The NFL Draft has come and gone. Teams have spent the past few months attempting to build, rebuild, or retool their rosters, depending on the cash they had to spend and the state of their roster at the start of it all. We’re heading into a desolate time without much football to occupy our busy minds. And we’re in a time where fans from likely 25+ franchises have legitimate hopes of seeing their favorite team hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
But that’s not the reality. While we all want to believe we won’t be living in a weekly state of disappointment come September, it will be just so for many fanbases across the NFL. A lot can happen between now and then, and there are always surprise performers every season. But as of now, the post-draft NFL Power Rankings look like this.
Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings: Tier 5 | It Would Take a Miniature Miracle
The three rosters below all have fatal flaws in some way, shape, or form. Whether it be the defensive depth chart or a lack of polish at the most important position in professional sports, these three teams have a long way to go if they want to be playoff contenders in January.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are the quarterbacks in the building. Even though the Buccaneers still field Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the outside, it’s hard to imagine their offense being on par with the unit they fielded with Tom Brady a season ago.
It’s still a bit early to completely bury Baker Mayfield, but given the circumstances of his injury, rehab, and situation in Carolina, it takes some imagination to see how he returns to his 2020 self.
31) Arizona Cardinals
Although there’s a decent chance that Kyler Murray will be able to play most of the 2023 NFL season even after tearing his ACL and meniscus in December, no two bodies are the same, and each player’s recovery process is different.
Additionally, the Cardinals’ roster is not currently in a position to succeed unless Murray is at 100% health and able to move and shake defenders in the same way he did before his injury. While the offensive depth chart is far from a travesty, the defense has a very long way to go. And with an entirely new (and unproven) coaching staff coming in, it’s likely the Cardinals need some time to progress in their new environment.
30) Atlanta Falcons
Arthur Smith’s zigging while the rest of the NFL zags may be his superpower. While the rest of the league is spreading out more and more, Smith would probably rather bring the wishbone back and run nothing but buck sweeps and play-action.
The offensive skill positions are solid, and the offensive line fits neatly into Smith’s scheme. Atlanta’s season will ultimately come down to the development of Desmond Ridder. But this wouldn’t be the first time I underestimated one of Smith’s units.
29) Los Angeles Rams
You can’t take away their Super Bowl. However, winning it is likely the reason they’re in this position.
One look at the Rams’ roster will tell you they’re in a full-on rebuild. Realistically, that rebuild probably didn’t have to start for another year or two. However, with the goal accomplished, it was probably time to cut loose and start over. Yet, with Aaron Donald and Sean McVay likely on the way out in the next year or two, the steep decline on the roster is a bittersweet ending.
Tier 4 | There Is a Path but It’s Dimly Lit
28) Houston Texans
The Houston Texans certainly improved their roster this offseason, but they still have a ways to go before they’re considered a true contender. Unless C.J. Stroud really hits the ground running, it’s unlikely we see the offense and defense complement one another enough to win double-digit games. Houston still needs more talent and depth on the edge, and they absolutely need Derek Stingley Jr. to take the next step.
27) Tennessee Titans
Listen, this wouldn’t be the first time I grossly underestimated the Mike Vrabel-led Tennessee Titans. However, their offensive line is such a hodgepodge of mediocrity that it’s tough to imagine their ground-and-pound formula having consistent success. The Titans will need to lean on outstanding defensive performance, and Tennessee has struggled mightily to keep their defensive talent on the field over the past two seasons.
I hope that I’m wrong, though. Because Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Harold Landry III, and Kevin Byard are some of my favorite defensive players in the NFL.
26) Las Vegas Raiders
It feels as though there is about 75% of a contender brewing in Las Vegas. The jury is still out on Josh McDaniels as a head coach, but his offensive mind is unquestioned, particularly as a run-game architect.
And while Las Vegas has reinforced the interior and edge with Byron Young and Tyree Wilson, respectively, Patrick Graham’s defense will deploy hopes and dreams in their pursuit of covering the AFC West WRs they’ll face six times next season.
The safety tandem isn’t awful, but it would have behooved them to address CB during FA or the NFL Draft so they could put Nate Hobbs back in a position conducive to the success he found as a rookie.
25) Green Bay Packers
Until we see Jordan Love on the football field for an extended period of time, it’s difficult to be too excited about the Packers. While adding Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Tucker Kraft proves the Packers are finally at least trying to field enough weapons to get a realistic look at Love, counting on rookies to produce is a foolish endeavor.
Seeing another season of Joe Barry’s defense probably doesn’t fill Green Bay fans with much hope on that side of the ball, either.
24) Denver Broncos
None of the moves Denver made in the offseason matter if Sean Payton can’t figure out how to tread water with Russell Wilson. Throw the thought of Seattle’s Wilson out the window. While it’s never a certainty that he’ll never get back to that point, it’s incredibly unlikely that we ever see that player again.
