wins come with the excitement remains to be seen.

22. Houston Texans

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    I'd like to be able to put the Houston Texans a little higher, but there are just too many injury questions here. I expect quarterback Deshaun Watson to be ready at the start of the season, but I don't expect him to be 100 percent. Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt are also returning from injury, and their situations bear watching.

    If everything goes well, these returns will be as big as anything the Texans did in the offseason. Houston added to the secondary by signing Tyrann Mathieu and drafting Justin Reid, but it didn't make many flashy moves (or have any high draft picks).

    While the Texans didn't have a sexy offseason, this is still a team to watch out for. When Houston is healthy, it's a playoff-caliber unit.

21. Dallas Cowboys

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    The Dallas Cowboys are a team I'm not sure about. I'd love to be able to tell you Dallas is going to be better because the Ezekiel Elliott drama has passed, but there are pieces missing.

    Parting with Dez Bryant was huge. The Cowboys brought in wideout Allen Hurns and drafted Michael Gallup, but while these are guys who can do a little bit of everything, they aren't difference-makers. If Jason Witten is done, that's going to be a major blow to the offense too.

    Leighton Vander Esch was a risky first-round pick because I know some teams had medical concerns with him. The Cowboys already have injury-risk linebackers in Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee. Randy Gregory remains a suspension risk if he's even reinstated. I don't know why the Cowboys would add another potential risk to their defense.

    Dallas could be in the playoffs this season. However, it's also in a division where the other three teams improved more than the Cowboys did.

20. Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Cincinnati Bengals were closer last year than people realized. They got off to a bad start but were still in the playoff hunt late in the season.

    The Bengals addressed their offensive line by acquiring Cordy Glenn and drafting Billy Price. Those are huge moves because offensive line was Cincinnati's biggest weakness coming into the offseason. The Bengals also re-signed Tyler Eifert and brought in linebacker Preston Brown. These were smart moves.

    While incoming rookies like Jessie Bates and Sam Hubbard might not be big names, the Bengals got a lot of middle-round players I liked during my evaluations who can contribute right away.

    The Bengals are in a tough division alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, but they're better, and I wouldn't be shocked if Cincinnati is back in the postseason in 2018.

19. Seattle Seahawks

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    Things are changing for the Seattle Seahawks. The team has new offensive and defensive coordinators in Brian Schottenheimer and Ken Norton Jr., respectively. The Seahawks parted with Sherman, and while they didn't do much in free agency, they did bring in fresh depth. They didn't have a lot of depth over the last couple of years.

    I love Seattle's draft. Rashaad Penny was one of the three best running backs in the draft, and Rasheem Green is a Michael Bennett-type talent who will help the defense. Getting Shaquem Griffin, who is a phenomenal athlete, in the fifth round was a steal. People are focusing too much on Griffin's story and overlooking the fact he's a quality player who will contribute right away.

    There are still some major questions surrounding this team. Will Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor ever play again? Will Russell Wilson be running for his life behind a shaky offensive line in 2018? The Seahawks have made some good moves this offseason, but I don't know what they are other than Wilson making magic.

18. Washington Redskins

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    The Washington Redskins have had a pretty good offseason. They added stability at the quarterback position by acquiring Alex Smith—there will be no question about whether he'll be back after this year.

    Washington also got Orlando Scandrick and Paul Richardson, two solid players who will contribute to the defense and the offense, respectively. Re-signing linebacker Zach Brown was also big.

    The drafting of Da'Ron Payne will be huge for Washington's defense. He can be a superstar at the pro level. He reminds me a lot of Kawann Short. Pairing him with last year's first-round pick, Jonathan Allen, will help Washington's run defense tremendously. The drafting of Derrius Guice will have just as big an impact on the rushing attack.

    The Redskins dealt with a plethora of injuries last season. With a healthier roster and some nifty new pieces on board, Washington should remain in the playoff conversation all year.

17. Buffalo Bills

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    The Buffalo Bills are at No. 17, though their roster is better than the 17th-best in the NFL. The big thing for me is the quarterback position. Will AJ McCarron be the starter this season? Will Josh Allen unseat him? We don't know. Allen is supremely talented but could easily get off to a bad start, and McCarron is unproven.

    Don't get me wrong, Allen was my favorite quarterback in the draft and can be a superstar. The Bills got their next Jim Kelly, but he is going to take time to develop.

    I love what Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane are building, though. Adding guys like Vontae Davis, Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy was smart. These are proven players that fit McDermott's defensive scheme. Buffalo also added one of the draft's best defenders in linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

    We've seen what guys like Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly can do in McDermott's defense, and Edmunds will be the most gifted linebacker McDermott has ever coached.

