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Pre-draft NFL power rankings

The 2018 NFL Draft is just hours away when all 32 teams will attempt to better their rosters by adding some of last season’s top college talents. But before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the first team up on the clock, we thought it only appropriate to get into some NFL power rankings.

Obviously, some franchises are in much better shape than others. Taking all of the 2018 free agency action into consideration as well as each team’s current roster of players, all 32 franchises are ranked from worst to best. Be prepared for a few surprises starting with the team that currently sits dead last in our book.

32. Miami Dolphins

Midway through free agency, the Dolphins did the unthinkable and signed the much-maligned quarterback Brock Osweiler. That right there reveals the team’s current state of mind. Ahead of the draft, the Dolphins have already said that Ryan Tannehill will start. News flash — he has not played since December of 2016. A rookie quarterback could be in the cards, but assuming they go elsewhere by pick No. 11, it will not be a top prospect. We are also not sure about some offseason moves that included signing Danny Amendola and Frank Gore, along with the giveaways of Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh. Good luck with the draft, guys.

31. Buffalo Bills

The Bills are attempting to shimmy up the draft ladder to snag a top quarterback. But if that backfires, the thought of A.J. McCarron starting with interception king Nathan Peterman as his backup is downright frightening. This means running back LeSean McCoy is going to be leaned upon heavily with an uninspiring Chris Ivory as his backup and a depleted offensive line in front of him. All the while, we cannot feel too thrilled about wideouts Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones, who did little to impress last season. Outside of a quarterback, the Bills need to hit some bullseyes in the draft.

30. New York Jets

Continuing in the AFC East, the Jets currently lack pizzazz with the aging Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater as quarterbacks. This is why the team gave up a ridiculous bounty to move up only three spots, from No. 6 to No. 3, to draft a top quarterback. Aside from this, we do like the addition of running back Isaiah Crowell, but are not fans of the Jets bringing the oft-injured Thomas Rawls on board. On the receiver front, Robby Anderson could be one run-in with the law away from a possible suspension. Signing stud corner Trumaine Johnson remains the Jets’ brightest free agency move.

29. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck

We have to rank the Colts down several notches because they cannot be sure that quarterback Andrew Luck will be ready for Week 1. Much of this team’s success has been tied to Luck being healthy and performing at 100 percent. Spending bank on tight end Eric Ebron has many scratching their heads, while in the upcoming draft, the Colts have needs across the board. The team also must beef up an offensive line that allowed Jacoby Brissett to take 52 sacks last year. Provided Luck returns, he should not have to endure the same torture.

28. Arizona Cardinals

This is the NFC West team that looks the most desperate approaching the draft. The Cardinals can only hope quarterback Sam Bradford stays healthy all year. But this has not happened since 2012. Mike Glennon at backup is about as unappealing as leftover fish. Though, the Cardinals did well with adding wideout Brice Butler to join Larry Fitzgerald, who will give it one more go. David Johnson returning healthy is a huge plus too. Though, releasing defensive back Tyrann Mathieu to afford Bradford was a major fail. Thankfully, the Cardinals are seriously considering moving up to draft a quarterback.

27. Cleveland Browns

For once, the Browns don’t qualify for last place here. As it stands, the team has yet to foolishly give up either their first or fourth-overall pick which gives them a pre-draft boost. Earning high grades in free agency, the Browns upgraded by wisely trading for Tyrod Taylor and Landry. Though, making Landry nearly the highest-paid receiver was way over the top. Carlos Hyde is a nice complement at running back, as is Chris Hubbard at right tackle. Let’s just hope for once the Browns do not blow the upcoming draft.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Not surprisingly, the Bucs are the team in the NFC South we have the least faith in. Quarterback Jameis Winston took a step back, rather than forward last year, throwing for only 19 touchdowns in 13 games. And that was with the addition of DeSean Jackson. As for a run game, veteran back Jacquizz Rodgers, at the ripe age of 32, is penciled in as starter. On the positive side, the Bucs added defensive ends Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul to bolster last year’s horrendous defense. Running backs and defensive backs should be on the Buccaneers’ shopping list come draft day.

