2023 NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs, Eagles still on top after draft
Power Rankings: Where do 49ers stand after draft? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
NFL fans can breathe.
Since last summer, the action has been non-stop in the football world. From training camp to the preseason, regular season, playoffs, free agency and draft, there’s little time to rest. But the calendar is finally open with the 2023 NFL Draft in the books.
With Aaron Rodgers traded to the Jets and Lamar Jackson re-signed by the Ravens, it’s a perfect time to see how the league stacks up before the NFL schedule release in a dozen or so days.
What? The show must go on ... and it will.
Here’s where all 32 teams stand as the "quiet period" of the NFL offseason begins:
1. Kansas City Chiefs: The defending Super Bowl champions stand atop the league until further notice. Even though they lost some key free agents (Orlando Brown Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster), they still have Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. That’s all that matters.
2. Philadelphia Eagles: Howie Roseman continues to play chess. The Eagles executed a brilliant draft, adding two top-tier defensive line prospects from Georgia (Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith). Philly also extended Jalen Hurts and traded for D’Andre Swift. Until further notice, the NFC runs through Lincoln Financial Field.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: After stealing Brown from the Chiefs, Duke Tobin addressed several weaknesses in the draft. In the first round, the Bengals got a flexible pass-rusher in Myles Murphy. Cincinnati then added to its secondary with the speedy DJ Turner and Alabama’s Jordan Battle. Joe Burrow’s squad only got stronger this offseason.
4. Buffalo Bills: It feels like the Bills have been forgotten after their disappointing postseason loss. But make no mistake, Buffalo loaded up this offseason. In the draft, the Bills picked the top tight end in Dalton Kincaid, a highly-touted guard in O’Cyrus Torrence and a much-needed linebacker in Dorian Williams after losing Tremaine Edmunds.
5. San Francisco 49ers: Will Brock Purdy be healthy for Week 1? Is Trey Lance going to be traded? Could Sam Darnold really play? Quarterback is the only question surrounding San Francisco, which has a loaded roster even after not picking in the first or second round.
6. Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones and Co. made their splashes in the trade market with Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks. Then, in the draft, they shored up the trenches. Michigan DT Mazi Smith is an athletic freak and Luke Schoonmaker gives them another tight end option after losing Dalton Schultz. In a weak NFC, Dallas should be right there with the top contenders.
7. Baltimore Ravens: Only one thing matters after a long offseason: Jackson is locked in. By re-signing the former MVP, signing Odell Beckham Jr., drafting Zay Flowers in the first round and hiring a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, the Ravens are primed to improve a unit that was just average in 2022.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Last season was perfect for the Jaguars – Doug Pederson changed the culture, Trevor Lawrence proved he’s a rising star and most of their free-agent signings paid off. Now, the expectations have arrived. The Jags went offense with their first three draft picks, adding a tackle (Anton Harrison), tight end (Brenton Strange) and running back (Tank Bigsby).
9. Los Angeles Chargers: Ah, the darlings of every offseason. The Chargers hired a new offensive coordinator (Kellen Moore) after their playoff collapse but kept the roster mostly intact. In the draft, L.A. added another big receiving weapon (Quentin Johnston). This squad has all the pieces to compete, though it remains to be seen if they can finally stop “Charger-ing.”
10. New York Jets: The Aaron Rodgers saga is over. Now, the Jets can move forward and focus on football. While Rodgers wasn’t quite himself last year, there’s a reasonable expectation that he’ll be reinvigorated in a new situation. The defense should be elite again in 2023, especially after drafting Will McDonald IV in the first round.
11. Seattle Seahawks: For the second straight year, John Schneider and Pete Carroll nailed the draft. They added cornerback Devon Witherspoon and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round as the Russell Wilson trade continued to pay dividends. The NFC continues to get weaker, putting Seattle in a prime position to make the playoffs again under Geno Smith.
12. Detroit Lions: When’s the last time Detroit entered the season as NFC North favorites? The Packers finally don’t have a Hall of Fame quarterback, the Vikings lost several key contributors and the Bears are still rebuilding. Detroit didn’t get great positional value with its first two picks, but it left the draft with four guys who could be immediate starters (Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch), plus a potential QB of the future (Hendon Hooker).
13. Miami Dolphins: With just four draft picks, Miami wasn’t able to add much young talent this week. But the roster remains well-stocked, with Jalen Ramsey being added to a 9-8 team. The Dolphins’ season all comes down to Tua Tagovailoa’s health.