The Broncos are also on their third consecutive new defensive coordinator. Vance Joseph’s defense won’t look the same as Ejiro Evero’s, and there’s a chance it’s simply not as sound with the personnel given. So even if the offense improves, it’s unlikely that Denver’s defense can replicate what they achieved for most of 2022.
23) Indianapolis Colts
Am I potentially too high on the Indianapolis Colts in 2023? I most likely am. But I believe the floor with Anthony Richardson at QB is a lot higher than many believe. Justin Fields is and has always been a cleaner pure passer than Richardson, but the situation surrounding him in Chicago was a travesty compared to Richardson in Indianapolis.
Richardson’s legs paired with Jonathan Taylor provides four legs worth of 20-plus-yard touchdown runs left and right. An explosive rushing attack like that is an incredibly dangerous prospect for defenses. The Colts’ OL could still stand to improve, but they have enough on both sides of the ball to be competitive even while Richardson grows as a passer.
22) Chicago Bears
The Bears look like a completely new football team offensively, but that defensive depth chart is still very much a work in progress. We thought they’d spend like bandits after a bank robbery, but while they definitely made moves, they were far more reserved than expected. Chicago currently has $30.7 million in effective cap space, which is over $10 million more than the next-closest team.
The Bears may not be competitors in 2023, but they’ve built the infrastructure necessary to get a legitimate feel for Justin Fields’ potential, which was the absolute bare minimum for this season.
Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings: Tier 3 | The Bones Are Good
This is where things get tricky. As it stands, there are over 20 teams that could legitimately be playoff-worthy by the end of the 2023 campaign. A 17-game season is a small sample, and with the nature of the game being so violent, injuries can play a huge part in a team’s seasonal outcome. Each team in Tier 3 has a clear path to the dance.
21) Washington Commanders
Sam Howell is going to get every opportunity to start for the Commanders in 2023, but Jacoby Brissett is coming off his best season as a pro with the Cleveland Browns. In fact, if it weren’t for the Browns’ poor defensive output, he would have had them competing for a playoff spot.
The Commanders’ defense finally figured it out a season ago after years of expectations, and they added two DBs in the draft to bring a bit more explosiveness and versatility to the back end. The offensive depth chart is solid in most spots, making Washington’s outlook nearly entirely QB-dependent next season.
20) New England Patriots
The Patriots’ offense should be better than a season ago by default. Bill Belichick’s decision to hand the offensive reins over to Matt Patricia and Joe Judge will remain one of the league’s great mysteries for years to come. The question remains how much better can it become, and can the Patriots’ defense continue to produce ridiculous results over the long run?
19) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots have six Super Bowl victories since the turn of the century, but no organization boasts the sort of continuity and overall consistency as the Steelers. They are simply allergic to underachieving. That is their organizational superpower, and Mike Tomlin is at the forefront.
MORE: NFL Draft Grades 2023
Pittsburgh made some excellent moves during the NFL Draft to address some of their more pressing needs. In the end, their success will come down to what kind of upside they can find with Kenny Pickett.
18) Cleveland Browns
The Browns corrected their mistake from a season ago. They have righted their wrong and decided that fielding defensive tackles who can play football at an NFL starter level is, in fact, important.
Adding Cedric Tillman alongside Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore is a fun trio of WRs, and the offensive line and rushing attack should remain one of the better units in the league. They simply need Deshaun Watson to show the world he’s the player on the field that we saw in Houston.
17) Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota won an incredibly flukey 13 games a season ago, but that doesn’t mean that it came out of nowhere. Winning all those close games isn’t a sustainable model, but the roster itself looks strong on paper.
Adding Jordan Addison to complement Justin Jefferson is good news for Kirk Cousins. Meanwhile, the defense should be talented enough to keep the team competitive in the NFC North.
16) Carolina Panthers
What can the rookie QB show us? How quickly can Jonathan Mingo grasp the playbook and clean up his route running? Will Terrace Marshall Jr. ever round into form? Can DJ Chark stay healthy for 17 games?
The Panthers’ playoff contention will come down to exactly how efficient their offense can be. It’s asking a lot of the No. 1 pick, but that’s why you draft the guy, right?
15) Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are always one of the most exciting teams in football every offseason. There is something about the powder blue and sunny California skies that get the people going.
But adding Kellen Moore and Quentin Johnston to the offensive firepower certainly helps. The Chargers also added to the defense’s front seven, which was a problem for the team a season ago.
Tier 2 | The Potential Playoff Field
14) New Orleans Saints
The Saints’ roster may be aging at certain positions, but they’re ready to compete in what looks to be an underwhelming NFC South. The Panthers are likely right on their heels, but New Orleans’ defense is a bit more well-rounded, and their passing attack should be much improved with Derek Carr under center alongside a finally healthy Michael Thomas.
13) New York Giants
I have liked nearly every move the Giants have made over the past year or so, and the NFL Draft was the next step in their evolution. They needed to add a deep threat, and they did exactly that with Jalin Hyatt.