25. Chicago Bears

The Bears are a squad that could be a sleeper in a competitive NFC North. We like the change of head coach to Matt Nagy, for starters. Coming from the Kansas City Chiefs as an offensive coordinator, we should expect Nagy to work wonders with quarterback Mitch Trubisky in his sophomore season. The signing of wide receiver Allen Robinson is a great asset, though failing to re-sign Cameron Meredith was an epic blunder. Well-rounded on offense, the Bears would be prudent to deepen their secondary and also target the linebacker position in the draft.

24. Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco

The Ravens went all-in to snag wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the hope that he helps quarterback Joe Flacco rediscover his mojo. That is a move that must pay off, otherwise Flacco’s days are numbered. The thought of the Ravens rolling with Robert Griffin III at any point is not comforting. Either way, hitting up the draft for another wideout should be in the plans. The bright spots for the Ravens remain field-goal ace, Justin Tucker and their fearsome defense that earned a league-high 34 takeaways last year.

23. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals, after missing the playoffs two seasons in a row, deserve their spot here. The one productive thing they did this offseason was score in a trade for offensive tackle Cordy Glenn. He will make an immediate impact on the Bengals offensive line, behind which quarterback Andy Dalton floundered immensely last year. Minus cornerback Adam Jones, the Bengals need to focus on their secondary and possibly draft a rookie quarterback after letting McCarron go.

22. Washington Redskins

There are a lot of unknowns for the Redskins approaching the draft. Washington has faith in new quarterback Alex Smith, but we need to see how he responds to a different offense. Jamison Crowder and Rob Kelley aren’t exactly as dynamic as Smith’s former Chief’s teammates Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. And, tight end Vernon Davis is not exactly Travis Kelce. On defense, the draft should be the Redskins’ best friend after the team surrendered 24.3 points per game last year.

21. New York Giants

The Giants are a team that should be a whole lot better than last year’s three wins. Hopefully, a healthy return of Odell Beckham Jr. makes a ton of difference. Though, he has not physically been cleared to practice with his team just yet. Through the draft, the Giants desperately need to add a running back whether it be Saquon Barkley at No. 2 or someone else. Quarterback Eli Manning needs to rebound and stop looking like he’s playing on borrowed time. The no-brainer signing of left tackle Nate Solder should help out here.

20. Tennessee Titans

We would like to think that quarterback Marcus Mariota snaps back to his old self under new head coach, Mike Vrabel. To help, the Titans should focus on finding another wide receiver and some pass rushers in the draft. We do like that the Titans sought help for running back Derrick Henry when they signed the pass-catching Dion Lewis. The Titans also chose to reunite cornerback Malcolm Butler with his former Patriots teammate, Ryan Logan.

19. Detroit Lions

The Lions signed new head coach Matt Patricia with the intent of nudging themselves beyond another failed Wild Card playoff run. After that, franchise-tagging defensive end Ziggy Ansah was a must, as well as adding (on the cheap) bruising running back, LeGarrette Blount. Though, the Lions could still benefit by selecting a rookie defensive end and running back in the draft. Lastly, new tight end Luke Willson is an intriguing addition for quarterback Matthew Stafford’s gun-slinging passing game.

18. Oakland Raiders

NFL Oakland Raiders Jon Gruden

Also showcasing a new head coach, the Raiders broke the bank to bring back Jon Gruden. Since, the Raiders have been ultra active in free agency, signing linebacker Tahir Whitehead and cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Even more bold was getting rid of Michael Crabtree to sign the older Jordy Nelson. He’ll work alongside wideout Amari Cooper, who was utterly horrific last year. The team also committed to Marshawn Lynch as the starting running back. But at the same time, Oakland signed the embattled Doug Martin. The Raiders would be wise to still draft a running back as well as target some help for their defensive line.

