Pro Football Focus (PFF) has quickly become one of the most well-respected NFL media outlets, especially with their advanced metrics for grading both player and team value. However, their recent NFL Power Rankings have angered some Los Angeles Rams fans, and arguably for good reason.
As it stands, the Rams currently rank 11th overall on PFF’s list — slotted just behind the San Francisco 49ers at 10 and the Dallas Cowboys at nine. Although the Rams lost a few valuable players in NFL Free Agency, this is a team that should be ranked higher.
Which Teams Belong Ahead of the Rams in NFL Power Rankings?
Not surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers top PFF’s list. Of course the team still has the GOAT under center in Tom Brady, and over the offseason, the Bucs were able to keep their starting core of players. While the team is unquestionably talented from top to bottom, I sincerely doubt the team will be gifted as many breaks as they did last season. Still, the Bucs will make plenty of noise this year, even in a stacked NFC, so their position at the atop the list is warranted.
The Cleveland Browns came in at the second spot, and this is a bit of a sore spot for Rams’ fans, but not unjustified. The Browns upgraded an already talented roster in free agency, including moves that brought former Rams defensive backs John Johnson III and Troy Hill to the roster. On paper, the Browns field an incredible defense. Not to mention, quarterback Baker Mayfield just had a bounce-back season to lead his team to their first postseason victory since 1995. Along with running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins and a potentially healthy Odell Beckham Jr, the Browns definitely have one of the most promising rosters in the entire league.
Not much time needs to be spent analyzing why the Kansas City Chiefs got slotted at the third spot. As long as Patrick Mahomes is consistently reinventing the quarterback position, the Chiefs will be included near the top of NFL Power Rankings lists for years to come. Plus, along with the recent trade with the Baltimore Ravens to net left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., the Chiefs have completely overhauled their offensive line unit. The Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens also rightfully deserve their spot in the top-10.
Now for the Questionable…
The Washington Football Team made giant strides last season and during free agency. To address their quarterback woes, the team brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team also boasts an intimidating receiving corps, now that Curtis Samuel has decided to join up with receiver Terry McLaurin. Also, the team already has one of the best offensive lines in the league. The team is also riddled with defensive line talent, featuring Chase Young and Jonathan Allen. Not to mention, a talented secondary complete with Landon Collins and Kendall Fuller. However, the Rams have an imposing defensive line of their own (Aaron Donald, anyone?) and one of the best overall cornerbacks in the league, with Jalen Ramsey. Plus, as much as we all love to love him, Fitzpatrick is no Matthew Stafford. With a complete regime change, Stafford is in prime position to take an already talented team to heights Fitzpatrick could only dream of achieving.
Fans could take issue with the 49ers being slotted at the 10 spot, but there are bigger fish to fry. Barring some type of nuclear crisis that wipes out the entire city of LA, in no way, will the Denver Broncos be a better team than the Rams this season. The Broncos are another team that had an amazing free agency. They bolstered their secondary with the signings of Ronald Darby as well as Kyle Fuller. But the Broncos don’t have a surefire answer at the quarterback position. There have already been loud rumblings in the Denver camp that they are already ready to move on from Drew Lock. The Broncos could even draft a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft at pick 9. Even though they have offensive weapons in place, with running back Melvin Gordon III, receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, not to mention a steadily-improving tight end in Noah Fant, teams need a quarterback more so than ever in today’s league.
Why the Rams Should be Higher in the PFF NFL Power Rankings
As mentioned previously, the Rams did lose some studs this offseason. But ever since the rise of the Sean McVay regime, there has usually been a strategy behind the players the Rams choose to let walk. During the 2020 offseason, many critics panned the Rams for letting edge rusher Dante Fowler walk and bringing in Leonard Floyd as his replacement. Releasing Todd Gurley II was also an unpopular move in some circles. The biggest reason PFF downgraded the Rams to the 11 spot was because of the loss of Johnson and Hill. However, opposite Ramsey, promising cornerback Darious Williams should have no problems stepping up. Also, cornerback David Long Jr. has shown flashes of strong potential. As for Johnson, safety Taylor Rapp has assumed the role of starter plenty of times. Look for safety Jordan Fuller to have a big year as well.
But even though the Rams have a new defensive coordinator in Raheem Morris, fans or even PFF shouldn’t be too worried about the team’s defense. The major problem last year could be chalked up mainly to the inconsistent play of the offense — a problem that should be corrected by leaps and bounds with Matthew Stafford at the helm. The Rams already have a decent offensive line group, not counting the future draft selections. Stafford will also have one of the most complete receiving corps he has had the luxury to throw to, with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee, etc. Plus, with the emergence of Cam Akers, defenses will have to account for many different looks that surely McVay is chomping at the bit to throw at teams.
As much respect as PFF rightfully commands, the Rams are a top-10 team in the NFL and they should be ranked as such in their NFL Power Rankings.
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