Home » NFL » NFL Power Rankings: Which teams improved the most this off-season?

NFL Power Rankings: Which teams improved the most this off-season?



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All 32 NFL teams will say they got better this off-season, and as much as we poke fun at that cliché this time of year, all 32 NFL teams are probably right.

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Most contracts are engineered to allow teams to cut bait just as players stop adding value, as evidenced by the roster attrition that takes place just before the new league year opens. Add in the fascination with tinkering shared by fans and front offices alike, and you have talent churn en masse, usually for the better. The teams looking to climb the standings (or maintain their place at the top) know the success of their transactions only matters relative to the success of their opponents’ moves—they need to beat the curve, or else they’ll end up treading water at best.

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So with free agency and the draft settled, who beat the curve this year? This off-season edition of Power Rankings sets the pecking order heading into the summer and recognizes the teams that made the most significant upgrades since the lights went down on Super Bowl LI.

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32Cleveland Browns Jersey

2016 Record: 1–15

Beat the curve. … But just barely, and largely on the strength of not messing up the Myles Garrett Jersey pick at No. 1. Garrett and Swiss army knife Jabrill Peppers Jersey can fill a few different holes in the defense, but not nearly all of them. DeShone Kizer Jersey taking in the entire 2017 campaign from the sidelines would be the Browns’ best-case scenario, and in cutting ties with Gary Barnidge Jersey Jersey Jerseys they’re showing faith in David Njoku Jersey’s NFL readiness that many draft analysts don’t share.?

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31Chicago Bears Jersey

2016 Record: 3–13

Didn’t beat the curve. Mitchell Trubisky Jersey vs. Jersey is the early favorite to be this summer’s saddest quarterback competition, but the post-Alshon Jeffrey receiving corps could end up being the ball and chain that keeps this offense from making noise, especially if Kevin White Jersey Jersey Jerseys again can’t stay healthy.?

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30San Francisco 49ers Jersey

2016 Record: 2–14

Beat the curve. The lasting question from Peter King’s must-read behind-the-scenes look at how the 49ers grabbed two of the draft’s top five defensive talents in Round 1: Was C.J. Beathard, who capped his college career with a 7-for-23, 55-yard, three-interception performance in Iowa’s blowout Outback Bowl loss, really the only quarterback Kyle Shanahan would take out of this year’s draft class??

 

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29Los Angeles Rams Jersey

2016 Record: 4–12

Didn’t beat the curve.  Los Angeles has spent a total of seven draft picks on tight ends and wide receivers in the last two drafts, and last year’s crop (Pharoh Cooper Jersey, Tyler Higbee Jersey, Temarrick Hemingway and Mike Thomas) combined for 28 catches for 228 yards. Rookie wideouts Cooper Kupp Jersey and Josh Reynolds Jersey have the talent to pass that total in one game, but if the signing of left tackle Andrew Whitworth Jersey Jersey Jersey Jerseys isn’t enough to stabilize last fall’s dreadful offensive line, Jared Goff Jersey will be too shook to get any of them the ball.?

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28Jacksonville Jaguars Jersey

2016 Record: 3–13

Beat the curve.  That O-line could still crater Blake Bortles Jersey Jersey Jerseys’s make-or-break season in Jacksonville, but by grabbing Leonard Fournette Jersey with the No. 4 pick the Jags are trying to leave no doubt their QB has been given every resource for success. Bortles may have to put the team on his shoulders anyway early on: Five of the Jaguars’ first six opponents ranked in the top half of the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt last year.?

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27New York Jets Jersey

2016 Record: 5–11

Didn’t beat the curve. This feels high, right? For the forward-thinking Jets fan, the most frustrating part of handing the starting quarterback job to Josh McCown Jersey Jersey Jersey Jerseys may be that it ensures New York won’t be the worst team in the league this year. Jordan Leggett, ArDarius Stewart Jersey and Chad Hansen are intriguing rookie targets for whoever is under center, but the Jets didn’t lack for speedy receivers even before Devin Smith Jersey tore his ACL.?

 

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26Cincinnati Bengals Jersey

2016 Record: 6-9-1

Didn’t beat the curve. After playing the Redskins to a draw in London in Week 8, the Bengals lost five games by five points or less down the stretch. That likely informed the back-to-back selections of the best playmaker available in John Ross Jersey and Joe Mixon Jersey with Cincy’s first two draft picks. Maybe there was a push from above to give the offense under Andy Dalton Jersey Jersey Jerseys one more jolt before patience runs out with Marvin Lewis, who has only posted back-to-back losing seasons once in 14 years as Bengals coach.?