    The Bills were a playoff team last season and can be again in 2018. I just have to question whether a quarterback with only a handful of starts or a rookie can lead them there.

16. Baltimore Ravens

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    The Ravens got some weapons for Joe Flacco in Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead. This is big because Flacco will be leading the charge for at least one more season.

    I love the addition of quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' draft overall. Hayden Hurst will be another offensive contributor early, and Jackson will eventually be the franchise quarterback. I won't be surprised if Jackson gets on the field in sub-packages this year to get used to the speed of the game. Right now, though, it's all about Flacco.

    Flacco gets a lot of flak because of his lack of emotion—he's almost like Jay Cutler in that regard—and the fact that he hasn't played at a championship level since winning the Super Bowl, and rightfully so. I'm done supporting Flacco without seeing him prove it on the field, and the Ravens are going to go as Flacco takes them.

    This is a big, physical football team that will be in the playoff hunt in 2018. I can't put it higher than No. 16, though, because so much hinges on Flacco's play. The Ravens could flop. They could be Super Bowl contenders if Flacco returns to form.

15. Detroit Lions

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    The Detroit Lions have had a solid offseason. It started with hiring Matt Patricia as head coach. He's a hell of a football coach and is going to bring a lot of discipline and attention to detail to the team. Detroit has done a good job of adding players who fit the style of football he wants to play.

    Detroit brought in LeGarrette Blount, Devon Kennard and Sylvester Williams in free agency, which were underrated moves. I know it might be hard to get excited about Detroit's draft, but it was terrific.

    Matthew Stafford has been forced to deal with so-so pass protection and an inconsistent running game his entire career. Well, first-round pick Frank Ragnow is an All-Pro-caliber center, and second-round pick Kerryon Johnson can be another Matt Forte—at least that's who I compare him to.

    The Lions have a better team than some people will give them credit for. With Patricia as coach, they should be right back in the playoff mix.

14. New York Giants

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    The New York Giants are another team that belongs in the conversation for having the best offseason. They addressed huge needs by acquiring linebacker Alec Ogletree and signing offensive tackle Nate Solder. The Giants also deserve to be in the conversation for having the best draft.

    Saquon Barkley will immediately impact the potency of New York's offense. So will second-round pick Will Hernandez, one of the best interior linemen in the draft. Lorenzo Carter will help bolster the Giants' pass-rushing rotation right away too.

    Let's not forget New York is getting receiver Odell Beckham Jr. back from injury. The Giants could easily have the league's two most explosive offensive players next season with Beckham and Barkley.

    This roster is littered with stars, something I think people often forget. The team itself has never been far off. With the dysfunction of the Ben McAdoo era gone and Pat Shurmur in, it can be dangerous. If Eli Manning can play at a high level, watch out.

13. Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons had one of the best rosters in the NFL to begin with, and they added to it in the offseason.

    The Falcons brought in guard Brandon Fusco to help bolster the offensive line, and they drafted another weapon in wideout Calvin Ridley. I like Gabriel, but Ridley will be an upgrade in Atlanta's offense and a difference-maker. Expect Matt Ryan to have a bounce-back season.

    Atlanta also drafted a scheme-fit corner in Isaiah Oliver. He was a fringe first-round talent and will help the Falcons defense immediately.

    This is going to be the second year of the Steve Sarkisian offense, and his development as an NFL play-caller is my biggest question mark. The Super Bowl window is open for the Falcons, but they'll need some things to break their way in a division with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

12. Los Angeles Chargers

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    The Los Angeles Chargers were a playoff-caliber team last season. If they hadn't gotten off to such a rough start, they would have been one of the few teams capable of threatening the New England Patriots in the AFC playoffs.

    The Chargers should be better in 2018. They should be healthier on the offseason line, and they added Mike Pouncey at center. They also got one of the steals of the draft when safety Derwin James fell to them at No. 17.

    James is going to be the Kam Chancellor for Gus Bradley's defense in Los Angeles. The Chargers also added Uchenna Nwosu, a linebacker who fits right into the defense, along with a big defensive tackle in Justin Jones.

    The Chargers will have a better line, a better run defense and will be in the playoff hunt this season.

11. Green Bay Packers

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    Listen, the Green Bay Packers aren't as good overall as some of the teams ranked behind them. Their roster isn't better than the those of the Chargers, Falcons or Giants. However, Ol' No. 12 is the trump card. 

