With the draft over and done with, it's time to reshuffle the NFL Power Rankings.
The deck is reshuffled, but a familiar card landed on top.
What happens when an 11-win team adds a healthy Tom Brady, Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, one of the best cornerbacks in the draft (Darius Butler), and one of the best safeties in the draft (Patrick Chung)?
You get a team fighting to add a fourth Super Bowl ring to Brady’s hand, that’s what.
It’s amazing how the Patriots have re-tooled. They’re a pass-rushing linebacker away from being really, really scary right now.
The Steelers really needed to address the offensive line this offseason, and frankly, they failed to do so.
Kraig Urbik will compete for a starting spot, but he’s nothing special athletically. The Steelers were a very good team last year that had a very fortunate playoff run (and the worst Super Bowl opponent of the Super Bowl era).
If they want to repeat, they can’t have their quarterback slammed around like a rag doll every Sunday like he was last season.
I’m not sure their offense is explosive enough without Plaxico Burress, but the Giants’ defense is going to be spectacular.
The Giants added Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, and Michael Boley to an already ridiculous defense. They might not be able to score as many points as they have in the past, but they won’t allow as many either.
This team is a breakout wide receiver away from another Super Bowl run.
I hate, HATE the re-signing of Jake Delhomme.
I hate it more than I hate a Super Bowl in London, and I really, REALLY hate the idea of a Super Bowl in London. The Panthers are going to be a good team again, and they’ll fail because of their washed-up QB again.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Life without Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison will be much easier because of the addition of rookie running back Donald Brown.
The Colts might actually be able to have some balance on offense, which makes the always dangerous Peyton Manning even more dangerous.
The addition of To-Go gives QB Matt Ryan another weapon to help him avoid the sophomore slump.
I’m not sure the Falcons are a Super Bowl team just yet, but they’re close. In a related (maybe) note, whether reinstated or not, Mike Vick isn’t allowed within five miles of the Falcons' team facilities.
Michael Oher was an absolute steal at No. 23. The Ravens are masters at drafting, yet employ the exact opposite strategy of my recognized draft wizard Bill Belichick.
Rather than using their mojo to trick teams into trading way too much to move into their picks, they use their mojo to somehow convince every team in front of them to pass on the guy they want to draft, which leads to them getting guys like Oher late in the first round.
Vince Young is a problem that will fester under the surface in Tennessee until it boils over, he becomes the starter again (which brings up a whole other group of problems), or the Titans ship him out of town.
You just can’t screw up with a high first round quarterback. In Vince Young, the Titans have a major screw-up on their hands.
Their entire offseason can be summed up in two words: Jay Cutler.
They gave up a ton to get him, but the Bears haven’t had a quarterback since...
Ummmm...hey, I’m only 30 years old.
That said, they still have no offensive line, and we’re likely going to watch Cutler get killed—but even on the sidelines, he’s the best quarterback the Bears have had in years.
10. Miami Dolphins
Vontae Davis and Pat White are both extremely talented, but nobody’s really sure if either is going to pan out in the NFL.
Davis apparently already believes he’s the best cornerback in Miami history and has developed a reputation for ignoring his coaches.
White is a supremely talented football player without a position. Can he play QB in the NFL? WR? RB? None of the above? All of the above?
Brad Childress is a blowhard with an ego the size of Brett Favre’s head. Somewhere between him bragging about one-upping Bill Belichick and admitting he wants to sign Favre, the Vikings should have sent him packing.
Who watches what Favre did in New York and says, "Boy, this guy could really help our team"?
The Eagles watched the tremendous job that Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs did against the Giants in the Super Bowl and said to themselves, “You know, we should get those two guys so they can do that against the Giants twice every season!”
The Packers needed defensive help, and they got it big time.
B.J. Raji is an absolute monster and gives them a 3-4 nose tackle who has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL.
Clay Matthews was one of the highest-rated linebackers in the draft. The Packers were surprisingly aggressive on draft weekend, and it’ll pay off next season.
No respect for the NFC’s representative in last season’s Super Bowl.
Of course, I didn’t respect them going into the Super Bowl, or the playoffs, or last season, or any season, for that matter.
Why start now?
I’m putting the Chargers here with an asterisk.
If Shawne Merriman is healthy and back to being Shawne Merriman, the Chargers will be one of the best teams in the AFC.
