Offseason NFL Power Rankings Part One (32-17): Who’s Primed to Win?

Offseason NFL Power Rankings Part One (32-17): Who’s Primed to Win?

Overview

This offseason has been pretty hectic, and we still have no idea what Week 1 is going to look like. Will Rodgers get his wish and dip out of Green Bay? Will any key players (looking at you DeAndre Hopkins) shake it up by sitting out? That being said, these NFL offseason power rankings are assuming that everyone on a roster is going to play and play to their abilities.

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32. Houston Texans

It is going to be hard for any team to succeed with their superstar QB adamant on leaving (not to mention his troubling legal situation). However, the Texans roster just lacks any sort of star power.

Their defense will struggle, with a few below-average starters at every level. Their offense will be heavily reliant on journey Tyrod Taylor or rookie Davis Mills. Not exactly a great recipe for success.

I’ll admit, they have the potential for an ample running game, with Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson, and Mark Ingram leading that group. They also have some weapons at WR in Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, Randall Cobb, and rookie Nico Collins.

However, with big question marks looming over QB and the offensive line, it is going to be hard for those skill position players to succeed.

31. Detroit Lions

Another season, another opportunity for Lions fans to be let down. Yes, Jared Goff has made it to a Super Bowl, but he had a deep and dynamic WR core, a top-tier RB, and a dominant defense. He has exactly none of those in Detroit.

With Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman duking it out for the WR1 spot, his weapons are not exactly top-notch. However, he will have a solid 1-2 punch at RB with Deandre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Hopefully, that offensive line takes another step forward with the addition of Penei Sewell.

Their defensive line has tons of potential, and will definitely improve. However, they are very shallow at linebackers and the secondary, which will destroy their chance to keep games close.

Perhaps the brightest part of this team is their future. They were able to ditch Matt Patricia and netted 2 first-rounders for Stafford. There’s potential to climb out of this hole.

30. Philadelphia Eagles

Obviously, if Watson’s legal issues get sorted out and Philly can make a move for him, this ranking certainly changes. However, looking at this roster, I would say 30 is more than fair.

I really like Jalen Hurts and I do believe he has potential. But as of now, he is a bottom-five starting QB. He has a deep backfield to work with, featuring Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell.

They drafted Devonta Smith to be their guy, and he is definitely WR1 material. Reagor could make a splash if he is healthy, but they are still below average at the position.

The defensive line is still elite, but with the linebackers and secondary still lacking, they are going to give up a lot of points. I do not know if that offense is one I would trust in shootouts.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

It is a new era in Duval, and the future is certainly bright. I do think the Jags could exceed expectations, but I am not willing to bet on it yet.

The Travis Etienne pick was irresponsible, but it does give Trevor Lawrence a top RB duo to take the load off. Their WRs are also sneaky good, with Laviska Shenault one of my favorite candidates to break out this year.

However, the line only slightly improved, and there is not a reliable TE on the roster (sorry Tebow stans). If Walker Little, who was one of my favorite prospects, can shake off the dust and contribute in any way, Jacksonville will surely climb up the board.

On defense, their corners have potential, but the safety group is lackluster and will depend on rookie Andre Cisco. The edge rushers are young and athletic, but not enough to raise the level of the line. Without a dependable level, the defense could struggle.

28. New York Jets

Much like Jacksonville, a rookie QB could mean new beginnings for the franchise. Zach Wilson has the weapons and the line to succeed, and could even put up impressive numbers.

With Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and rookie Elijah Moore, there are plenty of dynamic options at WR. If Michael Carter can step up in the backfield, I think Wilson could contend for offensive rookie of the year.

On defense, I think the Jets are actually set up to compete. Their defensive line is among the league’s top 10, and Marcus Maye makes everything look better. If the linebackers can step up, possibly Jarrad Davis, they could certainly keep the Jets afloat.

I do think that Robert Salah is the right coach to bring New York back to prominence, but it is not going to be a fast or easy process.

27. Atlanta Falcons

Will the Falcons score points in 2021? Absolutely. The loss of Julio Jones will be offset by drafting generational talent Kyle Pitts. Calvin Ridley could become a top-five receiver. Mike Davis is the most reliable RB they have had in years.

