NFL Power Rankings 2018: Week 2

Rams logo

1. Los Angeles Rams: 2-0 (Last Week: 4)
The Cardinals are terrible. They have the fewest points scored through the first two weeks. However, the Rams look like the best team in football right now. The offense is deep and loaded. The same can be said for the defense. Los Angeles is taking this Super Bowl or bust mentality seriously.

Jaguars logo

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-0 (Last Week: 5)
Revenge achieved. Well kind of. It doesn’t mean quite as much as a trip to the Super Bowl, but Doug Marrone and his staff put together the perfect game plan to beat New England. Jacksonville looks like it is better on offense this season, and that was without Leonard Fournette. If Blake Bortles can come even remotely close to playing at that same level, the Jaguars could win a lot of game this season and make a deep postseason run once again.

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3. Minnesota Vikings: 1-0-1 (Last Week 3)
On one hand, the fact that Minnesota managed a tie is spectacular. On the other, the fact that Daniel Carlson missed three field goals, including the potential game-winner in overtime is infuriating. The Vikings are still settling in after making some major offseason moves. They will have a bye week… I mean play the Bills next week at home.

Chiefs Logo

4. Kansas City Chiefs: 2-0 (Last Week: 6)
Patrick Mahomes just broke a record previously shared by Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, but I don’t know if this team is Super Bowl bound quite yet. There is a lot of season left and the Chiefs have the worst pass defense in the NFL. Kansas City might have the best offense in the league with so much speed all over the field. The return of Eric Berry from injury will likely sure up the secondary.

Patriots Logo

5. New England Patriots: 1-1 (Last Week: 2)
That was rough. Blake Bortles made the Patriots defense look like Swiss cheese. The Patriots trailed 24-3 in the third quarter and while they made it close in the fourth, it was not enough to alleviate some doubts about the level of play. The addition of Josh Gordon has the potential to jump start this offense as it waits for Julian Edelman to return.

Eagles Logo

6. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-1 (Last Week: 1)
Umm…what? Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the vaunted Eagles defense. Philly was susceptible to the big play as it gave up a pair of 75-yard passing scores. The good news though? Carson Wentz will start against the Colts next week. Philadelphia is still missing Alshon Jeffrey and might have lost Mike Wallace for the season. Wentz’s return couldn’t come at a better time.

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7. Green Bay Packers: 1-0-1 (Last Week: 7)
It wouldn’t shock me if the average blood pressure of Wisconsin is unnaturally high following the first two weeks of the NFL season. Between Aaron Rodgers’ injury, a furious second half comeback against Chicago and a nail-biting tie with Minnesota, Green Bay has had an eventful start to the year. The Packers probably would have won this game if not for a questionable penalty on Clay Matthews took away a game-clinching interception. The focus now shifts to earning a road win against Washington.

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8. Atlanta Falcons: 1-1 (Last Week: 8)
Atlanta showed flashes of the offense of old in a 31-24 victory over Carolina. Matt Ryan played arguably his best game with Steve Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator to date, registering a 95.6 Total QBR. Tevin Coleman made his case to be the bellcow back as well, something the Falcons should legitimately consider even when Devonta Freeman returns.

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9. Chicago Bears: 1-1 (Last Week: 12)
Let’s call it the Khalil Mack effect. Chicago leads the league through two weeks with 10 (!!!) sacks. Mitch Tribusky showed against Seattle he still has a long way to go, but the Bears defense is good enough to win games. Between two forced fumbles and a pick-six, Chicago’s defense has fans thinking back to the last time the Bears were in a Super Bowl. It still has a bit of ways to go in order to reach that level, but it might not be long before the Monsters of the Midway are truly back to contender status.

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10. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-0 (Last Week: 15)
The Bengals seemed like they were going to run away with the game on Thursday night after A.J. Green scored a hat trick in the first half. Baltimore made it competitive, but Cincinnati was the better team. Joe Flacco threw for 376 yards, but he attempted 55 passes and the Bengals picked him twice. With Pittsburgh struggling and Cleveland looking as it usually does, Cincy is in a good spot right now.

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11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-0 (Last Week: 18)
Defeating the defending champions is one way to announce to the rest of the league you mean business. FitzMagic struck once again as the veteran quarterback shredded the Eagles secondary en route to a win. There are still some red flags. Tampa has the worst yards per carry in the whole league and the secondary has allowed the second most passing yards through the first two weeks. A matchup with the Steelers, who can’t stop anyone from going deep on them, on Monday night could turn into a shootout. So far, that has worked well for the Buccaneers.

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12. Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-1-1 (Last Week: 10)
Pittsburgh is not in free fall, but it is getting somewhat close. The Steelers gave up six touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes and still almost won the game. Ben Roethlisberger played one of the best games of his career. Falling behind early never allowed the Steelers to get the ground game on track. Pittsburgh visits the top passing game in the league next as it travels to Tampa. Mike Tomlin needs to find a solution in the secondary.

49ers Logo

13. San Francisco 49ers: 1-1 (Last Week: 14)
It wasn’t perfect, but it was the first win of the 2018 campaign for San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo was asked to do a lot less this week and his level of play reflected that. If the pass protection can pick up, the 49ers allowed six sacks this week, expect San Francisco to look a bit more like the team that closed last season on a five-game winning streak.

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14. Baltimore Ravens: 1-1 (Last Week: 9)
The Ravens were lucky not to be blown out by the Bengals after falling behind 21-0 early in the second quarter. After dominating Buffalo to open the season, Baltimore came back down to Earth. This Ravens team just barely missed the playoffs last season and could be in danger of that again if it continues to struggle in the secondary. Some run support wouldn’t hurt either.

Denver_Broncos

15. Denver Broncos: 2-0 (Last Week: 13)
Denver barely survives to make it to 2-0. Brandon McManus knocked through a 39-yarder at to earn a 19-17 win. This rushing attack continues to flash promise as the Broncos ran for 168 yards at 6 yards per carry. Case Keenum still doesn’t look like the player he was a year ago though and the defense allowed Derek Carr to complete 29 of 32 passes, so there is still plenty to work on for this young team.