14. New York Giants: If last year proved anything, it’s that Brian Daboll will have his team ready to go. The Giants addressed several weaknesses in the draft, grabbing a cornerback (Deonte Banks), a potential starting center (John Michael Schmitz) and a wide receiver (Jalin Hyatt).
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin has to be thrilled with this offseason. The offensive line was retooled with free agent Isaac Seumalo and first-rounder Broderick Jones. In the second round, Pittsburgh filled a need and made a sentimental pick with Joey Porter Jr. Later on, the Steelers took three talented prospects: Keeanu Benton, Darnell Washington and Nick Herbig.
16. Minnesota Vikings: The free agent losses of Dalvin Tomlinson, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks and Patrick Peterson stings. But Minnesota made a splash in the draft, picking USC receiver Jordan Addison to pair with Justin Jefferson. Even if the Vikings don’t catch as many breaks in close games next season, they should still be in the postseason mix.
17. New England Patriots: Trading back and still getting Christian Gonzalez was excellent work by New England. The offense should be improved with a real offensive coordinator (Bill O’Brien) and improved weapons (Smith-Schuster, Mike Gesicki). If the Patriots were in the NFC, their prospects for 2023 would look a lot better.
18. Green Bay Packers: It’s finally Jordan Love time. While it’s unfair to expect a third straight Hall of Fame quarterback, Packers fans should be cautiously optimistic for 2023. The roster is still in decent shape, plus they added two tight ends (Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft) and a receiver (Jayden Reed) in the first three rounds.
19. New Orleans Saints: At long last, we find our first NFC South team. This division is barren, but the Saints could be a bright spot with Derek Carr as the division's best quarterback. New Orleans used the draft to rebuild its defensive front after losing several free agents.
20. Cleveland Browns: If Deshaun Watson looks more like his Texans self on the field, the Browns have a chance at the postseason in 2023. Cleveland did what it could with limited draft capital, snagging another receiver and a few pieces for the O- and D-line.
21. Carolina Panthers: In the aforementioned putrid NFC South, the Panthers should compete for the division title even with a rookie quarterback. The defense is built to contend with Brian Burns and Co. It all comes down to how quickly Bryce Young develops under new head coach Frank Reich.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders are a fringe wild card contender with Jimmy Garoppolo, who is now reunited with Josh McDaniels. In a division with Mahomes and Justin Herbert, Las Vegas wisely loaded up on D-line talent in the draft (Tyree Wilson, Byron Young).
23. Denver Broncos: On paper, it was a productive offseason for Denver. Sean Payton brings legitimacy, but Russell Wilson has to prove he’s still a capable starting quarterback. They had a quiet draft with limited picks.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson. Three straight drafts picking skill players in the first round could pay off, but Atlanta still doesn’t have a quarterback and its defense has struggled for years.
25. Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay’s team is clearly entering a rebuilding phase. There’s still veteran talent on the roster, though – Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald. If those guys are healthy, it’s hard to see the Rams completely bottoming out in 2023.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady quarterbacked the Bucs to an 8-9 record last season. Baker Mayfield is now the presumed starter. Even in a weak conference and division, Tampa Bay could be in for a trying season.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson probably isn’t ready to lead a winning team in 2023. But the Colts finally have a future to be excited about after drafting the ultra-athletic quarterback. This season is all about his development.
28. Tennessee Titans: Will Levis dropped all the way to Tennessee in the second round. The Titans added Peter Skoronski, a starting lineman, in the first round. It could be time for a total rebuild in Nashville, but Ryan Tannehill remains the starting quarterback for now.
29. Chicago Bears: The NFL’s worst team last year should gradually improve in 2023. Justin Fields will get another year to develop, this time with better weapons and protection. Tackle Darnell Wright should be an instant starter after being drafted at No. 10.
30. Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera is rolling with Sam Howell at quarterback. The Commanders are in a stacked division with three playoff contenders. In the draft, they used their first two picks on defensive backs – which won’t help the inexperienced Howell.
31. Houston Texans: DeMeco Ryans has a retooled roster to work with in his first season as head coach. The Texans picked quarterback C.J. Stroud, then traded up for the draft’s top defensive prospect Will Anderson. Houston should improve in 2023, but trading away their 2024 first-round pick looms large if they don’t.
32. Arizona Cardinals: The draft went well for Arizona. The 2023 season probably will not. If the 2023 standings look like these power rankings, the Cardinals will have the first two picks in the 2024 draft. And that would be NFL history. A long shot? Yes, but not implausible.