Friday, June 13, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Draft (20-11)

11. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler played in just 11 games last season, and his record stood at 5-6 in those games. With quarterback Josh McCown leaving Chicago, Bears fans hope that Cutler will be able to carry Chicago's offense, consisting of an incredible amount of talent such as receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and running back Matt Forte. Defensively, the Bears lost defensive end Julius Peppers in free agency, but managed to sign defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, and linebacker DJ Williams. The Bears defense will be one of the league's best next year.

12. San Diego Chargers: The Chargers decided to draft cornerback Jason Verrett out of TCU with their first round pick, a great selection that will certainly help their pass defense. Verrett will join recently signed defensive end Dwight Freeney, a 34-year old who ranks 22nd all time in career sacks. On offense, quarterback Philip Rivers can pass to Offensive Rookie of the Year winner Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown, and Malcolm Floyd, or choose to run the ball with Ryan Matthews.

13. Philadelphia Eagles: Losing star wide receiver DeSean Jackson will certainly hurt Philadelphia's passing game, especially since starting quarterback Nick Foles forged a solid relationship with the receiver. Now, Jeremy Maclin will be returning from a torn ACL that caused him to miss the entire season, and the Eagles are hoping that rookie receivers Jordan Matthews will be a solid replacement for Jackson. Philadelphia's defense struggled last season, and little was done in the offseason (apart from the signing of FS Malcolm Jenkins) to fix certain problems, especially with the run defense.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Assuming that Joe Flacco can have a better season in 2014, the Ravens may be a serious threat during the postseason. Baltimore signed wide receiver Steve Smith from Carolina, who will join Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Dennis Pitta to create an incredible receiving corp in Baltimore, as this passing game will take pressure off of star running back Ray Rice. The defense has many big names, including rookie linebacker CJ Mosley out of Alabama, NT Haloti Ngata, and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise that had been to three Super Bowls in six years, have a brand new look on defense. The defense that won Pittsburgh's last Super Bowl only has two remaining starters from that championship winning team--Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor. Youthful rookies like Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt are talented prospects who will make Steelers fans hopeful for the future. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will need to be more consistent in order for Pittsburgh to return to the "Big Game".

16. St. Louis Rams: With Sam Bradford returning from his season ending injury last year, the Rams offense has enough youthful talent to be a contender in the NFC West. Receiver Tavon Austin, guard Greg Robinson, and running backs Zac Stacey and Tre Mason are all below 23 years old, and have many Pro Bowl games between them in the near future. The defensive line was stellar last season, which helped them beat solid teams like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Arizona.

17. Detroit Lions: The Lions' receiving corp is beginning to look like the best in all of football. Joining All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson will be Golden Tate from Seattle and rookie tight end Eric Ebron. Matthew Stafford used to have a lot of pressure on him to carry the offense, but running back Reggie Bush has helped take some pressure off of Stafford's arm. Detroit's defensive line, consisting of tackle Ndamukong Suh and ends Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah, is one of the more feared lines in football.

18. Kansas City Chiefs: Next season, Kansas City will have to play one of the most difficult schedules in all of football, having to battle the Patriots, Steelers, all of the NFC West, and both the Broncos and Chargers twice. Seeing how the Chiefs lost three-fifths of their offensive line, receiver Dexter McCluster, and recently cornerback Brandon Flowers, the Chiefs are unlikely to dethrone the Broncos from atop the AFC West, even with their talented defense.

19. Atlanta Falcons: After being one game away from playing in the Super Bowl in 2012, the Atlanta Falcons went 4-12 last season, their worst record since 2007, a year before drafting quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan managed to throw for 4,515 yards with 26 touchdowns in 2013, even without Julio Jones for the majority of the season; however, a lack of running game (ranked dead last in football) and a terrible run defense (31st overall) will likely mean the Falcons will watch another NFL postseason from home.

20. New York Jets: The New York Jets signed several big names over the course of free agency, such as wide receiver Eric Decker, quarterback Michael Vick, and running back Chris Johnson. As of right now, Rex Ryan assures that Geno Smith remains the number one quarterback on the depth chart, but that is possible to change during training camp. The Jets defensive line, while they may be young, did very well last season, where defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson ended up winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Patriots-Jets rivalry may pick up steam as New York becomes more competitive.

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