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16. San Diego Chargers: 1-1 (Last Week: 19)
Flying cross-country is tough for every team and the Chargers handled it well. There are certainly concerns though. After leading 28-6 at halftime, Buffalo outscored Los Angeles 14-3 in the second half. The Chargers hit the road again, this time to face the Rams. It will need to play a much more complete game to pull off the upset.

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17. Miami Dolphins: 2-0 (Last Week: 22)
Through two weeks of the NFL season, the Miami Dolphins are the kings of the AFC East. Now, that may not last long, but the Dolphins defense was opportunistic and rattled the Jets’ rookie quarterback to the tune of three sacks and two interceptions. The defense also bottled up the New York ground game. If Miami can continue to pace its offense running the ball with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore, it could find itself picking up enough wins to sneak into the playoffs.

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18. Carolina Panthers: 1-1 (Last Week: 17)
It was a loss, but Carolina showed signs of improvement after an underwhelming first game against Dallas. The Falcons tore apart the Panther defense, but Carolina’s passing game looked strong. The run game was effective. The Panthers have played great defensively and struggled offensively in one game and flipped the script in the other. The next step is putting it together to win crucial games down the stretch.

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19. Washington: 1-1 (Last Week: 11)
Well that was a total dud. After blowing out the Cardinals to open the season, Washington failed to score a touchdown at home. Indy stymied the ground game that carried Alex Smith and company through Phoenix the week before. It is back to the drawing board for Jay Gruden as he needs to find a solution to the poor offense play with the Packers coming to town.

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20. Dallas Cowboys: 1-1 (Last Week: 23)
Don’t let the scoreline fool you, Dallas dominated on Sunday night. The Giants scored 10 points in the final minute and 27 seconds. While it wasn’t great to give up those points, the Cowboys defense sacked Eli Manning six times and held Saquon Barkley to just 28 yards rushing. The team is still looking for a solution at wide receiver (none of them had more than four catches), but this was a big win for Big D over a division rival.

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21. Indianapolis Colts: 1-1 (Last Week: 24)
The Indianapolis defense showed up in week two. Washington running backs combined for 301 yards against Arizona. The Colts only allowed 144 to Washington backs this weeks. Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson and Rob Kelly totaled 22 yards on 16 carries. Indy never surrendered a touchdown either, the first time the defense held an opponent without a touchdown since December 18, 2016. This doesn’t feel like the Colts of old, and that is probably a good thing.

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22. New Orleans Saints: 1-1 (Last Week: 21)
Yeah, the Saints won, but does anyone else feel like they deserved to? Didn’t think so. New Orleans looked awful for the second straight week, benefiting from an inept kicker in Cleveland. The Saints trailed 12-3 midway through the third quarter before scoring 18 in the fourth quarter to steal a win. Michael Thomas continues to look like a stud and Alvin Kamara has avoided a sophomore slump, but turnovers and a struggling secondary make this a hard team to believe in.

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23. Tennessee Titans: 1-1 (Last Week: 27)
Tennessee is forging the identity of a hard-nosed football team. They averaged only 2.9 yards per carry and generated 283 yards of total offense. However, the defense got after Deshaun Watson, sacking him four times and intercepting him once. It was certainly ugly, but it seems like a recipe the Titans can rely on to be competitive, especially once Marcus Mariota gets back.

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24. New York Jets: 1-1 (Last Week: 20)
Well that was over fast. After dominating Detroit, the Jets hosted Miami and laid an egg. Dropped passes, tons of fumbles and two costly interceptions from a young quarterback cost New York a chance to open 2-0 for the first time since 2015. The Jets have a short week as they travel to Cleveland. This will be the third game for New York in 10 days, so don’t be surprised if it struggles again.

Giants Logo

25. New York Giants: 0-2 (Last Week: 16)
I was optimistic after watching the Giants come close against the Jaguars. After watching the offense look lifeless for a second straight week and seeing the offensive line struggle even worse than it had the week before, that optimism is gone. The offensive line needs a full rebuild. Until New York does that, it will continue to pick in the top 10.

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26. Houston Texans: 0-2 (Last Week: 25)
Another week, another bitter taste for the Texans. Houston outgained Tennessee 437 to 283 but lost by a field goal. Deshaun Watson looked a bit more like the player we saw last season and Will Fuller exploded for an eight-catch 113-yard performance capped off with a touchdown. The biggest thing missing from this team is a pass rush. Houston has just three sacks in two games, tied for 23rd in the league. That’s where the Texans finished last season without J.J. Watt. Time for the big names to step up.

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27. Seattle Seahawks: 0-2 (Last Week: 26)
The defense was better than advertised, especially without both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. The offense struggled, a lot. There was very little run game to speak of. Russell Wilson was sacked six times, fumbled twice and threw a pick-six. Seattle faces a mediocre Dallas team for its home opener. It desperately needs a win to fend off what would be calls for a new coaching staff and possibly a new front office.

Lions Logo

28. Detroit Lions: 0-2 (Last Week: 30)
This is definitely not where the Lions wanted to be through the first two weeks of the season. However, Detroit still has time to get things on track. The truth is, this team is probably better than its ranking spot. It also plays in the best division in the NFC this year, making the playoffs look close to impossible to reach.

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29. Cleveland Browns: 0-1-1 (Last Week: 28)
Only the Browns could lose the way they did. Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in the contest to cost Cleveland the game. However, the Browns defense is the real deal. Myles Garrett and company are making life difficult for opposing offenses. In back-to-back weeks, they’ve held Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees under 22 points.

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30. Oakland Raiders: 0-2 (Last Week: 29)
That one stings. Oakland seemed poised to win its first game of the new John Gruden era only to lose on a buzzer-beater field goal to Denver. The Raiders looked better than they had a week ago, but that defense is sorely missing its top player, who is now acting as a wrecking ball in Chicago.

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31. Buffalo Bills: 0-2 (Last Week: 32)
It was another loss for Buffalo, but there were bright spots. Josh Allen looked a lot better than Nathan Peterman, but that’s not too hard. The Bills scored a touchdown, actually two. The defense played a bit better against a talented Chargers squad. That kind of performance moves them out of the basement.

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32. Arizona Cardinals: 0-2 (Last Week: 31)
Now the Rams are really good, but when you get shutout and your team has managed six points in two weeks, you deserve to be at the bottom. Sam Bradford looks lost. There is no respect for the pass so teams can crowd the line against Arizona. It’s looking like a lost season, meaning it’s only a matter of time before Rosen takes the field.