However, the defense is a much different story. Not even Grady Jarrett or Deion Jones can save them at this point.

Below average at every level, this season will merely be to scout out potential core players for the future. Think Richie Grant, AJ Terrell, or Marlon Davidson.

Notice a trend here? Most of these basement-dwellers are working with new head coaches. The problem that I see is that Atlanta passed on the opportunity to set themselves up for the future by finding a young QB. Hopefully, Pitts is game-changing enough that it does not matter.

26. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow could be a really great quarterback, I really believe it. However, the offensive line was a ridiculous problem and I am not sure they are necessarily primed to improve this year.

They have a lot of options to try, but I am not convinced many of them will pan out. The guards look underwhelming, they do not appear to trust anyone at center, and they are putting a lot of trust in a career-average tackle and one who has played only 10 games in two seasons.

However, they have an elite WR trio. Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd are a dynamic crew, and there is legitimately a chance they all exceed 1,000 yards.

They have some potentially good options at corner, a deep defensive line, and an elite safety duo. However, the overwhelming youth at linebacker could prove to be their Achilles heel.

25. Las Vegas Raiders

I have never bought into the Raiders hype train. Jon Gruden’s reputation may be more impressive than his actual coaching. I believe Derek Carr is a ridiculously average QB, but it sure does not help that he has no weapons.

Hopefully, Henry Ruggs stays healthy, and Bryan Edwards is an option to step into the WR2 role. Darren Waller is elite, but how long can he carry the load as the only option?

Josh Jacobs has shown more potential than production thus far in his career. That is probably the reason that Las Vegas went out Kenyan Drake to split carries. With the way that the offensive line was striped, it will not much matter who is taking carries.

They have a good group of safeties and some good options off the edge, but this defense is far from complete. Unless Arnette or Mullen takes a big step forward, this team will struggle to stop opponents.

24. New York Giants

I want to put the Giants higher, I really do. Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley, and Kadarius Toney on the same offense surely make for an explosive unit, but I still have doubts. Daniel Jones took a noticeable step backward last season and cannot seem to keep the ball from the defense.

Obviously, Barkley’s health is the biggest factor at play here. If he returns as prime Saquon, this offense could be better than anyone anticipates. The WR core of Golladay, Toney, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton is a versatile group. Add in Evan Engram and newly acquired Kyle Rudolph and the weapons are plentiful.

However, the offensive line is still among the worst in the league, and that makes everything complicated. Losing Dalvin Tomlinson on the DL makes the Giants noticeably weaker in the trenches.

They have a top 10 corner in Bradberry, but I am not convinced of the rest of their options. With a solid safety duo and lots of talent off the edge, the defense certainly has potential. Whether it all comes to fruition is the question with this team.

23. Denver Broncos

A lot will be solved if they make the right choice at QB. Whoever wins that battle will hold the fate of Denver in their hands. Their defense is loaded, with an elite safety duo, top-tier pass rushers, good linebackers, and perhaps the best cornerback group in the league.

There are plenty of weapons at hand too. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick make for an intriguing group, and Noah Fant is one of the better options at TE in the league. With the addition of Javonte Williams, the Broncos may have one of the deepest RB rooms as well.

There are rumors that Denver could send Melvin Gordon to Los Angeles due to Cam Akers’ recent Achilles injury. Even if that happens, I feel confident that Williams, Royce Freeman, and Mike Boone could still provide a spark.

Essentially what I am saying is that Denver is a playoff roster with a bottom-five QB situation. If they make the right call, and either Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater can take control of that offense, the Broncos will FLY up these rankings.

22. Chicago Bears

Justin Fields is certainly the future in Chicago, but I am not sure it starts this season. As of now, Andy Dalton seems to be the guy, for better or worse. Offensively, the Bears got faster… but did they did better?

Allen Robinson will carry that offense, but this may also be his last year in Chi-Town. Darnell Mooney showed a lot of promise, but can he step up into a full-time WR2? Cole Kmet is set to step into a more prominent role, but did he show enough last year to be trusted?

