In 83 days, the 2019 NFL season kicks off! As teams are about to start training camp in a few weeks, we will take a look at the current state of the league. There have been many trades, cuts, and signings this offseason, as there are every year. However, this season, prominent familiar faces are in new places. OBJ, Le’Veon, Antonio Brown… let’s pray the remainder of this offseason is full of healthy practices and limited injuries.
Let’s dive into the pre-training camp NFL power rankings.
32.) Miami Dolphins
Brian Flores accepted the position to become the Dolphins new head coach. While there are many glaring holes on the team, they selected versatile defensive lineman Christian Wilkins in the first round and traded for Josh Rosen. Rosen has all the potential in the world, but will the team that he’s surrounded with be good enough for them to stay competitive, or will Miami be #TankingForTua by midseason?
31.) Washington Redskins
With Alex Smith still recovering from his brutal injury, the Redskins traded for Case Keenum. It was rumored that they would trade up draft day to select Dwayne Haskins, but with a little luck, he fell right into their lap. They added fellow Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin and physical freak Montez Sweat in the draft. They also added the elusive running back Bryce Love. Jay Gruden acknowledged that if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, then he will be gone after this season. Will he be able to lead them to a playoff berth? More importantly, a playoff victory? They haven’t won in the postseason since 2005.
30.) Arizona Cardinals
Poor Josh Rosen. He fell in the draft two seasons ago, and now got shipped off as Kyler Murray came to town. Kliff Kingsbury is the new head coach, and the offense is bound to light up the league. How far can Kyler take the team in his first season? During the offseason, the Cards added several players on both sides of the ball. Patrick Peterson is suspended for the first six games of the year after testing positive for PEDs, leaving Robert Alford and rookie Byron Murphy as the potential starting corners. Kyler and the offense will likely have to put up a lot of points to stay competitive this season.
29.) Cincinnati Bengals
Sean McVay made his friends a lot of money this offseason. Zac Taylor, previously the Rams quarterback coach, became the new head coach of the Bengals. They drafted Ryan Finley in the fourth round, but seem to be rolling the dice on Dalton at least one more season. Cincy went out and got arguably one of the best offensive linemen in the draft, in Jonah Williams. Joe Mixon came out and said the team will surprise people this year. Although a highly competitive division, AFC North looks like it could be up for grabs. Will the Bengals seize the opportunity?
28.) New York Giants
Daniel Jones at number six overall in the draft? I get the fuss, but if he is your guy, go get him. Jones might not jump off the tape as an elite prospect, but he has all the tools Shurmur’s signal caller needs to have to be successful. A very different situation, but Case Keenum helped lead the Vikings to a NFC Championship berth under Shurmur. The athleticism Jones brings to the table will bode well for the Giants. How long until he surpasses Eli as the starter? Shurmur already came out and said you never know.
27.) New York Jets
Le’Veon Bell found his new home, but it has been rumored that Gase was unhappy with the decision to pay that much to a running back. Gase was also unhappy with the decision to back up the Brinks truck for C.J. Mosley. So, Jet’s GM Mike Maccagnan was fired after the draft. Why are these teams waiting until after the draft and free agency to fire a prominent position in the franchise? Who knows. Joe Douglas was recently named the new GM and there has been some great buzz surrounding him. Can Gase help take Darnold to the next level?
26.) Buffalo Bills
The Bills have quietly been putting together a solid squad. They may not be the “sexiest” team on paper, but man do they look like a well-rounded one. The league let Ed Oliver fall to the ninth pick. Taking him at that slot was a no-brainer. They re-tooled the offensive line in the draft and free agency, and they added some new toys for Josh Allen to play with. They may not win the division until Brady and Bill retire, but they should be competitive.
25.) Detroit Lions
The Lions picked a tight end in the top-10 of the NFL Draft. “That’s a bold move Cotton, let’s see how this pays off.” On a real note, T.J. Hockenson is a beast and can do everything and more that you want a tight end to do. Blount is on the streets and it is #KerryonJohnsonSZN. C.J. Anderson was signed, but Kerryon is just too good not to have the ball in his hands. Darrell Bevell is the new offensive coordinator and the man loves to run the rock. Look for a different type of offense for the Lions this season.
24.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston has had a roller coaster of a career thus far. Lucky for him, Bruce Arians may be the perfect marriage. Arians came in and the team is already looking better than they have in previous years. While adding Suh and canning McCoy is basically a wash, Devin White looks to be an anchor in this defense for the next decade. Out of their eight selections in the draft, six of them were defensive players. Arians has put together a heck of a coaching staff. Now, will these Bucs be the talk of the town again but fail to rise to the occasion, or will Arians help them finally reach the next level?