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NFL Power Rankings 2018: Week 1

Eagles Logo

1. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-0
It wasn’t always pretty, but the reigning champs remain on top with a win over Atlanta. Philly benefits from an extra few days rest ahead of a matchup with the upstart Bucs. Alshon Jeffery could be back. This is an Eagles team that is going to get better as the year rolls on.

Patriots Logo

2. New England Patriots: 1-0
No sign whatsoever that Tom Brady is feeling the effects of time in the win over the Texans. He connected on three touchdown passes to lead New England past Houston. Rob Gronkowski looks like he is ready to carry the load as well. The much-anticipated rematch from last year’s AFC Championship game awaits as the Patriots head to Jacksonville.

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3. Minnesota Vikings: 1-0
The Vikings toughed out a win over the 49ers to deliver on much of the offseason hype surrounding the team. Kirk Cousins was sharp in his debut. Dalvin Cook looked strong in his return from injury. The defense delivered in big moments. Minnesota is still settling in, but already looks good.

Rams logo

4. Los Angeles Rams: 1-0
The kings of the offseason took care of business in the season opener in Oakland. It wasn’t a dominating performance, but players like Marcus Peters are already starting to pay dividends. Todd Gurley also seems set to defend his OPOY award. This team could be the best in the NFL by season’s end.

Jaguars logo

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-0
That was ugly. The Jaguars did not quite seem like the polished machine that reached the AFC title game a year ago. Instead, Blake Bortles missed some open receivers, Leonard Fournette left with a hamstring issue and the defense got burned by Saquon Barkley for a massive touchdown run. That defense is still one of the best in the league, but Jacksonville showed some weaknesses in the first game of the new campaign.

Chiefs Logo

6. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-0
Patrick Mahomes punctuated his arrival to the NFL with a stellar performance. Tyreek Hill is still running away from Charger defenders. Kansas City looks like it will certainly be back in the playoff hunt in 2018 and made an early statement against its division rival.

Packers logo

7. Green Bay Packers: 1-0
For Packers fans, that was both terrifying and amazing. Aaron Rodgers returned to lead one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history against the Bears. The win was great. The fact Green Bay ever found itself in that position in the first place is concerning. With Rodgers a bit banged up and the Vikings coming to town this week, Mike McCarthy has a lot to figure out.

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8. Atlanta Falcons: 1-0
It was eerily familiar to the playoff loss that ended the previous season for Atlanta. Steve Sarkisian showed once again that he is the worst offensive coordinator in the NFL inside the 10-yard line. The Falcons defense showed up, as did Julio Jones, but the performance left a lot to be desired.

Ravens logo

9. Baltimore Ravens: 1-0
Through one week of NFL action, the Baltimore Ravens boast the best scoring margin in the league. Jim Harbaugh’s crew demolished the Bills 47-3. It honestly could have been more. The only critique was a paltry ground attack, but it gives the Ravens something to work on going forward.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

10. Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-0-1
It wasn’t a loss, but it sure felt like one for the Steelers after blowing a 14-point second half lead and giving the Browns multiple chances to win. Pittsburgh was downright sloppy, committing five turnovers in the tie. The bright side: James Conner made it easy to forget that Bell guy is holding out.

Washington made up logo

11. Washington: 1-0
Effective and efficient. Those two words describe this new-look Washington team well. Alex Smith looked comfortable. Adrian Peterson showed he’s still got what it takes. The defense gave very little for the Cardinals to build on. All around a good win to open the season.

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12. Chicago Bears: 0-1
The loss was agonizing, no question. However, there are a lot of positives from the game. Kahlil Mack came exactly as advertised. Mitchell Trubisky showed signs of improvement from last year. The running game was solid. Chicago just needs to play two halves of football now, instead of one.

Denver_Broncos

13. Denver Broncos: 1-0
A massive overhaul for Denver saw them cut ties with former first round pick Paxton Lynch, sign Case Keenum and revamp the running back position. The first impression of the new team is a good one. It wasn’t a convincing win, but it did enough to show the Broncos made some solid signings in the offseason.

49ers Logo

14. San Francisco 49ers: 0-1
Jimmy Garappolo finally lost a game he started as San Francisco fell to Minnesota. The franchise quarterback tossed three interceptions, including the game-clinching one in the final two minutes. The truth is, the 49ers are still building. Patience is going to be required.

Bengals Logo

15. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-0
Cincinnati’s victory over Indianapolis was a bit closer than the scoreline indicated. The Colts were driving late before a fumble recovery brought back for a touchdown sealed the deal. The Bengals showed flashes of greatness on offense. If the defense can pick it up, this team could challenge for a return to the postseason.

Giants Logo

16. New York Giants: 0-1
It was not the start to Pat Shumer’s career Giants’ fans wanted, but there were certainly positives. Odell Beckham Jr. is back and balled out against a talented Jaguars secondary. First round pick Saquon Barkley showed his explosiveness to mask what was an otherwise disappointing debut. The defense frustrated Blake Bortles. The offense on the whole was simply not good enough.

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17. Carolina Panthers: 1-0
Carolina starts off the season with a win, but it did not do much to indicate if this team has any sort of identity. The offense managed to do just enough to get the win. The defense got after Dak Prescott. There is plenty to build on, but the Panthers did not inspire confidence.

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18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-0
I don’t know if anyone predicted Ryan Fitzpatrick to light up the NFL with the Buccaneers, but he did exactly that. FitzMagic shredded the Saints defense with five total touchdowns en route to a victory. Tampa struggled mightily on defense, almost allowing New Orleans to make a comeback, but the Bucs are happy to have a win.

Chargers logo

19. San Diego Chargers: 0-1
The Chargers failed to capitalize on chances against the Chiefs and looked outmatched on defense. Without Joey Bosa, the pass rush was ineffective and Patrick Mahomes had a field day. Despite a number of dropped passes, the offense had a solid showing. Los Angeles will need to play a much more complete game though to earn a win.

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20. New York Jets: 1-0
Possibly the most shocking result of Week 1 was the Jets dismantling the Lions. New York tied Tampa Bay for the most points scored this week and picked off Matt Stafford four times. So why not higher on the list? Despite the lopsided scoreline, this is still a young team with a lot to prove. A win over Miami next week would do a lot to show this wasn’t a fluke. It finally seems like New York has found its franchise quarterback though.

