The NFL Draft is a big day for several reasons. Players are watching their lifelong dreams come true and teams are building for their future. Every NFL franchise’s future success starts right here.
The 2020 NFL draft was filled with prime talent on both sides of the ball, but especially at wide receiver as 37 players were drafted this year. One of the best edge rushers we have ever seen at the college level in Chase Young was selected second overall and his teammate Jeff Okudah, who had a stellar career at defensive back, was selected third. Every pick comes with the expectation that the player will become an asset for their team’s future success. That future success will be predicted here, in my first look at the 2020 NFL season power Rankings.
32. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are moving on from the Cam Newton era and going full force with Christian McCaffrey after making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. With a new head coach in Matt Rhule, the franchise is clearly ready for its next chapter. They picked up Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson in free agency and went all-in on defense in the draft with all seven selections on that side of the ball. It will take some time for them to all get on the same page and get back to winning. Matt Rhule knows who could be their franchise guy after this year and that is why I think the Panthers will tank for Trevor Lawrence.
This division is going to be incredibly difficult to win in. The New Orleans Saints are the most complete team in football, the Atlanta Falcons are getting healthier on defense and added Todd Gurly to their already explosive offense. To top it all off, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and added to their defense in the draft. Bridgewater’s success last year in New Orleans was done with a great supporting cast that Carolina does not have; he’s a good bridge quarterback for the next guy Rhule brings in.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville is in the midst of a rebuild after an appearance in the AFC Championship game only three years ago. They moved on from Tom Coughlin but his tenure came with the cost of trading away Jalen Ramsey and having other players want out of Jacksonville. They added key additions in free agency that will help with the overall leadership of the team moving forward.
In round one they found a defensive back that can shut down one half of the field and another pass rusher to go alongside Josh Allen. The potential of the offense is in question with Gardner Minshew at the helm. His success this season will decide the future of this team going forward.
30. Chicago Bears
On day two of the draft the Chicago Bears had their opportunity to add to their team and they did so with tight end Cole Kmet and cornerback Jaylon Johnson. The Bears traded for Nick Foles this offseason and are riding on the back of Mitchell Trubisky making the right reads this next season. Their offense did not get any better through the draft and Matt Nagy’s seat is getting red hot. The Bears could be making a lot of changes next offseason.
29. Washington Redskins
Washington has built a scary defensive line over the last several drafts and added to it again this year with Chase Young. The Redskins have completely revamped their front office and the direction of their franchise. But after drafting Young at No. 2 overall, it feels like there were not any other beneficial picks made. They have a receiving corps that was coming into its own late last season with Dwayne Haskins, so there is some hope they build off that with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner.
28. New York Giants
The New York Football Giants are putting together quite the offense for their future. With a top 10 running back, quarterback, and now left tackle. On the defensive side of the ball, they are improving their secondary and doing their best to get depth at linebacker in hopes one of them hits to become a productive starter. The Giants are still a couple of years away from making any real noise in the NFC East, but they are definitely closing the gap.
27. Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is returning this season after recovering from an injured back. The Lions did their best to help get interior offensive line help and even took a productive running back in D’Adre Swift in round two. And while the Lions do have a good young tight end and receiving corps for Stafford, the issue for them is closing out close games and staying healthy. Matt Patricia is still working on creating Detroit into the next “New England” but he may need some more time in restructuring the franchise and team. The team is getting closer to being productive and dangerous if they can put it all together.
26. Miami Dolphins
Miami spent money on improving its defensive line and their secondary in free agency this offseason. In the draft, they are hopeful they found their franchise quarterback and left tackle in the first round. The Dolphins are rumored to have spent last season tanking for the guy they wanted in Tua Tagovailoa and now they have him. He is coming into a team with a rebuilt offensive line and a slightly underrated receiving corps that includes a potential game-changing tight end in Mike Gesicki. The Dolphins have done a good job building their foundation on both sides of the ball for the future.