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25Philadelphia Eagles Jersey

2016 Record: 7–9

Beat the curve. According to Philly.com, is one of just eight receivers since 2000 to top 60 catches and 700 yards in each of his first three seasons. It will be fascinating to see how many targets free-agent signees Jersey Jersey Jerseys and Torrey Smith Jersey siphon away from Matthews this fall, especially if he gets passed over for a contract extension ahead of the final year of his rookie deal.?

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24Baltimore Ravens Jersey

2016 Record: 8–8

Didn’t beat the curve. The inches by which broke the plane of the goal line on Christmas night turned a season of contention into a misleading three-game gap between Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the final standings. The Ravens had been creeping toward the bottom third of the league in sacks over the past few years, and Day 2 picks Tyus Bowser Jersey and Tim Williams Jersey can help turn that trend around immediately off the edge.?

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23Los Angeles Chargers Jersey

2016 Record: 5–11

Beat the curve. Gus Bradley might have been L.A.’s best acquisition of the spring—the defense might threaten top-10 numbers under the direction of the ex-Jaguars coach. The Chargers couldn’t help themselves in the first round of the draft, grabbing Mike Williams Jersey to give yet another big target, but the rest of their moves were quiet and necessary, particularly the second-day selections of interior linemen Forrest Lamp Jersey (provided his services aren’t needed at tackle) and Dan Feeney Jersey.?

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22New Orleans Saints Jersey

2016 Record: 7–9

Didn’t beat the curve. If both stay healthy, first-rounder Marshon Lattimore Jersey and third-year pro Delvin Breaux Jersey Jersey Jerseys could be New Orleans’s best cornerback tandem in a long time. Lattimore is physical enough to grow into a worthy adversary for divisional rivals like Julio Jones Jersey Jersey Jerseys and Mike Evans Jersey, and Breaux has come a long way since this gif from two years ago.

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21Denver Broncos Jersey

2016 Record: 9–7

Didn’t beat the curve. Denver was the first team to dip into the offensive tackle pool at the draft and just signed longtime Broncos fan Jamaal Charles Jersey Jersey Jerseys, so whichever QB wins the starti— wait, longtime Broncos fan Jamaal Charles Jersey Jersey Jerseys? Actually, you know what, this makes sense, carry on.

 

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20Carolina Panthers Jersey

2016 Record: 6–10

Didn’t beat the curve. Christian McCaffrey Jersey is more runner than receiver, Curtis Samuel Jersey is more receiver than runner, and together they should allow Mike Shula to cook up some weird backfield combinations down the road. Undersized fifth-round pick Corn Elder and veteran Captain Munnerlyn Jersey Jersey Jersey Jerseys were the only significant additions to the cornerback group, a sign of faith in the three players Dave Gettleman drafted there last year in the wake of the Josh Norman Jersey Jersey Jerseys breakup.?

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19Buffalo Bills Jersey

2016 Record: 7–9

Beat the curve. The Bills may very well be a mess, but with a strong draft in the books, Tyrod Taylor Jersey Jersey Jerseys under center and new coach Sean McDermott calling the shots—both on the field and up and down the roster, at least until the team finds a replacement for ex-GM Doug Whaley—they could easily be a 9–7, playoff-contending mess. There are wins to be had on that schedule before December, when Buffalo crams in two games each against the Patriots and Dolphins.?

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18Minnesota Vikings Jersey

2016 Record: 8–8

Beat the curve. Declining Teddy Bridgewater Jersey Jersey Jerseys’s fifth-year option this week is mostly just a sign of how far he still has to go in his recovery: His contract, including the option, tolls to 2018 if he spends at least the first six games of this year on the PUP list. The addition of Latavius Murray Jersey and Dalvin Cook Jersey (and the subtraction of LT Matt Kalil Jersey Jersey Jersey Jerseys) could make ’s life a little easier, to say nothing of having more than a week of preseason prep to learn the offense.?

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17Arizona Cardinals Jersey

2016 Record: 7-8-1

Didn’t beat the curve. By passing on a quarterback in the draft, Arizona is betting on Carson Palmer Jersey Jersey Jerseys’s ability to age gracefully, although at 37 last year he posted his lowest yards per attempt (7.1) since 2012, his final season as a Raider. Speedy linebacker Haason Reddick Jersey and hyperactive safety Budda Baker Jersey are early-round coups for Arizona’s aggressive defense.?

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16Washington Redskins Jersey

2016 Record: 8-7-1

Didn’t beat the curve. Even if Terrelle Pryor Jersey Jersey can’t keep this up or Josh Doctson Jersey can’t stay healthy in his sophomore season, the Redskins should take heart in Jamison Crowder Jersey. Washington’s offense was at its best last season when Kirk Cousins Jersey was funneling touches to Crowder and Jordan Reed Jersey in the slot.?