17. Denver Broncos

The Broncos appear to be secure with Case Keenum, who is a major upgrade over last season’s quarterback chaos. Keenum is primed for success with veteran talents, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. But, free agency saw the Broncos trade away cornerback Aqib Talib and release running back C.J. Anderson — who rushed for his highest yards to date in 2017. Though, the trade for safety Su’a Cravens earned an “A” grade. With the pick No. 5 in the draft, the Broncos might see fit to move down in exchange for a nice-sized farm.

16. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have been ridding themselves of several key defenders, which has some fans in a panic. Though, they are still a force as long as franchise quarterback Russell Wilson is healthy. The team also added some help for Wilson by signing guard D.J. Fluker. But losing tight ends Jimmy Graham and Luke Wilson will force the Seahawks to target that position in the draft. At running back, the Seahawks would be smart to hit the draft there as well. It should also be a no-brainer for the Seahawks to look to replace their now-depleted secondary and defensive line.

15. Dallas Cowboys

The nice thing for the Cowboys this offseason is they do not need to worry about a looming suspension for running back Ezekiel Elliott. Instead, the Cowboys need to focus on getting quarterback Dak Prescott more help at the receiver position. Allen Hurns inherits Dez Bryant’s starting role after the ‘Boys shockingly released their veteran wideout. Speaking of help, the Cowboys wisely signed right tackle Cameron Fleming to come to Prescott’s rescue. On defense, the Cowboys would benefit by enhancing their defensive end and linebacker positions.

14. Kansas City Chiefs

An exciting new era will begin with second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes under center. He inherits a stunning offense consisting of stars like Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and the newly signed Sammy Watkins. On defense, acquiring cornerback Kendall Fuller helps replace the loss of Marcus Peters. Plus, the Chiefs get safety Eric Berry back. Through the draft, it would not hurt to hunt down a backup outside of Chad Henne and Matt McGloin. Worth noting is the Chiefs do not pick until No. 54 in Round 2.

13. San Francisco 49ers

This time last offseason, there was not much hope for a 49ers team that took a gamble on Brian Hoyer. That experiment failed as expected, which eventually led to the brilliant trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The world is in love with Garoppolo, who produced a 5-0 starting record. A return of Pierre Garcon in combination with Marquise Goodwin and newly added Jerick McKinnon are all pluses. The sly pickup of cornerback Richard Sherman is also a fan-favorite. Though adding a rookie cornerback as well as more pass-catchers for Garoppolo are not terrible draft ideas.

12. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have had a quiet offseason. An upgrade the team did make was to bring in right guard Brandon Fusco. In the losses category, the Falcons let wide receiver Taylor Gabriel walk. Though, the talents of Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman should never be underestimated. Adding a rookie tight end for quarterback Matt Ryan could not hurt. On defense, the Falcons fell short at times last year. Additions through the draft should include guys to bolster Atlanta’s defensive line.

11. Houston Texans

This is a team that should easily double last year’s four wins. The Texans will start fresh by getting quarterback Deshaun Watson, defensive end J.J. Watt back and linebacker Whitney Mercilus back. This is huge. Plus, through free agency, the Texans scored by signing defensive backs, Aaron Colvin and Tyrann Mathieu. Helping Watson on offense will be DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, who began to break out in 2017. But, where Watson really needs more strength is on the offensive line. The Texans’ first draft pick comes in the third round.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

Making the playoffs for the first time since 2007, the Jags deserve a top-10 ranking. Quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Leonard Fournette will benefit greatly with the free agent signing of guard Andrew Norwell. Though, on-the-fence moves included letting both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns walk while going out on a limb to snag wideout Donte Moncrief. On defense, the Jags are loaded across the board. Though, adding a corner to replace the aforementioned Colvin and a quarterback to keep Bortles on his toes would be ideal.

