Senior NFL Columnist

NFL Power Rankings: Plenty of risers after NFL Draft but Pats still No. 1


What a wild time it's been in the NFL.

In the past few weeks, we had the Tom Brady suspension being upheld, Josh Norman dissed by his own team, then signing a mega-deal, the draft led by two teams trading to the top to get passers, the drop out of the first round by the draft's best player (Myles Jack … and a draft-night gas-mask video that will be hard to forget.

What offseason?

The NFL has done a remarkable job of making sure it's always in the news. The insatiable appetite of the fans makes it that way. We wouldn't have it any other way, either.

It's why post-draft Power Rankings, like the ones I have here, get so much interest. They might mean about as much as team's pre-draft public stance, but they are fun to do, and fun to discuss. Or at least I think they are.

The Patriots, even with Tom Brady facing a four-game suspension to open the season, remain in the top spot of these rankings, which means they will almost certainly be there when the next batch comes out before camp.

I think the Patriots can go 2-2 without Brady and with Jimmy Garoppolo, which means they will again win at least 12 games. The division is theirs. Then it becomes about the postseason, and we know how good Brady has been in the postseason.

The Arizona Cardinals are in the second spot, and they've made some major improvements on defense this spring. They traded to get pass rusher Chandler Jones from the Patriots and drafted Robert Nkemdiche in the first round. If they hit on those two, the defense might be able to match the explosive offense in terms of rankings.

That's good enough to make them the top NFC team in these rankings. There is a lot of competition, including in their own division with the Seattle Seahawks and, of course, the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.

It's mini-camp and OTA time now, and then a little short break before training camp, which is right around the corner.

Offseason? There isn't any. And that's just the way we like it.

The Cardinals, Cowboys and Jags look like contenders after the NFL Draft. ( Original)
The Cardinals, Cowboys and Jags look like contenders after the NFL Draft. ( Original)


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

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