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21. New Orleans Saints: 0-1
Maybe the defense hadn’t improved as much as we all thought. The Saints gave up a whopping 48 points to the Buccaneers. It was a pathetic showing that marred an impressive offensive performance. New Orleans will have a lot to work on this week in practice.

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22. Miami Dolphins: 1-0
In easily the longest contest of the weekend, Miami outlasted Tennessee in a weather-delayed mess. Ryan Tannehill returned for the Dolphins and had his ups and downs. Kenny Stills had a massive day and the ground game looked reliable. The run defense bottled up Derrick Henry, but had little answer for Dion Lewis. We will get a better sense for Miami when it takes on the Jets.

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23. Dallas Cowboys: 0-1
What happened to the Cowboys offense? Two years ago, Dallas was the talk of the town, with two stud rookies and a deep receiving core. Now, America’s team is lacking playmakers and that once great offensive line is in shambles. Surprisingly, the defense was a bright spot, only conceding 16 points. The Cowboys face the Giants this week needing to play a lot better to avoid dropping to 0-2.

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24. Indianapolis Colts: 0-1
Andrew Luck seems like he is finally back to his old self. Unfortunately, so does the Colts defense. Indy is waiting on someone to emerge from the crowded backfield it currently boasts, but showed signs of being competitive against the Bengals. Late mistakes ended a comeback bid, but there is still plenty of promise.

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25. Houston Texans: 0-1
It was not the welcome back party Deshaun Watson had hoped for as he had a rather uneven performance in a loss to New England. The Texans did not nearly pressure Tom Brady enough, a major problem for a team that is supposedly loaded with defensive talent.

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26. Seattle Seahawks: 0-1
This might seem a little harsh considering the Seahawks only lost by three on the road, but if not for a poor start from Case Keenum, Seattle might have been blown out. The Seahawks did not run the ball well and Russell Wilson was constantly harassed. The defense allowed almost 500 yards as well. On top of all of that, it appears Doug Baldwin will miss extended time with a knee injury.

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27. Tennessee Titans: 0-1
It is tough to rally from behind following multiple weather delays, but the Titans seem to have taken a major step back from last season. Marcus Mariota struggled before leaving with an injury. Derrick Henry was wholly ineffective. The defense could not contain a Dolphins offense missing one of its top receivers. Tennessee looked nothing like the team that won a playoff game just a year ago.

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28. Cleveland Browns: 0-0-1
Not quite a win, but Cleveland will take it as the Browns avoid losing their season opener for the first time since 2004. It was an impressive second-half surge from Cleveland, but there are some major concerns already. Tyrod Taylor looked awful passing the ball in some tough weather and the running game failed to ever get going. That defense seems as if it is the real deal though, with five forced turnovers.

Raiders logo29. Oakland Raiders: 0-1
Despite the energy created by John Gruden’s return, the Raiders fell flat against LA. The Rams bulldozed Oakland in the second half. Derek Carr showed flashes of greatness, but threw three interceptions, including two costly ones in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Gruden is still figuring out what he has in Oakland, but with no pass rush and an offense that failed to get much production out of its wide receivers, this team does not look like a contender.

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30. Detroit Lions: 0-1
That might have been the worst start to the season the Lions could have imagined. Matt Stafford threw four picks and left the game battered. The Lions allowed defense and special teams scores as well in a full-scale meltdown. There is a lot of talent on this team, but it is clear new coach Matt Patricia is not sure how to maximize it yet.

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31. Arizona Cardinals: 0-1
It seemed like things were looking up for the Cardinals after signing Sam Bradford and getting David Johnson back from injury. Only the Bills had fewer total yards than Arizona and Washington finished with the sixth most yards in the league. Johnson finally scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. The Cardinals could be looking at a season in the NFC West cellar.

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32. Buffalo Bills: 0-1
Watching Buffalo play on Sunday, it is hard to remember this team was in the playoffs just a year ago. Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen combined for the worst passer rating in the league. Peterman actually posted a 0.9 Total QBR, which is one of the worst ratings in the history of the stat. Sean McDermott essentially has to start fresh this week, with basically nothing to build on against the Ravens.

2018 NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings

For many college football players, the goal is to have success at school to earn a spot in the NFL. Most players who turn pro after college enter the league via the NFL Draft.

Welcome to year three of this project. Gone from consideration is the class of 2013, replaced by the new group of college athletes selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. The top of the list looks very similar to years past. Further down the rankings is massive turnover and movement. Louisville continues its rise while Oregon continues to tumble. Auburn finally cracks the rankings after coming agonizingly close the previous two years, costing North Carolina its spot. These ranking help measure the success of college programs over the past five years in terms of producing NFL prospects. It in no way accounts or measures success in the NFL, as that is extremely difficult to quantify. This is college football we are talking about, so here is the top 25.

The scoring system is as follows:
1st round-10 points
2nd round-7 points
3rd round-5 points
4th round-4 points
5th round- 3 points
6th round- 2 points
7th round- 1 points

Alabama Logo1. Alabama Crimson Tide– 263 points
Previous: 1 (253 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Amari Cooper, 4th Overall, 2014
No one has yet to come close to Alabama in the three years I have compiled these rankings. With four more first round picks and a host of mid-round selections, the Crimson Tide continues to be the NFL’s favorite spot to find new players.

Ohio State Logo2. Ohio State Buckeyes- 232 points
Previous: 2 (200 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Joey Bosa, 3rd Overall, 2016
The climb continues for Ohio State. For the second straight year, the Buckeyes actually closed the gap on Alabama atop the rankings. The Crimson Tide had the stronger 2018 class, but lost more from it’s 2013 group than Ohio State did. I don’t expect Ohio State to catch Bama any time soon, but even with the uncertainty in Columbus right now, the Buckeyes should be a lock for the top five for the foreseeable future.

Florida logo.jpg3. Florida Gators- 163 points
Previous: 4 (181 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Dante Fowler Jr., 3rd Overall, 2015
Despite dropping a ton of points in the rankings, Florida actually leap frogs Florida State. Nobody is catching Alabama or Ohio State anytime soon. The Gators will stay in the top five though as long as players continue to go in the first round.

