Jan 15, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis (52) is introduced prior to the start of the 2011 AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at M

NFL Power Rankings - B&T Editor's Post-Draft Edition

Welcome to the B&T Power Rankings.  The place where we rank the teams on their record, front office actions, and overall craziness.  Expect some arbitrary explanations, some in-depth analysis, and your fair share of surprises.

Today, we bring you the Post-Draft Edition.  Can rookie potential really influence how a team is ranked? Will some teams suddenly shoot up boards?  We’ll see, but don’t be too surprised by the results.  Check my draft grades to see if they match up.  Previous rankings are in the brackets.

Hate ‘em?  Love ‘em? Agree? Disagree?  Leave it in the comments.

#1. [1] Baltimore Ravens:  You’ll still see a lot of lists putting the Giants here.  But really, if the Ravens hadn’t missed a catch in the end zone or a field goal, I honestly believe they would have hoisted the Lombardi in February.  Their free agency period was solid, and in the draft they did surprising well, especially after trading out of the first round and still landing OLB Courtney Upshaw.

#2 [3]. New England Patriots: Last time we did this list the Patriots had failed to properly address the defense. With the draft come and gone, it’s pretty obvious that Bill Belichick knows his weakness and fully intends to make a strength for this dynasty in the ’10s.

#3 [2]. New York Giants: The Giants just haven’t put together as much talent from the draft as anticipated.  I think Coughlin is happy with his team and we will see them perform better than the sum of their parts once again.  Starting some good publicity (way to go Eli on SNL).

 #4 [4].  Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy fell to the Pack…keep this in perspective of Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson still being around and the Packers won’t have to play in nearly as many shootouts in 2012.  The team added some premium talent while remaining pretty under the radar.  Brilliant move Green Bay!

#5 [6]. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The draft was the Bucs play thing.  They traded back (thank you!), nabbed some instant starters, and have had the best PR out of any team since the changed up the coaching staff.  Tampa Bay could be a contender come next Winter.

#6 [7]. St. Louis Rams: Don’t be shocked the Rams are this high.  And it isn’t just because I wanted to snub my younger brother’s favorite team (the Bears).  The Rams have added premium talent in the first two rounds with four picks (Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Brian Quick, and Isaiah Pead) and will be dominant in their division (the horrendous NFC West) and a true contender in the NFC.

#7 [5]. Chicago Bears: I still think the Bears are the team to beat in the NFC North (yes, I know the Packers play there).  The Bears added some good talent in Alshon Jeffery and Shea McClellin, but I don’t think it was enough to put them as far ahead as they were before the draft.

#8 [12]. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers bolstered their offensive line with OT Mike Adams and G David DeCastro.  With a more solid line the Steelers corrected the only thing that is limiting Big Ben Roethlisberger from being one of the top three quarterbacks in the league.  Move over Drew Brees and Tom Brady, Big Ben is going to have  hell of a year.

#9 [13].  Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons, without a first round pick, still managed to land Wisconsin center Peter Konz and a whole mess of players that will do superbly under Mike Smith and Co.  The Falcons have a had a quietly successful offseason and solidified it with the draft.

#10 [8]. Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning keeps the Broncos in the top ten.  The draft was less about getting good players than about filling holes.  DT Derek Wolfe better show some great talent because the Broncos passed over Jerel Worthy and Devon Still to take him.

#11 [14]. Detroit Lions:  Megatron will be around forever and with him will be Matt Stafford and new tackle Riley Reiff.  The Lions didn’t have a draft that makes your eyes pop, but they definitely kept themselves competitive in the very crowded NFC North.

#12 [15]. Cincinnati Bengals: What. A. Draft.  The Bengals have WR Mohamed Sanu, G Kevin Zeitler, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, and DT Devon Still all from the first three rounds.  Every one of them will make a big impact in 2012.  If the Bengals were a better team overall, they’d be in the top ten.

#13 [10]. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks really dropped the ball in the draft.  Bruce Irvin?  I’m really hoping that their talent evaluators are better than the draft day pundits.  I really like Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson though.  Seattle is looking very good heading into the new season, but I expected much more from them to solidify their place among top NFC teams.