Additionally, the Giants absolutely needed another press cornerback, and Deonte Banks fits that need like a glove. John Michael Schmitz should be a plus starter at center immediately. If the Giants’ defense can marginally improve and the offense can find some more explosiveness, they should once again be competitive in the playoff picture.
12) Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks and Giants surprised everyone a season ago. That won’t be the case any longer, especially after seeing how well Geno Smith played in 2022.
Adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet to the mix certainly shouldn’t hurt Seattle’s offense. Meanwhile, the Seahawks made big moves to reshape the way their defense will look in 2023, adding Devon Witherspoon as the second half of an unbelievable CB tandem.
11) Detroit Lions
The Lions pulled the ol’ switcheroo on us in the 2023 NFL Draft. Brian Branch was almost universally loved in the media, but was had by Detroit with the 45th pick in the draft.
Additionally, a team that had spent the past two seasons building along the trenches and at high-value positions gave value a middle finger, drafting a RB at 12, a LB at 18, and then a TE at 34. But there’s little doubt that they drafted good players, making it interesting to see how things shake out. Adding Hendon Hooker to develop behind Jared Goff is icing on the cake for a team that crushed free agency while already having a ton of franchise momentum.
10) Baltimore Ravens
Speaking of momentum, things looked ugly in Baltimore for a long time. However, just before the NFL Draft kicked off, they announced a deal with Lamar Jackson, who now will make more money than any other QB per season in NFL history. He also secured the second-highest practical guaranteed total in league history, behind only Watson.
A healthy and motivated Lamar Jackson is still arguably the most dangerous player on any given football field, and the assets they’ve spent trying to address their offensive firepower gives us hope that Baltimore can rebound in 2023.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a force to be reckoned with offensively. They caught fire toward the back end of 2022 and added Calvin Ridley to the mix along with Tank Bigsby in the NFL Draft.
If Anton Harrison and Walker Little can hold down the fort until Cam Robinson returns from his suspension of undisclosed length, this offense should be one of the most efficient in football. Their ceiling will come down to their ability to grow defensively off a strong finish in 2022.
8) Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are in a weird spot. They’re likely one of the best 10 teams in the NFL, yet they’re likely also the third-best team in their own division. But maybe Miami’s offense is so efficient that it doesn’t matter.
Maybe Vic Fangio can get this defense up to a more respectable level, because they sure have spent the offseason addressing it. However, the Jets already had a talented offense and one of the league’s best defenses, and they added Aaron Rodgers to make it so the QB position was the Achilles heel of the team.
7) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have had a very solid offseason, but solid won’t get the job done when they’re staring at the Thanos-like giant that is Howie Roseman. Adding Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore was outstanding, and seeing them finally address the middle of the defense was a breath of fresh air. But for every step Dallas took forward, Philadelphia found a way to take three.
6) San Francisco 49ers
Until we get clarity on Brock Purdy’s shoulder, Trey Lance’s development, or Sam Darnold’s Incredibles villain face, it’s hard to peg the 49ers as one of the league’s elite teams, even if they’re incredibly exciting on both sides of the ball. Steve Wilks is a strong defensive coordinator, but the unit could still see a net loss in production from DeMeco Ryans, who was truly an inspirational defensive play-caller and teacher.
5) New York Jets
Could the Jets trade for Rodgers fail in absolutely spectacular fashion? Absolutely. We’ve seen that story before with a former Packers Hall of Fame QB in New York. But there’s simply way too much talent up and down this football team not to be incredibly excited about their possibilities.
Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings: Tier 1 | Elite Teams
4) Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills remain one of the most talented teams in the NFL. Adding Dalton Kincaid gives them a weapon in the slot that could be used as a mismatch in 12 personnel groupings, and the addition of O’Cyrus Torrence adds a physical presence to the offensive line.
Kaiir Elam’s progress on the outside will be critical to Buffalo’s defensive upside. Returning Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde should provide a calming sensation for Bills Mafia everywhere worried about defending the Jets and Dolphins wide receivers.
3) Cincinnati Bengals
I was told that Bengals fans were upset with the Jordan Battle selection, and that seems silly to me. While the long-term solution at right tackle isn’t on the roster, Jonah Williams takes away from it being such a pressing need that they needed to throw a dart at a draft prospect there.
The Bengals must contend with the Chiefs, Bills, Dolphins, Jets, and Jaguars passing attacks in the AFC. They have to be able to cover! Adding DJ Turner at 60 felt like a steal, and while Battle will likely never be a Pro Bowl-caliber player, he has the skill set to be an immediate impact starter. For the 95th pick in the draft, that seems good!
2) Philadelphia Eagles
Listen, I’m not sure what kind of deal Howie Roseman made or who he made it with, but whatever he has to do in return, it was worth it. Having Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith fall into his lap is salt in the wound for every other GM in the NFL already looking at an uphill battle for being regarded as the best in the league.
He really looked at the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs defense and said “I want them all.” And it will likely create one of the most dominant NFL units in the league.
1) Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes. Andy Reid. Enough said.