Florida State Logo4. Florida State Seminoles- 160 points
Previous: 3 (192 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Jameis Winston, 1st Overall, 2015
Florida State drops a spot for a second consecutive year. The Seminoles 2018 class was deep, but only Derwin James went in the first round. Still FSU should hang around the top five on the back of that 2015 class for at least one more year.

Louisiana State University logo5. LSU Tigers- 155 points
Previous: 4 (175 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Leonard Fournette, 4th Overall, 2017
A large dip in points does not cost the Tigers a spot in the rankings. LSU continues to produce top tier defensive players every season. If the offense can start to catch up, the Tigers could start moving up the board.

Clemson Logo6. Clemson Tigers- 139 points
Previous: 6 (151 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sammy Watkins, 4th Overall, 2014
Clemson had a woeful showing at the NFL draft this season compared to recent history, but it didn’t hurt them in the rankings. Just three players were drafted in 2018, with no one coming off the board until the third round. The Tigers have a host of defensive lineman that could go in the first round next year, so expect Clemson to bounce back in a big way.

UCLA logo.jpg7. UCLA Bruins- 126 points
Previous: 9 (115 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Anthony Barr, 9th Overall, 2014
Finally, a team that increased its point total and moved up the rankings as a result. UCLA had two first round picks in Josh Rosen and Kolton Miller. It will need a strong 2019 class to hold his position as it loses a solid 2014 class next year.

Notre Dame Logo8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 116 points
Previous: 7 (123 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Ronnie Stanley, 6th Overall, 2016
The margin for error among these next seven teams is tiny. For a second straight year, Notre Dame slips a bit in the rankings. However, this Fighting Irish team is back on track in college football and could see that reflect in draft results. Notre Dame continues to be one of the top schools for offensive linemen in the country, which should keep it in the top 10 for a while.

Stanford Cardinal9. Stanford Cardinal- 115 points
Previous: 10 (113 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Solomon Thomas, 3rd Overall, 2017
Stanford didn’t have a great 2018 draft, but it was better than the outgoing 2013 group. The Cardinal remain in the top 10 for another year. With a Heisman candidate in Bryce Love, Stanford will be a team to watch in 2018. We will have to see if that translates into better draft success.

USC logo10. USC Trojans- 114 points
Previous: 12 (105 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sam Darnold, 3rd Overall, 2018
Sam Darnold went third in this year’s draft, headlining a solid class for the Trojans with two second rounders and a third round selection to round it out. It feels right to have USC in the top 10. 2014 wasn’t a great year for them either in terms of draft success, so the Trojans could climb higher.

Louisville logo11. Louisville Cardinals- 112 points
Previous: 19 (85 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sheldon Rankins, 12th Overall, 2016
A massive jump up the rankings sees Louisville knocking on the door of the top 10. After failing to make noise in 2017, the Cardinals produced two first rounders in 2018 to bolster their spot in the rankings. Even without Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the talent in Kentucky should keep on flowing into the NFL.

Washington Huskies logo.jpg11. Washington Huskies- 112 points
Previous: 14 (97 points)
Highest Drafted Player– John Ross, 9th Overall, 2017
Often overlooked in the wider college football scene, Washington has quietly become one of the best producers of NFL talent in recent years. Vita Vea headlines a relatively deep group headed to play pro ball in 2018. With very little to lose from its 2014 class, Washington could sneak into the top 10.

Miami logo13. Miami Hurricanes- 111 points
Previous: 13 (98 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Ereck Flowers, 9th Overall, 2015
The Canes are officially back. A spike in points did not correlate with a jump in the rankings, but Miami continues to produce mid-round NFL talent. The Hurricanes had six players selected, but none before the third round. Some early draft picks could be the difference for Miami going forward.

MichiganWolverines14. Michigan Wolverines- 110 points
Previous: 11 (107 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Taylor Lewan, 11th Overall, 2014
After soaring into the rankings last year, Michigan fell back down to Earth a bit in 2018, dropping three spots. That being said, Michigan actually upped its point total from 2017, despite only having two players drafted. The Wolverines will need to bounce back with a much better 2019 class in order to stay in the top 15.

Texas A&M logo15. Texas A&M Aggies- 102 points
Previous: 8 (108 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Myles Garrett, 1st Overall, 2017
We have a big faller here. Texas A&M barely stays in the top 15 after finished T-8th a year ago. An unimpressive 2018 class certainly hurt, but a weak 2019 group could drop the Aggies from the rankings. A&M will lose it’s 2014 class that featured three first round picks. This is definitely a team trending down.

Georgia Logo16. Georgia Bulldogs- 99 points
Previous: 15 (96 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Roquon Smith, 8th Overall, 2018
Hard to believe that Georgia made it to the national championship game and dropped a spot in these rankings. Still, the Bulldogs had a good draft class and definitely have the potential to climb a bit next year. Georgia should be national contenders again, meaning this team definitely has more NFL talent.

Auburn_Tigers_logo17. Auburn Tigers- 92 points
Previous: 25 (74 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Greg Robinson, 2nd Overall, 2014
Auburn just missed the top 25 in 2016. After being a fringe team last year, the Tigers are solidly in the rankings. A 2018 class that featured three second round selections makes it easy to see why they are rising.

Oklahoma Logo18. Oklahoma Sooners- 90 points
Previous: 17 (87 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Baker Mayfield, 1st Overall, 2018
Produce the first overall pick only to drop a spot. Sometimes, life is just like that. Baker Mayfield represents the first Sooner selected in the first round since Lane Johnson in 2013. Oklahoma has put together deep draft classes, but failed to generate stars in recent years. After a run to the College Football Playoff in 2017, I have a feeling there is more to follow. Look for the Sooners to climb.

Penn_State_text_logo19. Penn State Nittany Lions- 85 points
Previous: Unranked (65 points)
Highest Drafted Player: Saquon Barkley, 2nd Overall, 2018
After so many years of producing only mid-round talent, Penn State put together a deep class with a true stud at the top in Saquon Barkley. He became the first Nittany Lion to go in the first round since Jared Odrick in 2010. More of the same from State College, PA could have Penn State cracking the top 15.

