2024 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Draft Edition

Many publications have already posted their post-draft power rankings. I decided to wait to see if any teams signed more notable free agents after they learned what holes they still needed to fill. Well…pretty much nothing came of that. Sorry. But we’re here now! I won’t have “previous rankings” listed because these are my first 2024 NFL power rankings. Last year’s record will be stated for reference though. Teams with more than 17 games have their playoff results included, and I also state how far they advanced in the postseason. Don’t be alarmed if your team is ranked very differently than you expect. Plenty will change as we move ahead!

32. New England Patriots (4-13)

How weird is it to see the Patriots in dead last? Times have changed in Foxborough, with Jerod Mayo replacing Bill Belichick as coach. Tom Brady still hasn’t been adequately replaced, and it’s now Drake Maye’s turn to try. The early returns aren’t promising. Without Belichick, the defense likely won’t be better than the sum of its’ parts as in years past, and those parts aren’t amazing. The offensive line and skill positions still look weak as well. Even the special teams unit is entering a new era without Matthew Slater. This year could be the worst in most Pats fans’ lifetimes.

31. Washington Commanders (4-13)

For some reason, Washington has been a trendy pick to rapidly improve. A lot of that certainly related to their #2 overall pick, QB Jayden Daniels. I’m just not quite sold. This team was 4-13, and it will likely take more than one offseason to turn things around. To be fair, they made several strong additions, including HC Dan Quinn, C Tyler Biadasz, and OT Nick Allegretti, and LB Frankie Luvu. I think the offensive line and secondary needed more help, and the Cowboys and Eagles aren’t going anywhere. I’m expecting marginal improvement, not a Texans-style rebound.

30. Denver Broncos (8-9)

Denver finally pulled the plug. Russell Wilson never fit with this team, and the Broncos bit the bullet and released him, absorbing a massive cap hit. That really hamstrung the team in free agency and even led them to trade younger pieces such as WR Jerry Jeudy. Until the cap clears up, this will remain a team in transition. Rookie Bo Nix is likely to start at QB, and he’s a pro-ready player. What does he have to work with though? The defense lost talent, WR Courtland Sutton is returning from injury, and he’s basically the only real weapon. HC Sean Payton knows the truth: the Broncos are in rebuilding mode.

29. Carolina Panthers (2-15)

Good news: the Panthers are out of last place. Bad news: they’ve only moved up 3 spots. Owner David Tepper has really sabotaged this team, but if he can stick to a plan for once, they might be on the right track. I really like the hire of Dave Canales as coach. He revived Baker Mayfield’s career, so he might be the best chance for Bryce Young to develop. New players such as WR Xavier Legette and DE Jadeveon Clowney will help, and last year’s defense was quietly competent. Young will determine how far this team goes, but we likely aren’t looking at an overnight fix.

28. New York Giants (6-11)

Few teams are in “prove-it” mode as a collective group quite like the Giants. HC Brian Daboll wants to show that his playoff run two years ago wasn’t a fluke. QB Daniel Jones is entering the last guaranteed year of his deal while coming off an ACL tear. His goal is to prove that he’s still the team’s QB of the future. Rookie receiver Malik Nabers and trade acquisition OLB Brian Burns are massive upgrades, but the Achilles heel, the offensive line, remains a liability. If Jones can’t perform or stay healthy, it’ll be another long season for the G-Men.

27. Arizona Cardinals (4-13)

The Cardinals appear to be treading water. They added multiple players in free agency, but most of them were poor values. By far the best move made by GM Monti Ossenfort was declining offers for the #4 pick and selecting WR Marvin Harrison Jr. Arizona started playing better at the end of last year once Kyler Murray returned from injury. Trusting the diminutive QB to stay healthy or consistent is not a wise approach, however. I’m still looking for major secondary upgrades and perhaps more at LB. The three other teams in the NFC West all seem better to varying degrees, so the Cardinals are stuck at the bottom.

26. Minnesota Vikings (7-10)

Last season, Minnesota learned what life would be like without Kirk Cousins. They let him walk anyway and selected JJ McCarthy 10th overall to replace him. As this ranking suggests, I’m not a believer. In fact, I’d move the Vikings up a few spots if they named Sam Darnold the starter. I very much liked the addition of RB Aaron Jones though. Defensively, the Vikings lost DE Danielle Hunter but brought in DE Jonathan Greenard and OLB Andrew Van Ginkel. They also drafted OLB Dallas Turner. In typical Minnesota fashion, the secondary looks poised to bring this team down…if McCarthy doesn’t do so first.