If he’s not, and Larry English is forced to do his Shawne Merriman impression, the Chargers will once again be a middling defense.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Terrell Owens is gone, but Wade Phillips, Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, and Jessica Simpson are all still involved. Jerry Jones has not improved his team one iota this offseason; he might have made it worse.
Maybe he should fire his GM.
17. New York Jets
If Mark Sanchez can step in and play right away, the Jets will be significantly better than they were last year.
If he can’t, and I don’t think the Jets want him to, they’ll be significantly worse.
Favre was terrible in December last season, but he was serviceable up until that point.
Outside of Sanchez, no quarterback on that roster even approaches serviceable.
18. Denver Broncos
Josh McDaniels reminds me of a young Bill Belichick, especially his handling of the Jay Cutler mess.
McDaniels needs to do a better job of emulating the New England version of Bill Belichick so he doesn’t end up like the Cleveland version.
19. Houston Texans
I love Houston’s draft.
I have a man-crush on Connor Barwin, and Brian Cushing may have been the best linebacker in the draft.
Houston quietly featured one of the best offenses in the NFL last year. If they can get that defense on track, they could surprise some people.
Malcolm Jenkins should help, and the Saints definitely have a prime time offense, but their defense still isn’t good enough.
They have the misfortune of playing in the same division as the Panthers and Falcons—both legit conference championship contenders in the NFC.
Any team with Albert Haynesworth should be ranked higher than this.
That said, no team with the dynamic Jim Zorn/Jason Campbell combo should be ranked this high, especially if they’re forced to play the Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants a combined six times next season.
22. Buffalo Bills
Marshawn Lynch, Terrell Owens, Donte Whitner, a head coach who is one bad stretch away from being fired, and a fanbase that’s ready to revolt...why aren’t the Bills doing Hard Knocks this year?
Because Raider fans are destined to be tortured until Al Davis retires (unlikely) or dies (the undead can’t die), Michael Crabtree is destined to become the next Jerry Rice.
Now the 49ers just need to find a young quarterback who can spend the next 10 years throwing him the ball.
I’ve given up on the Jaguars.
Every year they’re the “It” team everyone picks to win the AFC.
It’s time to face facts: Jack Del Rio just isn’t a very good head coach.
He’s a motivator, a strong personality, and a confident guy who sounds like a leader, but he’s been outcoached in every big game he’s ever coached in.
They can sign as many Torry Holts as they want; it won’t change the fact that this team is fatally flawed.
Matt Cassel is going to find out quickly that the Chiefs’ offense isn’t the New England one he ran last season. This team is on the right track, but they’re still a year or two away.
Josh Freeman is pretty convinced he’s going to succeed.
I’m not so sure.
I had him ranked third among quarterbacks in a draft that didn’t have a quarterback that would have gone in the first round in last year’s draft.
He’s not Matt Ryan, he’s not Joe Flacco, and without a Ryan or Flacco, this team isn’t going anywhere in 2009.
Character means nothing in Cincinnati.
In the first round, they drafted a guy who left the combine early without telling anyone, then showed up fat at his pro day. Then they took a linebacker who, while talented, dropped into the second round because teams questioned his character.
28. Cleveland Browns
Alex Mack and Brian Robiskie aren’t sexy picks, but they’ll both be quality NFL players.
Unfortunately, quality players are in the minority in Cleveland.
Oh yeah, and Eric Mangini isn’t exactly my favorite head coach.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Aaron Curry was probably the best player in the draft.
Max Unger is going to be a solid center.
Deon Butler should develop into a pretty nice wide receiver.
There, I’ve said all nice things about the fourth-worst team in the NFL.
30. Oakland Raiders
Darrius Heyward-Bey. Michael Mitchell. Someone, please, put Al Davis out of his misery.
31. St. Louis Rams
I actually like the Rams’ draft.
They got the best offensive tackle in the draft. They got themselves a solid, but not spectacular linebacker in James Laurinaitis.
The thing is, they were REALLY bad last year.
Really, really bad.
A solid draft class alone isn’t going to fix this.
32. Detroit Lions
I promise you this...no matter how bad it gets, no matter how poorly they do—there is absolutely no way they’ll finish the 2009 season with a worse record than the 2008 Detroit Lions.
Sean Crowe covers the New England Patriots at http://www.patriotsexaminer.com.
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