2021 Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings
With the NFL Draft and free agency concluded, rosters are beginning to solidify. With the NFL heading towards a 17-game schedule, now more than ever teams need to be built as durable as they can be.
The next update won’t be until the preseason games are underway. Right now, these are how things stand in the NFL.
32. Houston Texans (4-12) With Deshaun Watson’s play career up in the air, management being a mess, and not having a draft pick until the third round, Houston is at the lowest of lows. Selecting Stanford quarterback Davis Mills in the third round at least suggests that Watson might not play
31. Detroit Lions (5-11) Detroit had a lot of holes going into the draft and left the draft with still a ton of question marks. With Jared Goff under center, rookie offensive lineman Penei Sewell keeping him upright, and no real outside threat at receiver, the rebuild is on.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) Jacksonville should be somewhat competitive in 2021. They have the shiny new quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, who should help improve their record from last season. Picking Travis Etienne was a headscratcher.
29. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) Pairing rookie Kyle Pitts with Calvin Ridley should reinvigorate youth in the receiving game. With rumors of receiver Julio Jones being shopped around, Atlanta may be headed for a rebuild.
28. New York Jets (2-14) The Jets got a shiny new quarterback with Zach Wilson, as well as Alijah Vera-Tucker to help keep him upright. There are still some question marks in the secondary, and with no real threat on the ground, Wilson might be throwing early (and often).
27. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) I give the Bengals a slight edge over the Jets as they have a better receiving core and Joe Mixon. Taking receiver Ja’Marr Chase will have its benefits but passing on Sewell may have been a mistake.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) I’ll give Philadelphia credit for the selection of receiver Devonta Smith in the NFL draft. The Eagles will also be getting back Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks on the line. They need help in the secondary though, and I’m not so sure quarterback Jalen Hurts can keep the Eagles alive in a shootout.
25. Carolina Panthers (5-11) Carolina taking Jaycee Horn instead of Justin Fields means that the Panthers are sticking with Sam Darnold under center. To be fair, in a division with Michael Thomas, Julio Jones (for now), Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin, selecting Horn should help against the pass.
24. Denver Broncos (5-11) The Broncos brought in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to compete with Drew Lock under center. Rookie running back Javonte Williams should help on the ground game.
23. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) Incoming quarterback Trey Lance is put in a good spot with the number of weapons the 49ers have. Jimmy Garoppolo should still be considered the starter, as Lance might need to be groomed for a year. Getting Nick Bosa back from injury should help return the defensive line to its 2019 self.
22. Chicago Bears (8-8) The Bears had a good draft. Trading up for quarterback Justin Fields and then getting offensive lineman Teven Jenkins is a recipe for long-term success if it pans out. Coach Matt Nagy remains on the hot seat but picking Fields might save his job for at least a couple of seasons.
21. New York Giants (6-10) The Giants’ selections of receiver Kadarius Toney and edge Azeez Ojulari should help out on both sides of the ball. However, the offensive line was neglected. In a deep offensive line draft, the Giants failed to draft one.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) Landing safety Trevon Moehrig in the draft will help an incredibly young secondary for the Raiders. Adding receiver John Brown in free agency might help the receiving room, but it all lands on the shoulders of quarterback Derek Carr.
19. New England Patriots (7-9) New England loaded up with free agents and should be a new team this coming season. Whether or not Mac Jones can become their franchise quarterback remains to be seen.
18. Washington Football Team (7-9) Washington hopes that Ryan Fitzpatrick still has a little bit of magic left in the tank, after not selecting a quarterback in the draft. Rookie Sam Cosmi should help ease some pressure on the blind side of Fitzpatrick.
17. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) Arizona should improve in the pass rush game with edge J. J. Watt coming aboard. Quarterback Kyler Murray has all the weapons around him to succeed.
16. New Orleans Saints (12-4) This might be a surprise to put the Saints this low, but hear me out. Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill are not Drew Brees. I like this team with Winston a lot more than Hill under center.
15. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) Dallas gets back quarterback Dak Prescott, which should vault them back in first place in the NFC East. Linebacker Micah Parsons should replace the production of longtime linebacker Sean Lee after his retirement.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) I fully expect the Chargers to give Kansas City a run for its money in the AFC West. Bringing in linemen Cory Linsley, Matt Feiler, and rookie Rashawn Slater should help to keep quarterback Justin Herbert on his feet.
13. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) Minnesota had a stellar draft on paper with offensive linemen Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis land at their feet. The Vikings’ defense should vastly improve.
12. Los Angeles Rams (10-6) The Rams acquisition of Matthew Stafford should give the offense a boost. With star power on both sides of the ball, the Rams should not be slept on during game days.
11. Miami Dolphins (10-6) Miami had a great draft weekend. If rookie edge Jaelan Phillips’ injury history is truly behind him, the Dolphins’ defensive line could cause havoc next season. Getting rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle also helps add another weapon to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s arsenal.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) I liked rookie running back Najee Harris being picked by the Steelers. With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likely in the final seasons of his career, the only real question mark on offense is how well the offensive line will hold up.
9. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) Quarterback Carson Wentz should have a rejuvenation of his career with the Colts. He also is surrounded with a much better receiving cast than his time in Philly.
8. Seattle Seahawks (12-4) Seattle still having Russell Wilson makes the Seahawks hard to beat. With only three draft picks, Seattle will need to rely on experience this season.
7. Tennessee Titans (11-5) Nabbing corner Caleb Fairley in the draft was a great pick. Hopefully the back issues are behind him. Derrick Henry should have the best odds of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing yards record.
6. Green Bay Packers (13-3) This ranking is purely based on Aaron Rodgers donning the green and gold. Green Bay added receiver Amari Rodgers in the draft to help out on offense. If Rodgers does retire or gets traded, the Packers have a long season ahead of them.
5. Baltimore Ravens (11-4) The addition of receivers Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman should give Baltimore a good receiving core. This should finally give quarterback Lamar Jackson some legit threats out wide.
4. Cleveland Browns (11-4) Cleveland is going to be a very tough team in 2021. Not only do they sign Jadeveon Clowney, but they also get a top prospect in linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to help on defense.
3. Buffalo Bills (13-3) Buffalo should have the best chance to unseat the Chiefs in the AFC. Rookie edge rushers Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham should boost the pass rush. The only real question mark for the Bills is whether or not running backs Devin Singletary and Zach Moss can be a formidable 1-2 punch.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) I give the Chiefs the slight edge over the Bills simply due to being a more complete team. Offensive linemen Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe were signed, Orlando Brown was traded for, and Creed Humphrey was drafted. Patrick Mahomes should once again feel confident behind this improved line.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) Tampa Bay returns all 22 starters from the 2020 NFL Season, and are the favorites to repeat. The defending Super Bowl champs drafted edge Joe Tryon, quarterback Kyle Trask, and offensive tackle Robert Hainsey with their first three picks of the draft. While there aren’t many holes on either side of the ball, the Buccaneers did get Tom Brady a rookie backup to groom.