25. Tennessee Titans (6-11)

Credit Titans ownership for realizing that this team had grown stale. However, they fired HC Mike Vrabel, and he wasn’t the problem. New HC Bill Callahan clearly doesn’t want to rebuild. Tennessee added veterans as if they were Super Bowl contenders, augmenting the CB position with Chidobe Awuzie and L’Jarius Sneed, signing WR Calvin Ridley and RB Tony Pollard, and drafting OT JC Latham #7 overall. Those players were sorely needed, but the loss of RB Derrick Henry stings, and the team’s future is all about 2nd-year QB Will Levis. How he performs will dictate how the Titans proceed for the next half decade.

24. Los Angeles Chargers (5-12)

Honestly, I’m giving LA the Jim Harbaugh benefit of the doubt. The coach always seems to win wherever he is, but this will be a tall task. He has QB Justin Herbert, yes, but former coach Brandon Staley left the team in bad shape otherwise. Gone are WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, yet the Chargers took a tackle (Joe Alt) with the 5th pick in the draft. Maybe this was also Staley’s fault, but the defense never seems to play up to its talent level. The AFC West is fairly easy aside from the behemoth that is Kansas City, so the Chargers will have chances. Their history suggests that they’ll squander them.

23. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)

If not for New England, we’d be saying that Seattle underwent the biggest change. Longtime HC Pete Carroll was forced out, and Mike Macdonald is in. Former OC Shane Waldron, the man who revived Geno Smith, is now a Bear. For two straight years, Seattle faded down the stretch. These changes were made to put an end to that trend, but I wonder if the Seahawks will bottom out before moving forward once again. Talent is available, but a lot of it is young and in need of development. That portends to better days ahead, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Seahawks miss the playoffs in 2024.

22. Las Vegas Raiders (8-9)

Does retaining an interim HC lead to success? That’s what owner Mark Davis is hoping happens with Antonio Pierce, who couldn’t help but be better than Josh McDaniels was in the second half of last season. Gardner Minshew will be competing with incumbent Aidan O’Connell for the starting QB job, and Minshew has the higher floor. Defensively, it’s all on the front 4 again, but Christian Wilkins will now be helping star DE Maxx Crosby. The Raiders are comfortably out of the bottom tier of the league, but they might also be just as far from the top tier of teams.

21. New Orleans Saints (9-8)

If anyone knows the Saints’ long-term strategy, please fill me in. New Orleans has an aging core that was left over after the end of the Drew Brees era, and the team seems determined to maximize it. However, the result of the cap tricks played by GM Mickey Loomis to kick salary charges down the road has been mediocrity. The Saints were passed last year by Tampa, and now the Falcons are probably in charge of the NFC South. Until the Saints do a full teardown and reset their cap, they’ll top out as playoff contenders. Super Bowls are not in their immediate future.

20. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

Year 2 with Anthony Richardson can’t go any worse than the first. Though Richardson showed flashes, especially on the ground, he was injured twice and missed the vast majority of the season with a shoulder injury. Gardner Minshew nearly led the Colts to the playoffs, but Richardson has more upside. He remains an incredibly raw player, so he might not immediately be an upgrade. One play will though, and that’s rookie DE Laiatu Latu. The UCLA star is a pro-ready QB hunter who will add a new dynamic element to the defense. The Colts have a wide range of outcomes, and I’m taking a conservative view.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-9; L Divisional Round)

Let’s give HC Todd Bowles and QB Baker Mayfield their due: this team was floundering, and those two basically willed Tampa to a division crown. The Buccaneers overachieved and barely squeaked into the playoffs. They even beat a floundering Eagles team in the Wild Card round. I suspect they won’t catch lightning in a bottle again though. Atlanta is the favorite to win the division, and the Bucs barely got past Carolina in week 18. Tampa added few players due to cap constraints, focusing on re-signing their own guys. Flirting with .500 is a likely scenario for TB, and that’s a pretty respectable result.

18. Cleveland Browns (11-7; L Wild Card Round)

I don’t believe I dropped any squad further from its final 2023 ranking. This should be such a good team. The overall roster is stellar, but one thing is holding them back. It’s the same issue that has plagued the Browns for decades: QB play. Deshaun Watson will return as the starter, and he has been nowhere close to his Houston self. The Browns did better with Joe Flacco. Add in the fact that RB Nick Chubb is returning from a gruesome knee injury, and you can see why I think Cleveland is going to regress in 2024. The AFC North is just too tough.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

Following last season’s meltdown, the Jaguars are hoping for a fresh start. That’s what they’ll get with a new season obviously, but the division is stronger than it was at the start of 2023. Houston and Indianapolis both improved more than anticipated, and Tennessee made some moves to ensure they don’t simply roll over. Protecting QB Trevor Lawrence still looks like it’s going to be a struggle, and he seems to play much worse when he’s hurt. Jacksonville is playing with fire whenever he gets hit. This is a good team but not a great one, and in the AFC, that’s not enough to make the playoffs.