Wisconsin logo20. Wisconsin Badgers- 78 points
Previous: 19 (85 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Melvin Gordon, 15th Overall, 2015
Wisconsin slips another spot after a solid if unspectacular 2018 class. Five players in total entered the league, but none before the fourth round. There are couple of offensive lineman already on scouts’ radars for next year so it could be a bounce back showing for the Badgers.

Ole_Miss_Rebels_logo21. Ole Miss Rebels- 77 points
Previous: Others Receiving Votes (62 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Laremy Tunsil, 13th Overall, 2016
Success for Ole Miss in these rankings seemed unlikely back in 2017 when news broke about Hugh Freeze’s personal misconduct violations. However, the Rebels sent four more players to the NFL this year. While there were no first rounders, it was a solid group. Don’t expect Ole Miss to climb much higher, but they should hang around at least for a little while.

Missouri logo22. Missouri Tigers- 75 points
Previous: 18 (86 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Charles Harris, 22nd Overall, 2017
Just one player from Mizzou joined the NFL ranks this year as J’Mon Moore went in the fourth round. Unfortunately for Missouri, it will likely continue to drop in the rankings. The Tigers have only had five players selected in the past three years.

Michigan State logo23. Michigan State Spartans- 67 points
Previous: 23 (75 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Jack Conklin, 8th Overall, 2016
Another quiet year from the Spartans pushes them to the brink of the rankings. Just one Michigan State player was taken, in the fourth round, during the 2018 draft. Strong classes from 2015 and 2016 will keep Sparty in the mix, but it is certainly in danger of falling out next season.

Utah_Utes_logo24. Utah Utes- 66 points
Previous: 24 (75 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Star Loutelilie, 14th Overall, 2013
In 2017, Utah sent eight players to the NFL. That incredible draft put Utah on the map and pushed them into the rankings. The Utes don’t drop in terms of spots, but with only one player drafted in 2018, the view for Utah is a lot more bitter this season.

West Virginia logo25. West Virginia Mountaineers- 65 points
Previous: 22 (83 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Kevin White, 7th Overall, 2015
Last year, I pegged West Virginia to drop out of the rankings. The Mountaineers proved me wrong, but only barely. With just one player selected this year, it will be surprising if West Virginia survives another season in these rankings.

Oregon logo25. Oregon Ducks- 65 points
Previous: 16 (88 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Marcus Mariota, 2nd Overall, 2015
When I started these rankings, Oregon sat at 13th and looked like a lock to stay in the top 25. Fast forward two years and the Ducks have only produce two NFL picks in that time, both coming this season. The fact that Oregon is on its third coach in as many years certainly helps identify part of the problem.

Others Receiving Votes: NC State- 62 points, North Carolina- 60 points, Arkansas- 60 points, Pittsburgh- 58 points, Virginia Tech- 58 points

Note: All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

Ranking Cities Sports Title Droughts

It has been a wild couple of years in sports in terms of ending title droughts. In 2016, Cleveland won its first championship in any sport in over half a century and the Chicago Cubs broke a 108-year curse by winning the World Series. In 2017, the Houston Astros won their first ever World Series title. 2018 has already seen the Philadelphia Eagles win a long-awaited championship and the Washington Capitals finally bring home the Stanley Cup. Some of the most historic title droughts in all of sports have ended in recent years, begging the question of which cities remain the most tortured for a title. Here is my top ten.

10. Detroit
Teams: Lions (NFL), Pistons (NBA), Red Wings (NHL), Tigers (MLB),
Last title: 2008

It has only been a decade since a Detroit team has won a title, but the history of sports success in the Motor City is not a great one. The Lions have famously (or infamously) never won a Super Bowl, or even appeared in one. They also hold the NFL record for most consecutive playoff losses. Baseball is a little more promising because the Tigers have won before, three times actually, but the last World Series victory came in 1984. The Pistons have had some great teams, but have also been one of the worst run NBA franchises in the last ten years. In the NHL, the Red Wings represent the true bright spot. Detroit has hoisted the Stanley Cup twice since the turn of the century. It hasn’t been that long for Detroit, but it might be a while before one of these four teams wins another title.

9. Indianapolis
Teams: Colts (NFL), Pacers (NBA)
Last title: 2006

Only two teams reside in Indianapolis and the Colts have won a title. The Peyton Manning era is still one fans could look back on proudly, but for a long time the Colts were one of the most tortured franchises in the NFL. They have resumed that post since then. For a city as crazy about basketball as Indy, zero NBA titles is a real bummer as well. The Pacers have only reached the NBA finals once in franchise history losing to the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. Both the Colts and Pacers have been competitive in recent years as well, but always end up faltering in the playoffs, leaving a bitter taste in fans’ mouths.

8. Charlotte
Teams: Hurricanes (NHL), Hornets (NBA), Panthers (NFL)
Last title: 2006

It has also been 12 years since Charlotte has won a title, but they get the edge for having three teams as opposed to Indy’s two. The Hornets have been one of the worst franchises in NBA history. It has been 30 years since the Hornets were founded and the team has never so much as won a division title. Football has treated fans a little better, as the Panthers did reach the Super Bowl back in 2003. They came agonizingly close to beating that Brady guy, but Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winner as time expired to beat Carolina. The Hurricanes are the only team in Charlotte to win a title. After losing in the 2002 Stanley Cup final, Carolina broke through in 2006 to lift the cup. Still, just one title between three teams over the past 30 years is a poor return.

7. Nashville
Teams: Predators (NHL), Titans (NFL)
Last title: N/A

If you also lump in the Memphis Grizzles, the Tennessee would likely move up a few spots on this list. Seeing as Memphis and Nashville are on opposite sides of the state though, it did not seem too fair. Both teams moved to town in 1997, but the Predators came close to bringing home a title in 2017. On the other hand, the Titans made the playoffs in 2017 for the first time in nearly ten years. What holds Nashville back is how new of a sports city it is. It has only had pro teams for 20 years, so the lack of a title is not totally shocking. Only one appearance in a finals setting is more than enough to qualify for this list though.