It seems to be all question marks on offense for the Bears, and the defense has gotten noticeably diminished. Their safeties will still be okay, but losing Kyle Fuller hurts bad. Jaylon Johnson will have to step up big try to fill those shoes.

Khalil Mack is still dominant, but the rest of that front seven does not scare me nearly as much as they did three years ago. It is a shame to see one of the most consistently dominant defenses being wasted, but it appears it will happen again.

21. Carolina Panthers

I think Sam Darnold finally has the opportunity to showcase his abilities in the NFL. DJ Moore, Robbie Anderson, and Terrace Marshall should be one of the more impressive WR trios in the league this year. Christian McCaffery is one of the league’s premier running backs.

They were able to lock up top-tier tackle Taylor Moton, and the line has steadily improved over the last few years. With solid protection and ample weapons, Darnold is a candidate to make a big splash for Carolina in 2021.

The past few seasons, the Panthers’ defense has gotten a free pass for their youth on defense. However, this may be the year you start to see that youth step up. A deep and battle-tested corner group should lead the way, and Brian Burns will terrorize opposing QBs.

If Shaq Thompson and Jeremy Chinn continue to improve and lead the way, this team has sneaky potential to be a wild card candidate.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Somehow, Mike Tomlin will make sure this team finishes with nine wins. I am not sure how he does it, but he is the key to the Steelers’ success this season.

Big Ben will have to get back to a good level to lead that offense. He has a great supporting cast with Dionte Johnson, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Chase Claypool at wide receiver and rookie RB Najee Harris. The problem starts with the line. Losing multiple starters on the OL in one offseason is a hard pill to swallow.

They will still be solid on defense, with TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, Stephen Tuitt, and newly added Melvin Ingram creating a very strong front seven.

If James Pierre steps into Mike Hilton’s old role well, they could see minimal dropoff from 2020. The defense should continue to be the strong point of this team, but I do not see them being able to keep up with Cleveland or Baltimore in 2021.

19. New Orleans Saints

I honestly think Jameis Winston could have a bounceback season in a big way. He has a good offensive line, a top-tier running back, and 20/20 vision. However, this was before the news of Michael Thomas missing the first month of the season.

Starting a season with new real weapons outside of Alvin Kamara is a dangerous game to play. With Winston’s turnover history, it could dig New Orleans in an early hole.

However, the defense is a different story. The secondary should remain strong, with Paulson Adebo adding some reinforcement at corner. The defensive line is solid as well, and hopefully, a combination of Marcus Davenport and Payton Turner can provide a spark.

If a linebacker steps up next to Demario Davis, this defense will be in full-fledged carrying mode to start the season. I hope they stay healthy because this squad is one or two more injuries away from a full-blown free fall.

18. New England Patriots

New England is another team that I think could outperform their ranking this season. Think about it… Bill Belichick spending big-time money in free agency has to mean something crazy right?

They now own the league’s top tight end duo in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Not to mention they upgraded the WR core with Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor. This finally gives Cam Newton a fair shot at proving he still has it.

But guess what… even if he does not, they have a shiny new QB straight off of a college football championship to take the reins. That seems like a recipe for a much-improved offense to me. I just want to see them on the field before I rank them any higher.

The defense will also take a big step forward, signing Matthew Judon, Davon Godchaux, Kyle Van Noy, and Jalen Mills. Throwing in emerging edge rusher Chase Winovich, and this unit is starting to look like the usually terrifying Patriots defense.

17. Miami Dolphins

Is Tua the man in Miami? I’m not sure, but if there is a chance for him to prove it, it is certainly this year. Devante Parker, Will Fuller, and Jaylen Waddle combine for a very formidable group of WRs.

Mike Gesicki could have another big season as he cements himself as a top-of-the-line tight end. And Myles Gaskin is definitely a candidate to break out for the Phins this year.

The defense was great last year and could continue that trend again. That is, of course, if Xavien Howard decides to stay in town. Amid his trade rumors, a big shakeup in the secondary could be tricky to cover up.

They are a little weak on the front seven, but with Jerome Baker and Christian Wilkins continue to improve, they might hold down the fort.

Nick Lawler

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