    Aaron Rodgers is worth at least seven spots in my power rankings when he's healthy.

    Now, the Packers did make their roster better in the offseason. What new general manager Brian Gutekunst is doing is impressive. He's been aggressive, signing Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson. He also killed the draft.

    The Packers got themselves an extra first-round pick for next year and still landed one of the best cornerbacks in the draft. I liked Jaire Alexander more than Ward, who was taken fourth overall. They also added another starting-caliber corner in Josh Jackson.

    The addition of Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator will improve that side of the ball. If Rodgers is back to 100 percent and these new pieces have an immediate impact, watch out.

10. Tennessee Titans

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    The Tennessee Titans were a playoff team last year, and they're going to be even better this year. I expect huge improvements on defense with Mike Vrabel running the show and Dean Pees in as defensive coordinator.

    We can't overlook Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator either. He's learned under Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay and will bring creativity to the offense.

    I like what the Titans did in the offseason too. They re-signed Josh Kline, added Bennie Logan and brought in a shutdown corner in Malcolm Butler. With Butler, Adoree' Jackson and Logan Ryan, Tennessee will have one of the league's best secondaries this year.

    Tennessee also got two of my favorite defensive players in the first two rounds of the draft. Rashaan Evans will be a sideline-to-sideline playmaker, and Harold Landry will be a force off the edge. Landry could lead the NFL in sacks down the road.

9. Kansas City Chiefs

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    The big thing to watch with the Kansas City Chiefs this year will be the switch to Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. I'm excited about it because Mahomes has Brett Favre-type ability and can be one of the best passers in the league early.

    The Chiefs had a phenomenal free agency too. Adding Sammy Watkins gives Mahomes another downfield target, and bringing in Kendall Fuller and Anthony Hitchens should help improve the defense. I know Kansas City lost Marcus Peters, but I believe the defense will be better.

    Kansas City didn't have a first-round pick but still landed two of the best defensive tackles in the draft in Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi. The Chiefs needed depth and talent up front, and they got it.

    If the defense can take even a small step forward, the Chiefs will be extremely dangerous. With Mahomes at the helm, the offense is going to be one of the most explosive in football.

8. Carolina Panthers

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    The Panthers didn't do anything special in free agency, but they did add Torrey Smith to stretch the field and Dontari Poe to help replace Star Lotulelei. What I loved was the draft Carolina had.

    D.J. Moore was one of the most explosive players in the draft. In fact, he was the most explosive offensive player after Saquon Barkley. He's going to do special things for Cam Newton. Expect Newton to be a more productive passer, especially if Curtis Samuel is back to 100 percent.

    Then, the Panthers added one of the most explosive defensive players in Donte Jackson. He's a physical defensive back who ran a 4.32 at the combine and will be like a missile in Carolina's defense. The Panthers also drafted safety Rashaan Gaulden, who will bolster the back end.

    Carolina was a playoff team in 2017, and there's no reason why it would take a step back this year. In fact, the Panthers will take a big step forward.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Pittsburgh is a good football team; we know that. Last year ended on a weird note, though, with a shocking loss to the Patriots and a lopsided loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round. The Steelers will have to put that behind them.

    The Steelers also have to get past the loss of Ryan Shazier, the heart of their defense, and the departure of offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Talent-wise, though, Pittsburgh is close to being a complete team.

    Pittsburgh brought in safety Morgan Burnett and drafted safety Terrell Edmunds, who is a guy I love. Edmunds will do a lot of different things for Pittsburgh's defense, whether it's playing free safety, strong safety or assuming the Shazier role inside the box.

    The one big question is how the Le'Veon Bell situation affects things. He's going to sit out the offseason and the preseason and then use the early season to get into football shape, just like last year. The Steelers started off 3-2 last year because Bell wasn't at his best, and it eventually cost them home-field advantage in the playoffs.

    The Steelers will be in the Super Bowl conversation all year, but of the teams in that conversation, Pittsburgh has done the least to improve.

6. New Orleans Saints

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    The Saints were one of the best teams in the sport last season, and they made some big moves this offseason to get better.

    Of course, New Orleans re-signed Drew Brees. The Saints also inked linebacker Demario Davis, who adds veteran leadership and talent to the defense. Acquiring Patrick Robinson makes the secondary deeper, and signing Cameron Meredith gives Brees another target.

    The Super Bowl is within sight, and the Saints are ready to win now. That's why they made a win-now move by trading up for pass-rusher Marcus Davenport. This was the one spot that was missing. Give Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis credit for going up and getting a DeMarcus Ware-like talent in Davenport.