23.) Denver Broncos
Case Keenum out, Joe Flacco in. Elway believes that Flacco is just hitting his prime…yikes. At least he put together one of the best drafts. Taking Fant in the first, followed by Risner and Lock in back-to-back picks in the second round. Then, they added Dre’Mont Jones and Justin Hollins in the third. They nailed the draft, but how long before Flacco loses his job to another rookie? Vic Fangio is now the head coach, so look for the defense to get back to their old ways of being one of the best in the league.
22.) Oakland Raiders
It is official. The Raiders have been selected for “Hard Knocks.” It is bound to be must-see TV, as Oakland added Antonio Brown, Richie Incognito and Vontaze Burfict this offseason. Oakland brought in some high character guys in the draft, but decided to go the opposite way in free agency. Time will tell if the marriage between Carr and Gruden works out, but as long as Tom Cable is on staff, the offensive line will be porous. Carr hasn’t been right since breaking his leg, and not doing a great job of addressing the offensive line is setting them up for failure.
21.) San Fransisco 49ers
Will Jimmy Garoppolo be able to stay healthy the full season? That is going to be the most telling thing for the 49ers this year. The Niners had a tremendous draft, snagging Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd with their first three picks. Shanahan is an offensive genius and Hurd can be used in a variety of roles. They also traded for defensive lineman Dee Ford. This should be a much different looking team in the 2019 season.
20.) Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton underwent offseason shoulder surgery and has now worked on refining his mechanics, which the coaching staff is raving about. The Panthers finally have some tremendous options for Newton to sling the ball to, and they added arguably the best pass rusher in the draft, in Brian Burns. They lost Thomas Davis, but added Gerald McCoy and Bruce Irvin. The Panthers are in a tough division, but have made the proper moves to get right back in the mix of things.
19.) Jacksonville Jaguars
The end of an era. Blake Bortles was released and Nick Foles is now the man in Jacksonville. Foles reunites with former assistant John DeFilippo. The Jags got some tremendous value, when Josh Allen and Jawaan Taylor fell to them in the draft. Adding Allen to an already great defense and Taylor to be the anchor of the offensive line should bode well for the franchise going forward. Taylor fell due to concerns of a knee injury. Only time will tell if it is serious or not.
18.) Cleveland Browns
Wow, they really pulled off a trade for OBJ. Cleveland has all the makings of a great team on paper, but only beat one team with a winning record last season. Baker has all the proper tools to succeed on offense, and he will surely be able to cook up a recipe for success, with Kitchens being retained and becoming the new head coach. They got awesome value, getting Greedy in the second and Mack Wilson in the fifth, but time will tell if those players fell due to good reason.
17.) Baltimore Ravens
He gone. Joe Flacco is out and Lamar Jackson is the new face of the franchise. The Ravens added Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin, Justice Hill and Mark Ingram this offseason. Their offensive system will be changing, but only in a way that benefits Jackson’s skill set. Out of everyone that has come into the league, Jackson is the most like Mike Vick. Baltimore has lost some key starters, but has done an awesome job re-tooling. Oh, and they added arguably one of the best safeties in the league to an already stout secondary, in Earl Thomas.
16.) Tennessee Titans
Matt LaFleur out, Arthur Smith promoted. This will be the first time since he has been drafted that Mariota will actually have some type of familiarity. This will be his fifth offensive coordinator since entering the league. Tennessee traded for Ryan Tannehill, so things could get interesting if Mariota is inconsistent, as he was last season. They added A.J. Brown to an already intriguing wide receiver room, while also deciding the injured Jeffery Simmons was worth the wait, taking him in the first round.
15.) Dallas Cowboys
Guess who’s back? Jason Witten. Many people are happy with his choice to come out of retirement. No offense, Jason, but you are a much better player than you are on the mic. Dallas added defensive tackle Trysten Hill in the draft, and couldn’t help themselves getting another offensive lineman, in Connor McGovern. Randy Gregory is suspended, again, but they did lock up their best pass rusher, D-Law. The Cowboys will be running a new offense under OC Kellen Moore, and their defense continues to get better each year that Kris Richard is calling the shots.
14.) Pittsburgh Steelers
No AB, no Bell, no problem? The Steelers were without Bell all of last season, but now have lost their best offensive playmaker. JuJu slides into the WR1 role, while James Washington and Donte Moncrief will try to help fill the void that AB left behind. Benny Snell was added during the draft, and word is out the team will be a full on running-back-by-committee. Pittsburgh also added an intriguing pair of defensive players in the draft, in Devin Bush and Justin Layne. Will the loss of both Bell and AB slow the offense down?
13.) Chicago Bears
The Bears lost the brains of their defense, when Vic Fangio left to accept the head coaching position in Denver. They brought in former head coach Chuck Pagano to fill the void. The Bears have done a tremendous job surrounding Trubisky with more than enough weapons. Losing Vic hurts, but the real X-factor is how Trubisky will be able to lead this team. Will they be in another Cutler scenario, or will Trubisky help lead them to the promised land?