16. Chicago Bears (7-10)

Out with Justin Fields, in with Caleb Williams. That was one of the bigger dominoes to fall across the league, and Chicago absolutely made the right decision. Bringing in Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze as new WRs was also a great idea. Rarely have I seen a 1st-round rookie QB enter the league and slot into such a great situation. The Bears were quietly playing really well to end the 2023 season, especially after trading for DE Montez Sweat. Given the top-heavy nature of the NFC, I can see the Bears reaching the postseason. I think they’re still another couple of players in the trenches away from truly competing though.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-8; L Wild Card Round)

HC Mike Tomlin has gone 17 straight seasons without a losing record. He wasn’t about to let his QB room ruin that like they nearly did the past two years. To that end, Pittsburgh went out and acquired both Russell Wilson (the likely starter) and Justin Fields. Either one should be an upgrade over Kenny Pickett. The defense is stout as usual, and the offensive line really started to improve in the second half of the season. Rookie Troy Fautanu will make it even better. Wilson and Fields have flaws, but I think the former in particular is good enough to let the Steelers compete with anyone through complementary football.

14. Buffalo Bills (12-7; L Divisional Round)

Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who has doubts about Buffalo. I know they keep winning the AFC East, but they continue to look like they’re a team that has peaked. The Bills have no WRs except for rookie Keon Coleman, as Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis are out the door. Buffalo lost a lot of talent during free agency, especially in the secondary. QB Josh Allen can still make jaw-dropping plays, but he did commit a lot of turnovers last year. Their competition for the division crown is stiffer than ever; don’t surprise if another team claims the throne.

13. Green Bay Packers (10-9; L Divisional Round)

I’ll admit that I undervalued this team heading into 2023. I’ve learned my lesson, but I’m still not ready to include them among the elites. The young wideouts, especially Jayden Reed, developed before our eyes, and RB Josh Jacobs has been imported to replace the oft-injured (but better) Aaron Jones. If he can put together another good season, QB Jordan Love is in line for a huge extension. He needs to hit the easier throws, but there’s no denying his big-play ability. Don’t sleep on new DC Jeff Hafley either. The former Boston College coach might put the team’s defensive talent to better use than ever before.

12. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Kirk Cousins. That’s all you really need to say to explain Atlanta’s meteoric rise up the rankings. The Falcons were 7-10 last year, but they came close to stealing the division despite Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke playing QB. My theory is that with someone as good as Cousins under center, along with the league’s easy schedule due to their division, Atlanta could instantly leap from third to first in the NFC South. In the long term, I have serious questions about this team’s mismanagement (Michael Penix anyone?). Here and now though, the Falcons look ready to compete.

11. New York Jets (7-10)

We’ve got our second consecutive team vaulting up the rankings. Just not quite as high as last year. We’ve seen this show before: put New York’s elite defense, WR Garrett Wilson, and RB Breece Hall with Aaron Rodgers and watch the Jets soar. The defense did its part last year, but the offensive line collapsed, and Rodgers lasted 4 snaps before tearing his Achilles. NYJ tried to make sure that won’t happen again, with OTs Olumuyiwa Fashanu (draft), Morgan Moses and Tyron Smith (free agency) and G John Simpson all joining, plus WR Mike Williams for good measure. All looks good now…on paper.

10. Miami Dolphins (11-7; L Wild Card Round)

You may be surprised to see Miami remain this high after their playoff flameout and free agency losses. The Dolphins lost a ton of pieces, including G Robert Hunt, DT Christian Wilkins, and LBs Andrew Van Ginkel and Jerome Baker. That’s without considering the fact that 2 edge rushers (Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb) are coming off serious injuries. Consider this trust in HC Mike McDaniel, QB Tua Tagovailoa, and all the speed on offense to keep this team on the upswing. Vic Fangio also didn’t fit as the DC, so Anthony Weaver might be able to improve that unit. The Fins remain scary if healthy.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (11-7; L Wild Card Round)

Following a 10-1 start that I said was a mirage, Philly melted down in spectacular fashion, losing the NFC East and flaming out of the playoffs in just one game. QB Jalen Hurts took a step backward as a passer, and the secondary couldn’t stop anyone. The Tush Push could only take them so far, and C Jason Kelce retired. So why am I now high on them? This team has been remade. GM Howie Roseman landed two DB steals in rounds 1 and 2 of the draft (Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper Dejean, respectively) and imposed two new coordinators (OC Kellen Moore and DC Vic Fangio). That could all pay dividends immediately.