    Had the Saints gotten past the Vikings last postseason, they would have given the Eagles a legitimate fight in the title game. Expect them to be challenging the Eagles in the NFC all season long.

5. Minnesota Vikings

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    Naturally, signing Kirk Cousins was a huge deal for the Vikings. So was adding defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. He'll improve a defensive front that was already dominant to begin with.

    The thing I love is the Vikings landed cornerback Mike Hughes at the bottom of Round 1. Hughes is another corner I would have taken ahead of Denzel Ward. He is a true man-to-man shutdown corner, and he's going to make for a hell of a trio alongside Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes.

    Minnesota also drafted a tackle in Brian O'Neill, who is extremely athletic. At worst, he'll improve the depth on the offensive line. At best, he'll become a franchise left tackle.

    The Vikings are a Super Bowl-caliber team, and they may have made just enough tweaks to get them over the hump in 2018.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Let's be serious. The Jaguars have the best roster in football. They had it last year, and they actually made their roster better in the offseason—and that's scary.

    Jacksonville added the best offensive lineman in free agency in Andrew Norwell. It also brought in Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul, re-signed Marqise Lee and added Donte Moncrief to improve the offense. Yes, the Jaguars parted with Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, but I believe the offense will actually be better in 2018.

    Part of the reason for this is that Jacksonville landed wideout D.J. Chark in the draft. He was one of the most explosive wideouts in the draft and should develop into a legit No. 1 receiver.

    Jacksonville also drafted defensive tackle Taven Bryan. It now has so much defensive-line depth that there are probably teams that would swap their starting defensive lines for Jacksonville's second unit.

    The Jaguars have a scary amount of talent. If Blake Bortles can play like he did late in the playoffs, there's no reason why they shouldn't compete for a Super Bowl now.

3. New England Patriots

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    The Patriots lost Malcolm Butler, Nate Solder and Dion Lewis in the offseason, but they're still the Patriots. This is still Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and it's not like New England simply did nothing during the offseason.

    The Patriots added Jeremy Hill to help the running game, added Danny Shelton to bolster the defensive line, acquired Jason McCourty to help the secondary and added Cordarrelle Patterson as an offensive weapon. The Patriots also killed it in the draft.

    Isaiah Wynn was one of the best offensive linemen in the draft and will be starting from day one. Sony Michel was the second-best running back in the draft and will allow the Patriots to have a run-heavy offense if they want to go that route. I also love the selection of cornerback Duke Dawson in the second round.

    Dawson might not have been one of the top five corners in the draft but would have been my pick for sixth or seventh if I were asked to rank them. He's a feisty corner and can be the kind of guy who can replace Butler.

    Expect the Patriots to be battling for a Super Bowl appearance again in 2018.

2. Los Angeles Rams

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    The Los Angeles Rams had the best free-agency period of anyone in football. They added Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh. Those guys join a roster that was already one of the best in football—I could probably stop my analysis there.

    Don't be surprised if Jared Goff takes another positive step in Year 3, though. L.A. had an incredibly dangerous offense with him and Todd Gurley at the center of it. The Rams added offensive-line depth in the draft—in the form of tackle Joseph Noteboom and center Brian Allen—and with Cooks replacing Sammy Watkins, that offense could be even better.

    With guys like Suh, Talib and Peters joining the defense, it's hard to envision the Rams not being better on that side of the ball, too. No one should be surprised if L.A. is playing in the NFL title game next January.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

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    This should come as no surprise. The Eagles won the Super Bowl last season with Nick Foles under center. Now, Foles did a great job in that game, but FOLES IS NOT CARSON WENTZ.

    Wentz is a special talent, and he'll be back at some point this season, even if it isn't Week 1. If he remains healthy through the end of the year, it's hard not to envision Philadelphia playing in the NFC championship at the very least.

    Getting guys like Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata in free agency makes a tremendous defensive line even better. Re-signing Nigel Bradham was also big. Then the Eagles went out and drafted tight end Dallas Goedert, who can be another Zach Ertz. Philadelphia also got one of the biggest steals in the draft by nabbing Josh Sweat.

    Sweat was one of the 30 best players in the entire draft, but he had medical concerns with his knee. If he holds up, he can be one of the better defensive players in all of football. That's the beauty of having one of the best rosters in the game—you can take a chance on a guy like Sweat.

    If he pans out, it will pay off big. If he doesn't, the Eagles still will definitely have a shot at the Super Bowl in 2018, as they're even better on paper than they were last year.


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