6. Cincinnati
Teams: Bengals (NFL), Reds (MLB)
Last title: 1990

Oh, where to begin with Cincinnati. For one, the Bengals have been a punch line in the NFL for quite some time. Head coach Marvin Lewis took over in 2003 and has taken the team to the playoffs seven times in his tenure. He is also 0-7 in the postseason. It has been 27 years since Cincy has won a playoff game, the longest active streak in the league. The Bengals weren’t always this way though. In the ’80s, Cincinnati made it to two Super Bowls, both times losing by less than a touchdown to the Joe Montana led 49ers. The Reds haven’t been a whole lot better. Since winning the World Series in 1990, Cincy’s baseball team has only made the playoffs four times. With the Bengals looking like an average team and the Reds in the middle of a rebuild, it could be a while before Cincinnati celebrates another championship.

5. San Diego
Teams: Padres (MLB), Chargers (NFL)
Last title: N/A

Technically, there is only one pro team still in San Deigo, but to not include the struggles of the Chargers in evaluating the drought this city has gone through would be unfair. I actually think the fact the Chargers left makes life as a fan in this city even more torturous. Boasting one of the greatest offenses in NFL history, San Diego never managed to reach a Super Bowl. Its lone appearance was a blowout loss to the 49ers in 1994. Even during the early 2000s, it seemed like the Chargers would finally break through, but never managed to reach the Super Bowl. For the Padres, opportunities for postseason success have been few and far between. In 49 years as a franchise, the Padres have made the playoffs just five times, including two different losses in the World Series. San Diego has long awaited a title and now will have an even tougher time securing one with only the Padres left in town.

4. Phoenix
Teams: Cardinals (NFL), Coyotes (NHL), Diamondbacks (MLB), Suns (NBA)
Last title: 2001

It has been 17 years since the largest city in Arizona brought home a sports championship. The Cardinals came agonizingly close in 2009 before falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a wild Super Bowl. The Suns haven’t been good in years, but still remember the days of Charles Barkley and Steve Nash fondly. Neither of the ever managed to bring home a title. The Coyotes have never made it to a Stanley Cup final, much less won one. That leaves the Diamondbacks, who won the cities last championship in 2001. It is the only title in the city’s history. The Cardinals won an NFL Championship in 1947, but that was actually while the team was located in Chicago. Only one title between four teams is tough for fans to swallow and it does not seem like any of them are close to a title for a least a few more years.

3. Atlanta
Teams: Hawks (NBA), Falcons (NFL), Braves (MLB),
Last title: 1995

Between the Hawks, Falcons and Braves, Atlanta has only brought home one title in the history of sports in the city. The Braves broke through in 1995, which isn’t really that long ago, but this city definitely knows what it is like to want a title. The Hawks have never made it to the NBA Finals while in Atlanta. The 2016 Falcons made it to the Super Bowl and blew the largest lead in the history of the game. It marked the second time the Falcons lost in the championship. Looking at the Braves, they lost four other World Series during the ’90s. Had it not been for that World Series in ’95, Atlanta might very well top this list.

2. Buffalo
Teams: Bills (NFL), Sabres (NHL)
Last title: N/A

Western New York is home to one of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports. The aptly named “Bills Mafia” provides a fun home field advantage whenever the Bills are hosting. Sabres fans have suffered through many years of woeful play on the ice, but still support the team nonetheless. Between these two franchises, Buffalo has appeared in six different championships, winning none of them. The Bills came up short in four consecutive Super Bowls! Talk about torture for fans. The Sabres made two different runs to the Stanley Cup final over the years, but fell short in both. It was the NHL team who made Buffalo’s last championship appearance in 1999. Up until last year, the Bills hadn’t even been to the playoffs since 1999. What holds Buffalo back from the top spot is the fact that the city only has two teams.

1. Minneapolis
Teams: Timberwolves (NBA), Twins (MLB), Wild (NHL), Vikings (NFL)
Last title: 1991

21 years ago was the last time a team from the Twin Cities won a title. Minneapolis is home to some of the most tortured fan bases in sports. On one hand, you have the Vikings. The Purple People Eaters lost four Super Bowls from 1969 to 1976. The Vikings have never made it back to the big game since their loss in ’76. It seemed like they would in 1998, with a historically good offense, only to lose in their first playoff game that year. Then there are the Timberwolves. Minnesota finally broke the second longest playoff drought in NBA history in 2018 after 13 years of failing to qualify. In a league where more than half the teams make it to the postseason, that is quite a feat. The Wild haven’t been in town long, but like the Timberwolves, have never even reached the finals. The Twins are the only team in town with a title, but have not returned to the World Series. While Minneapolis has won a title, none of the teams in the city have even reached the championship stage in the 27 years since. This city is starved for a title and well-deserving of the top spot on our list.

2018 Aftermath NFL Mock Draft

Welcome back fans of the Aftermath for another mock draft. I brought back my usual cast of characters to help me for another year. Jack Venezia, Matt Luppino, Brian Mandel and I each rotated through the first round of the draft, making the selection we feel each team should make. We did not allow for trades in this mock draft. This won’t be how the first round goes, but this is how we think it should go.