9. Carolina Panthers

We might have the Panthers ranked a tad higher if they had a legitimate No. 1 receiver. But, the team is not in horrible position with Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith on hand. We would like to see Curtis Samuel develop as well, and to see the Panthers target a receiver early in the draft. Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Cam Newton easily make for a dynamic run game. Defensively, the Panthers nailed it by signing tackle Dontari Poe. Through the draft, offensive line enhancements are critical.

8. Green Bay Packers

The Packers have been pretty active in free agency making bold moves they hope will pay dividends. New on board are defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and tight end Jimmy Graham, both of whom have hopefully not passed their expiration dates. The latter was signed in concert with the Packers dumping Jordy Nelson. The loss of Nelson and some coaching changes have quarterback Aaron Rodgers feeling very frustrated with his team. But at least he will return healthy, which is the same for his offensive linemen. Regarding the draft, the Packers have major needs to fill in their secondary.

7. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are the only non-2017 playoff team being ranked from here on out. Quarterback Philip Rivers is nicely armed across all levels with top talent at receiver, running back and tight end. Though, a better solution at tackle would make life easier. The team would also benefit from adding rookie quarterback depth behind Geno Smith, just in case. A defense featuring pass-rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram would only shine more after adding some more help in the middle. As things currently stand, the Chargers should already be banking on a postseason berth.

6. Los Angeles Rams

Keeping L.A. trending, the Rams have been very impressive in free agency. Boldly, they acquired powerhouse cornerbacks, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters as well as All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. These guys make for a firecracker addition to the Rams’ roster that hopefully won’t backfire. On offense, new wideout Brandin Cooks will look to keep quarterback Jared Goff slinging the pigskin with the best of them. The Rams do not have a pick in the upcoming draft until No. 87 in Round 3.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

The “Killer Bees” boast one off the best offenses in the NFL. Though, working out long-term deal with running back Le’Veon Bell — the sooner the better — would be ideal. Between Bell, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is loaded with awesome playmakers. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers were smart to sign safety Morgan Burnett. But, they must address their linebacker needs after losing Ryan Shazier. Circling back to the Bell situation, it would not hurt for the Steelers to triple down and add some running back depth behind James Conner.

4. Minnesota Vikings

As these rankings count down, the Vikings should continue to have tremendous success changing gears from Keenum to Kirk Cousins. He joins an offense that should be on course to improve on its 23.9 points per tilt last year. The healthy return of Dalvin Cook is exciting, too. Though, in keeping Cousins and Cook protected, offensive line enhancements are a must. Defensively, there is not much to complain about after signing tackle Sheldon Richardson. Snagging a couple of defensive backs in the draft would only sweeten the pot.

3. New England Patriots

It is difficult to rank the Pats at No. 1 after they got schooled by the Eagles in Super Bowl 52, and because of the team’s losses in free agency. But, quarterback Tom Brady remains the pillar of stability on an offense he always makes work, and tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced he’s coming back, too. There’s plenty of work to be done to make up for the departures of Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and Nate Solder. But a healthy comeback of Julian Edelman is a beautiful thing. On defense, the Pats have several needs. But, all eyes will be watching to see if New England moves up to draft Brady’s heir.

2. New Orleans Saints

After their playoff run last season, we are high on the Saints approaching the draft. Currently, the team is well stocked behind quarterback Drew Brees on offense with Michael Thomas and the incredible running back combo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Wide receiver Cameron Meredith and tight end Benjamin Watson make for nice compliments here. Looking ahead, the Saints’ young defense should only improve. Next up, the Saints have eight draft picks they can use to address loose ends.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

It only seems appropriate that this year’s Super Bowl champions rank No. 1 ahead of the draft. Quarterback Carson Wentz should return healthy and the team secured the best backup in the league, Nick Foles, with an incentive-paid new deal. Beyond that, the Eagles remain loaded with some awesome playmakers at wide receiver, running back and tight end. Defensively, the Eagles gained tackle Haloti Ngata and defensive end, Michael Bennett. The Eagles draft at No. 32 overall. Then they do not pick again until No. 126.