8. Houston Texans (11-8; L Divisional Round)

This is one team I won’t apologize for doubting too much. NOBODY had the Texans as a .500 team, let alone a division winner that would possess both rookies of the year and even win a playoff game. QB CJ Stroud stole the show, lifting the offense from the doldrums to a must-see unit. On defense, Houston landed a big fish in DE Danielle Hunter, who should pair with DROY Will Anderson Jr to form a dangerous pass rushing duo. Rookie HC DeMeco Ryans did a fantastic job with this squad, and he has a chance to take it to new heights in year two.

7. Los Angeles Rams (10-8; L Wild Card Round)

As long as QB Matthew Stafford and HC Sean McVay are around, I’ll continue to believe in the Rams. It helps that Puka Nacua emerged as one of the NFL’s best receivers as a 5th-round rookie, forming a formidable duo with Cooper Kupp. Still, it’s hard to overstate the loss of DT Aaron Donald to retirement. The future 1st-ballot Hall of Famer was a game wrecker, and the Rams know it: they spent multiple draft picks to try and replace him. So far, the youth movement on defense is working. Perhaps the team will have more depth this year, which would make them even more dangerous.

6. Dallas Cowboys (12-6; L Wild Card Round)

Dallas is either going to take the next step with their current core or fall flat on their faces. You can’t tell me that they got better on paper. No team was less active in free agency because of QB Dak Prescott and his exorbitant $55.445M cap number. Although the Cowboys’ clunker against Green Bay in the Wild Card round was embarrassing (particularly because of the defense), they still have some of the best talent in the NFL. WR CeeDee Lamb, OLB Micah Parsons, and CB DaRon Bland are still there, and CB Trevon Diggs is returning from injury. Throw in new OC Brian Schottenheimer, and this team can make some noise.

5. Baltimore Ravens (14-5; L Conference Championship)

Chances are that if someone isn’t picking the Chiefs to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, they’re picking the Ravens. I’ve long been an outlier in that regard. As talented as Baltimore is, that mostly guarantees them 10+ wins in the regular season. QB Lamar Jackson has repeatedly come up short in the playoffs, particularly when forced to throw. Adding RB Derrick Henry is great, but I’m worried about how many offensive linemen the Ravens lost. Jackson’s deal cost Baltimore some good players, so I don’t expect them to be quite as good as they were last year. They’re still excellent, but not flawless.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (9-8)

The AFC North is truly brutal. Cincy went 9-8 last year…and finished last. They did that without QB Joe Burrow for a chunk of the season though, and he’ll be back to start the 2024 campaign. The Bengals also attacked their biggest weakness—the secondary—by bringing back S Vonn Bell and stealing S Geno Stone from the rival Ravens. At their peak, the Bengals can be the AFC’s most dangerous team; Burrow is the only active QB to have beaten Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs. Talent is not an issue whatsoever, and the offensive line receives veteran Trent Brown and rookie Amarius Mims. These could be the best Bengals yet.

3. San Francisco 49ers (14-6; L Super Bowl)

The poor Niners keep getting so close but coming up just short. They just lost their second Super Bowl to the Chiefs in 4 years, but they remain plenty talented to get over the hump. I still believe in them, though one other team (see below) has closed the gap. HC Kyle Shanahan is still an offensive genius, and the core nucleus of this team remains intact. Key defenders such as S Talanoa Hufanga will be back from injury, too. My only concerns are the gaping hole at RT (that position arguably cost SF the Super Bowl) and K Jake Moody. Otherwise, the 49ers are built to compete for a title once again.

2. Detroit Lions (14-6; L Conference Championship)

I bought into the Lions hype last year because it all looked so real. This time, I’m taking it a step further, with this ranking basically declaring them the best team in the NFC. Every major piece is returning, and Detroit continues to have the league’s best offensive line. That’s the secret sauce that makes the offense lethal. Defensively, there’s still work to do, but Terrion Arnold was a major steal in the first round of the draft. He fills the team’s biggest weakness and makes the Lions as complete as anyone in the NFL. Few are doubting Detroit anymore, and for good reason. We aren’t looking at the “same old Lions“.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (15-6; W Super Bowl)

As always, the defending champions receive the #1 ranking by default to start the new league year unless and until they do something worthy of losing it. Saying goodbye to CB L’Jarius Sneed hurt but that didn’t move the needle enough. KC brought DT Chris Jones back, signed WR Marquise Brown, and drafted the fastest man to ever run at the Combine (WR Xavier Worthy). I also loved their 2nd-round selection of OT Kingsley Suamataia to replace Donovan Smith. Of course, QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce, and HC Andy Reid are still there. For as long as that’s true, Super Bowls are possible.

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