12.) Seattle Seahawks
Seattle went into the draft only having four draft picks. They ended it making 11 selections. Doug Baldwin retired this offseason, as he has been dealing with several injuries. Seattle primarily went heavy along the defense in the draft, but added a monster of a prospect in D.K. Metcalf for Wilson to sling the ball to. Even with the loss of virtually the entire “Legion of Boom,” Seattle has shown they will put up a fight and be a competitive team with whatever personnel they have.
11.) Minnnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins is in year two of his fully guaranteed contract, leaving a lot left to be desired. The defense didn’t live up to expectations last year and Cook was still dealing with the lingering effects of his ACL injury. Through the first four rounds of the draft, Minnesota went heavily for offensive players, with a little of both throughout the rest of the draft. Kevin Stefanski became the interim offensive coordinator after the firing of John DeFilippo last season and was retained in the same role this season. Cook looks primed for a big year, if the offensive line can improve.
10.) Houston Texans
The Texans decided to fire their general manager after the draft. If you look at their draft recap, you’ll see why. Some experts graded Tytus Howard, their first-round pick, as someone that could go day three. Watson was sacked the most times out of any quarterback last season. The Texans have a solid corps on defense and one of the best bright young offenses in the league. They are in a tough division, but will surely be competitive as long as they can keep Watson upright.
9.) Green Bay Packers
The Pack didn’t necessarily make the “sexy” picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the front office had an agenda and they stuck to it. Gary is a physical freak and Savage, this will add more swagger and toughness to the secondary. While Green Bay didn’t need to overhaul their defense, they did add several key starters throughout free agency and the draft. The offense will be changing under new head coach Matt LaFleur, who has a background with not only Sean McVay, but Kyle Shanahan as well. This offense could be better than it’s ever been, barring any injuries.
8.) Philadelphia Eagles
DJax is back. The Eagles swapped late round picks with Tampa to get him back in the building. Basically, a sack of potatoes. The Eagles offense looks tremendous on paper, while their defense still has some suspect spots in their secondary. In the draft, they added a stud offensive lineman and a couple of toys for newly-extended quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz just signed a four-year extension, making him the Eagles signal caller through the 2024 season.
7.) Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta was decimated with injuries along the offense and defense last season. They solidified the offensive line in free agency and the draft, selecting Chris Lindstrom with their first pick, then trading back to select Kaleb McGary. Atlanta is all in on their offensive line. The coaching staff went through an overhaul, firing the OC, DC, special teams coach, etc. Dirk Koetter will now run the offense, again, while Quinn is back calling the defense. Last time Quinn ran the defense, the Falcons went to the Super Bowl.
6.) Los Angeles Chargers
On paper, the Chargers defense was already legit. After the draft, it looks downright nasty. They will have one of the best defenses in the league, barring an injury. Hunter Henry looks to be back at 100% after tearing his ACL early last season. The offense won’t look too much different this year, rather, it will be healthier. The Chargers have had a quiet offseason, but haven’t needed to do much to fill the necessary holes along their team.
5.) Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley has been one of the biggest question marks of the offseason. Enter Darrell Henderson. The Rams traded up to snag Henderson in the third and it is rumored that McVay absolutely loves him. Whether Gurley can give it a go or not, this Rams squad looks to be on a path to a full on running back-by-committee. The offensive line lost their starting center and left guard. Time will tell if it hinders the offense.
4.) Indianapolis Colts
After a full season on the shelf, Andrew Luck made his return. Indy went from having one of the worst offensive lines to having one of the best. Seven of their first eight picks in the draft were defensive players. They added receiver Parris Campbell and will be getting Deion Cain back at some point in time this season. Luck is going to have a plethora of weapons and this defense is only going to get better. Oh, and they have by far the most money left to spend.
3.) New Orleans Saints
Welp, another heartbreaking end to the season for the Saints. Max Unger announced his retirement, leaving the Saints without the anchor of their offensive line. Unger had started 63-of-64 games during his tenure with the team. While they didn’t have many draft picks, they made them count, getting themselves another offensive lineman and adding a stud safety in the fourth round. The Saints play in one of the toughest divisions in football and will have their hands full trying to stay atop the division.
2.) New England Patriots
The reining, defending, undisputed Super Bowl champions keep making the rest of the league look like they are playing checkers, while they play chess. Sony Michel had offseason surgery and the Pats drafted some playmakers for Brady. Jamie Collins is returning and it appears Bill Belichick will be calling the defense again this year. How many more seasons will the dynasty last?
1.) Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes. What a season the kid had. Kansas City has a star and it honestly doesn’t matter who you have on offense around him, he will elevate their level of play. The Tyreek Hill drama appears to be over, as he is no longer under investigation. The releasing of Justin Houston and a trade involving Dee Ford makes the Chiefs defense a whole lot different on paper. Oh, and they added the honey badger and a couple of toys for Mahomes in the draft, as well as some solid defensive players, Khalen Saunders and Juan Thornhill. This will be a much different team on paper, but a fun one at that.
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