  1. Browns- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
    The decision here is between Rosen and Darnold. I went with Rosen because Darnold seems to be more turnover prone of the two and the Browns definitely want to limit their turnovers as much as possible. -JV
  2. Giants- Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
    The Giants need to decide on who their favorite quarterback is in the draft and base this pick on what Cleveland does. If he’s there, take him happily; otherwise, you trade down or take Chubb, a great player to replace the outgoing Jason Pierre-Paul. Rosen was my guy, so Chubb it is. -ML
  3. Jets- Sam Darnold, QB, USC
    In my opinion, he’s the best quarterback on the board. The Jets can continue rebuilding with the new centerpiece of their offense. Darnold is perfect for a modern-day offense with a great arm and good mobility. -BM
  4. Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
    The Browns could very reasonably trade down with a team like Arizona or Buffalo here, but with a player as talented as Barkley on the board, they pull the trigger. He could be a game changing running back on an offense that already has Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon, not to mention that Rosen kid. -CM
  5. Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
    If Chubb falls to them Denver will definitely jump on him. More likely, it will either take a quarterback or trade down. Since we don’t mess with trades in this mock draft I took the quarterback who I thought would best develop behind Keenum for a few years. -JV
  6. Colts- Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
    This assumes that Andrew Luck is ready to play quarterback again. With Chubb and Barkley gone, the Colts need to ensure that he can stay upright, and a great offensive line prospect who projects like his fellow Irishman, Zach Martin, definitely fits the bill. -ML
  7. Buccaneers- Derwin James, S, Florida State
    The Bucs were hoping Barkley would fall. Instead, they draft James because they need more help for their secondary. Although Fitzpatrick is debatably a bit better, James is a good player in his own right and Tampa loves drafting Florida players. -BM
  8. Chicago Bears- Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
    I came very close to selecting Denzel Ward here, but Fitzpatrick’s versatility reminds me a little of Tyrann Mathieu. He has the ability to play nickel corner or safety over the top. He becomes a player quarterbacks must account for when playing Chicago. -CM
  9. 49ers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
    The Niners offense is clicking but their secondary needs some help. If Minkah Fitzpatrick falls to them they might consider taking him here, but I rate Ward as a better overall talent. This was an easy pick in that regard. -JV
  10. Raiders- Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
    The Raiders can either go with the pass rushing enforcer in Roquan Smith, or the imposing presence of Edmunds. They won’t go wrong with either, so I will go with the wrecking ball with rocket boosters. -ML
  11. Dolphins- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
    Although a bit of reach, the Dolphins desperately need another good corner. Alexander should be able to come in on day one and start. He and Xavien Howard give Miami two young corners to develop. -BM
  12. Bills- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
    Not sure that Baker makes it this far, or that Buffalo would let him. I also think Miami would swoop in if he did slide. Finally, the Bills have their man. This gives them a piece to retool this offense around after gutting most of it over the past year. -CM
  13. Washington- Vita Vea, DT, Washington
    Washington has to find a way to stop the run and taking a defensive tackle like Vita Vea early could be the fix. It could also reasonably go with a safety. Some have them taking a running back, but I think Barkley will be long gone and none of the other backs are worth it at 13. -JV
  14. Packers- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
    Green Bay is at its best when Aaron Rodgers has weapons to throw to, usually in the form of three wide receivers that make the defense spread thin. Davante Adams had a breakout year, but Randall Cobb regressed, and Jordy Nelson left. Ridley’s polish and speed are very tempting. -ML
  15. Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
    With the retirement of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals need their quarterback of the future. I truly believe Jackson can be a quarterback at the pro level. Being drafted by the Cardinals will put him in the perfect situation to develop behind Bradford for a year or two. -BM
  16. Ravens- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
    Ridley would be a nice fit for Ozzie Newsome’s team with the Alabama connection. Instead, he will swallow his school pride and draft a Bulldog who can make an immediate impact on this defense. There are a lot of different areas of need for Baltimore, but this is the best player available. -CM
  17. Chargers- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
    Just imagine a first round defensive tackle next to Joey Bosa. The Chargers will have a wall which opposing running backs will bounce off of. If Payne and Vea are not available San Diego/LA might go for a safety. -JV
  18. Seahawks- Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
    A transcendent corner known for creating turnovers and locking down top receivers leaves Seattle, and the NCAA’s leader in interceptions and passes defended is on the board. Jackson can be the next Richard Sherman in that system. -ML
  19. Cowboys- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
    A massive hole has been created with the departure of Dez Bryant. With Ridley off the board, Moore is the best wideout available. The Cowboys will be getting a larger version of Stefon Diggs in Moore, and the former is already a great receiver. -BM
  20. Lions- Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
    Harold Landry may be tempting here, but the ceiling of Davenport is even more enticing. He could be the athletic counterpart across from Ziggy Ansah by 2019 or his replacement if the Lions can’t work out a long-term deal. -CM
  21. Bengals- James Daniel, C, Iowa
    Andy Dalton could use some more time in the pocket after some struggles last season. The offensive line in general is not great this year, but a late first rounder is worth it for a center who could become a leader in years to come. -JV
  22. Bills- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
    With the quarterback position locked up with Mayfield earlier, the Bills now have other holes to fill. While a WR here like Courtland Sutton is an option, Buffalo lost their starting LT Cordy Glenn this offseason. Taking the best tackle on the board is a no brainer to protect their new toy. -ML
  23. Patriots- Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
    Everyone in the NFL would regret Belichick getting his hands on Landry. Landry is a great talent that underperformed this year and would be coming into one of the best situations in the NFL with the Patriots. -BM
  24. Panthers- Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
    Courtland Sutton seems like an option, but Carolina’s offense seems to find ways to succeed with an odd group. Instead, it’s time to address the Josh Norman-shaped hole in this defense. His size is enough to convince the Panthers to take him. -CM
  25. Titans- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
    Tennessee’s front seven needs help all over the place. Tennessee won’t necessarily take the best player available, but it will probably take the best defensive lineman or linebacker available. In this case that’s Evans. -JV
  26. Falcons- Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan
    The Falcons desperately need a lineman to fill the Dontari Poe-sized hole left after he signed with division rival Carolina. They will be ecstatic to see Hurst still available here, as some believe he may be the best one in the draft in spite of not working out at the combine. -ML
  27. Saints- Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
    With the three best defensive linemen off the board, the Saints should look towards their offense. Brees isn’t getting any younger, so they should do anything they can to make sure he stays upright. -BM
  28. Steelers- Billy Price, C, Ohio State
    The void at middle linebacker is huge, but I don’t trust Malik Jefferson enough to pick him here. Instead, I will go with the best player on the board. Price has a lot of versatility and will fill in nicely whenever Ramon Foster decides to hang up his cleats. -CM
  29. Jaguars- Connor Williams, OT, Texas
    The question here is: how can Jacksonville help Fournette run the ball more? I think they either go with a wide receiver who stretches the field or offensive lineman who can create running lanes for him. I went with Williams to fill the second option. -JV
  30. Vikings- Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
    Big need on the offensive line for Minnesota, and it has 84 million reasons to protect new QB Kirk Cousins. They take the best available one here and look to do the same next round. -ML
  31. Patriots- Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
    Nate Solder left to join the Giants this offseason, and the Patriots need a replacement. Even with the injuries Miller can still be a good offensive tackle. This will fill out what was a good first round for New England. -BM
  32. Eagles- Sam Hubbard, Edge, Ohio State
    What to do with a team that has very few holes. Fans may clamor for Darius Guice, but I like the edge rusher from Ohio State. He provides some depth to this Eagles pass rush that was dominant at times last season. Look for Philly to trade down if the guy they want is no longer on the board. -CM