#14 [9]. San Francisco 49ers: A bit of a tumble for Jim Harbaugh’s team, but nothing that can’t be fixed.  I hated the Niners’ draft and saw them reaching for WR AJ Jenkins in the first.  It’s a good thing they rocked free agency or they could have some serious problems in 2012.

#15 [11]. New Orleans Saints: The bad PR continues with suspended players.  Fortunately, even without many picks in the draft, the Saints still look competitive and should be able to assert some competition against the Falcons and Bucs in the NFC South.

#16 [17]. Washington Redskins: RGIII this officially in DC.  And that’s all that matters.  The rest of their draft did little to help them (including another QB in the fourth round), but I’ll trust Mike Shanahan and RGIII now that the ball’s in his hands.

 #17 [16] . Houston Texans: The Texans just didn’t do enough to fill the vacancies left in free agency.  They’ve got some talent from the draft (OLB Whitney Mercilus!), but I’m not high on how the draft fits with the rest of the offseason.

#18 [18]. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have had a great offseason.  The addition of Morris Claiborne (probably their only defensive back play maker) will do wonders for a team that has struggled to find a successful identity in recent years.

#19 [23]. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are playing some major leapfrog due to the draft, and it’s not because they got a punter (seriously, he’s a weapon).  Jacksonville received a lot of negative press for their draft class, but they have Justin Blackmon and a rejuvenated (and more clean cut) Blaine Gabbert to go with him.  This jump was well deserved.

#20 [20]. Philadelphia Eagles:  Some really good picks in the draft.  DT Fletcher Cox will be great as will De Vinny Curry.  The perennial distraction that is Vince Young is now gone, and the Eagles look poised to be truly competitive once again.

#21 [19]. New York Jets: I like the Stephen Hill pick up, and Quinton Coples could pan out and be great.  The Jets just aren’t coming off as strong as I anticipated.  Their offseason has been mediocre at best.

#22 [21]. Tennessee Titans: The strength of the Titans roster is hard to argue with.  I really do not like their pick of WR Kendall Wright though.  Head Coach Mike Munchak is still their biggest strength and has great potential in Tennessee.

#23 [30]. Cleveland Browns: I really did not like what the Cleveland Browns were doing until the draft.  If you’re a regular reader of B&T, then you know I loved what the Browns did in this draft.  Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson will lead the Browns into an era of relevance once again.  Good work Cleveland!  Good work.

#24 [24]. Buffalo Bills: The Bills have stayed relatively constant in comparison to other teams.  While it’s tough for me to admit, the franchise is on the right track and have something really special in CB Stephon Gilmore and OT Cordy Glenn.

#25 [26]. Carolina Panthers: Ok, I love the Luke Kuechly pick.  I also love the drafting of guard Amini Silatolu.  The rest of the draft seemed  little odd and out of place, but they did stick to their draft board.  During the last power ranking, I said I’d put them higher depending on how their draft went.  I think they did great with Silatolu and Kuechly, but it just wasn’t enough for them to move any higher.

#26 [22]. San Diego Chargers: The draft was used as a way to limit the Chargers being scored on and stop a shootout from occurring every game.  I just don’t think it’s enough.

#27 [27]. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe and OT Jeff Allen were great additions.  I don’t think the Chiefs will be in playoff form, but they’re moving in the right direction.

#28 [31]. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts could really do something special this year.  Grabbing Coby Fleener in the second to pair with college teammate Andrew Luck was a shrewd move.  T.Y. Hilton could learn a lot from Reggie Wayne and provide a decent target for Luck as well.

#29 [25]. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders added depth during the draft, but that won’t be enough for them to return to their early 2000s success.  Pity.

#30 [28]. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil was the highlight of the draft for the Vikes, but the rest of the drafted players are mostly high potential players that may not make a superb impact in the first year.  Judging by the Vikings inability to develop talent for a number of years, I don’t expect much from many of the players they added.

#31 [32]. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins got their man in QB Ryan Tannehill.  They also added some great protection with OT Jonathan Martin.  Having good protection for mediocre quarterback isn’t the formula for success though.

#32 [29]. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd does not suddenly make a team special.  Especially when the team has serious quarterback concerns.

 

- Luke N. Sims

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