 

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15Houston Texans Jersey

2016 Record: 9–7

Beat the curve. The Brock Osweiler Jersey trade showed the Texans were done being passive about their standing within the upper mediocrity of the AFC, and they came out of the first three rounds with three productive college stars in Deshaun Watson Jersey, D’Onta Foreman and , all three of which should make them better immediately. If Watson wins the starting job coming out of the preseason, he should have the inside track to Rookie of the Year.?

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14Indianapolis Colts Jersey

2016 Record: 8–8

Beat the curve. Indy spent the first two days of the draft on defense, stopping ballhawking safety Malik Hooker Jersey’s slide into the middle of Round 1. On the other side of the ball, don’t sleep on Kamar Aiken Jersey Jersey Jerseys, who signed a pretty modest one-year, $2.6 million deal after falling off the radar in Baltimore but could vault the crowded field vying for No. 2 duties behind T.Y. Hilton Jersey Jersey Jerseys.?

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13Seattle Seahawks Jersey

2016 Record: 10-5-1

Didn’t beat the curve. As long as bargain signing Luke Joeckel Jersey Jersey Jersey Jerseys gets back in time from knee surgery, the Seahawks could be starting a pair of tackles who played guard last season in Week 1. Probably not ideal, but it’d be an upgrade over forcing George Fant Jersey to man to blind side again while he continues to learn football on the fly.?

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12Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jersey

2016 Record: 9–7

Beat the curve. Allow me to be the only person on the internet to tell you to hold your horses on the coronation of O.J. Howard. He caught just seven touchdowns in four years at Alabama; you have to go back 10 years to find a draft where the first tight end off the board scored less often in college. On the other hand, that tight end was Greg Olsen Jersey Jersey Jerseys, who found the end zone six times in three years at Miami. Either way, Tampa Bay was wise to load Jameis Winston Jersey up with options this spring outside of their athletic first-round pick.?

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11Detroit Lions Jersey

2016 Record: 9–7

Beat the curve. Detroit got Matthew Stafford Jersey Jersey Jerseys a new right side of the offensive line in free agency (RT Ricky Wagner Jersey Jersey Jerseys and RG T.J. Lang Jersey Jersey Jerseys) to extend his MVP contention window, then got shutdown corner Darius Slay Jersey Jerseys a pair of quick players to help match his physicality at the second level of the defense with the first two picks of the draft (LB Jarrad Davis Jersey and CB Teez Tabor Jersey). If Aaron Rodgers Jersey Jersey Jerseys hadn’t established permanent residence in their heads, it’d be safe to assume the Lions should only improve on last season’s 6-seed.?

 

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10Miami Dolphins Jersey

2016 Record: 10–6

Didn’t beat the curve. Miami was the last team in the draft to spend a pick on an offensive player (athletic guard Isaac Asiata went No. 164), a sign that the organization believes the midseason run Ryan Tannehill Jersey Jersey Jerseys was on before his left knee injury (69.1% completion rate, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 7–1 record—with a big, big assist from Jay Ajayi Jersey Jersey Jerseys) was a glimpse of something sustainable under the direction of Adam Gase.?

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9Tennessee Titans Jersey

2016 Record: 9–7

Beat the curve. ’s season-cratering fractured fibula and the Texans’ multi-game stay in the playoffs has overshadowed the fact that the Titans were the most talented team in the AFC South by the end of last season. Nos. 1 and 15 on the FBS’s all-time receiving yards leaderboard, and Taywan Taylor Jersey, will be waiting for him when he returns to full health.?

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8Kansas City Chiefs Jersey

2016 Record: 12–4

Beat the curve. If the Chiefs have any interest in consolidating their backfield workload, they made the right call in spending a third-round pick on Toledo RB Kareem Hunt Jersey, who surpassed 300 touches and came into his own as a passing game weapon last year. If he can wrest the starting role from Spencer Ware Jersey Jersey Jerseys, who failed to top 100 total yards in a game from November on, the Chiefs’ offense might look a little less busy.?

 

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7New York Giants Jersey

2016 Record: 11–5

Didn’t beat the curve. Signing Brandon Marshall Jersey Jersey, drafting Evan Engram Jersey and handing the running game over to should make New York’s offense consistently fun. But will the defense still have Dallas’s number without Johnathan Hankins Jersey Jersey Jersey Jerseys in the middle? Lucky for us, NBC and the NFL have no sense of imagination when it comes to scheduling, so that question will be answered on Sunday Night Football to cap Week 1.?

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6Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey

2016 Record: 11–5

Didn’t beat the curve. With no major holes to fill, the Steelers paid Antonio Brown Jersey (four-year extension) and Le’Veon Bell (franchise tag), and put his nebulous retirement plans on hold. Their rookie class could provide the depth (at some positions they were already pretty strong in) to widen the gap in the AFC North, but will Pittsburgh’s Big Three ever all make it to January in one piece??