25. New York Jets
The Jets desperately needed a left tackle and a receiving weapon for Sam Darnold and hit on both of those with their first two picks in the draft. We have seen the Jets add big pieces in the past and need to see true production from those acquisitions if they’re to compete in the division. Could they make one more move this offseason for an edge rusher? I think they do. That’s the one piece they desperately need to find more success in the upcoming season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati has officially moved on from Andy Dalton and is ready to roll with their No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow. If his play translates from college the Bengals are in for one hell of a ride. The Bengals receiving corps really came into their own last season without AJ Green in the lineup. With the addition of Tee Higgins and a healthy Green, the Bengals have put Burrow in a great position to succeed. Their biggest obstacle this next season will be competing in a division with the Baltimore Ravens and a monster offense in Cleveland and the always competitive Pittsburgh Steelers. They may be a couple of years away, but right now they have laid their foundation down nicely and are ready to build on it this next season.
23. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are now on the move to Vegas and stuck to their Al Davis roots when they drafted the speedster out of Alabama, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. Their next picks were questionable but one player that could be a significant impact for the offense is wide receiver Bryan Edwards, their third-round pick out of South Carolina. Jon Gruden appears to have his offense set in place, but is the defense up to par with the rest of the offensive firepower in the division? The real question for the Raiders is if Derek Carr is their answer at quarterback in Vegas or is Gruden ready to go another direction for his offense?
22. Houston Texans
Bill O’Brien has changed the Texans offense in many ways and attempted to add help for the defense through the draft. But quarterback Deshaun Watson still needs time to make throws and the Texans have not done much to help that aside from trading for Laremy Tunsil. The Texans only made things worse for Watson after they traded star wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. Are Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, and Will Fuller really an upgrade for Watson? It doesn’t seem like things are getting better anytime soon.
21. Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles has spent the last couple of years making big trades and spending money, but this has left them in quite a predicament now coming off a disappointing season and heading into an expensive new stadium. They moved on from Todd Gurley’s contract this offseason after releasing him and drafted running back Cam Akers in the second round. The Rams need this rookie class to make an immediate impact if they want to compete in the division and make another playoff appearance.
20. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers would be ranked higher if Phillip Rivers was still in town. There is the unknown of who will actually be the starting quarterback for the Chargers this next season, but this team is ready to compete now if they can avoid the injuries or bad plays that have derailed their seasons in the past. The Chargers have a fresh start with a new young quarterback in Justin Herbert and a brand new stadium. This defense is primed to be dangerous, they just need the offense to match them.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Last year many thought the Falcons would be competing with the Saints for the division title, but injuries on the defense early in the year destroyed the season. They used the draft this year to build up the defense as a whole. The offense appears primed to compete at a high level with the addition of running back Todd Gurley and one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. Once head coach Dan Quinn’s defense gets lined out and is healthy the Falcons are going to surprise the people that overlook them from last season’s performance.
18. Denver Broncos
A round of applause needs to be given to John Elway for his draft this year. They did a fantastic job of adding weapons to this offseason for Drew Lock. Drafting wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler to go along with Cortland Sutton, Noah Fant and Melvin Gordon could put the offense over the top. The Broncos are in a tough division but Elway is doing what he can to make sure they are competing at the highest level possible.
17. New England Patriots
This may upset some, but Tom Brady is no longer QB1 for the first time since 2001. Jarrett Stidham has officially been announced the man of the future and has received high praise from people inside the building. The defense is still going to be a weapon for them, but the true question mark comes with the offensive line and the receiving corps. Stidham could be off to a good start with Julian Eldeman and N’Keal Harry at wide receiver if both are healthy. All eyes will be on New England this season, but right now there are too many question marks to be comfortable with ranking them higher.
16. Cleveland Browns
Another year, another new head coach and general manager for the Browns. The one thing they have lacked for years is consistency. Hopefully, they have found that now as they have one of the best offenses in the league on paper. Odell Beckham Jr. is coming back from a January surgery and the front office spent money to sign right tackle Jack Conklin and help protect Baker Mayfield. Now they need Baker to make smart decisions with the ball and let the game flow naturally, instead of forcing throws and trying to win games with one play. They have a young defense, but will need them to generate turnovers and stop opposing offenses if they hope to compete with the Baltimore Ravens.
15. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are going to be a fun team to watch this next season. Not only did they trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but they added a star defensive player when adding Isaiah Simmons in the draft. They listed him as a linebacker but that man is going to be ALL over the field for them. The Cardinals are doing their part to ensure they are not placing last in this division much longer.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger will be fighting for that Comeback Player of the Year award this season coming off elbow surgery. Drafting wide receiver Chase Claypool will be huge for their offense in addition to having JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington. The defense was a focal point last season and now they are ready to roll. It would not be a surprise to see the Steelers atop the North once again in 2020.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
At first look, this draft class is very questionable but it’s clear the Eagles wanted to add speed and depth to their roster. The receiving corps is fast and they will be able to open up the field for Alson Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Miles Sanders. The defense added cornerback Darius Slay in free agency which will be a huge help for their secondary in matching up with the Dallas Cowboys. Another year of a healthy Carson Wentz and the Eagles are going to be explosive on both sides of the ball.
12. Tennessee Titans
Some might consider last year a lucky season for the Titans, but they are ready to do it all over again with the same attack back for the 2020 season. Derrick Henry is wanting a contract extension and realizes he needs another big year to earn it. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was the difference-maker for them once he took over and really opened up their offense. Mike Vrabel’s defense reloaded with cornerback Kristian Fulton in the draft and others in free agency. The Titans are ready to show that last year was not luck.
11. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts thought they were primed to go on a run for the Super Bowl last season, but then Andrew Luck retired. This season they have their quarterback in veteran Phillip Rivers and a new supporting cast including one of the best offensive lines in football (something he never really had with the Chargers), a receiving corps that has every piece needed to be successful and a great set of running backs. The defense has a young, experienced nucleus that is ready to rock. The Colts will be making a LOT of noise this next season and I am picking them to win the AFC South.
10. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota reloaded what they lost in free agency through the NFL draft. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson could flourish in this offense with key pieces around him and not being the sole focus of the defense. Dalvin Cook, when healthy, has shown the ability to be one of the best running backs in the NFL. The Vikings also added several defensive players through the draft that will help them out right away. They are getting younger in key areas and with an experienced quarterback in Kirk Cousins, the Vikings should be in a close race for the NFC North.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Talk about a great draft. The Dallas Cowboys landed Cee Dee Lamb, one of the best receivers in the draft, at pick No. 17, then grabbed Trevon Diggs in the second and may have found their new starting center in Tyler Biadasz. The Cowboys do not have many holes on this team. If all goes well with new head coach Mike McCarthy, Dallas should see a deep playoff push.
8. Buffalo Bills
The offseason addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs is just what this offense needed. The Bills are primed to win the AFC East with the New England Patriots finally in their rearview mirror. They have a rebuilt offensive line, weapons for Josh Allen, and a defense that has been groomed by head coach Sean McDermott and a big-time addition with defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa. Buffalo has an opportunity to do something they have not done in 25 years—win the AFC East.
7. Green Bay Packers
The Packers went 13-3 last year and got walloped in the NFC Championship game by the San Francisco 49ers. A major factor in that loss was the lack of linebackers to stop the run game. Most would think they would attack that in the draft, but the front office instead selected a strong-armed quarterback and a bulky running back in the first two rounds. They did add Christian Kirksey in free agency, so they must be comfortable with their new look at linebacker. It sounds like the Packers should be higher on the list, but they have Aaron Rodgers and a set of receivers that he has a connection with. Their defensive secondary has experience playing together now and will be ready to roll. The Packers should be just fine going into next season and have a mindset of redemption after the way their season ended in the NFC Championship game.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The addition of Tom Brady into this offense has shot them up the rankings. Last year they were losing close games on pick-sixes. This next year they have their great receiving core, O.J. Howard and now Rob Gronkowski. Tampa Bay added offensive line help in round one and then went to get Tom Brady more help on offense and build on their young defense. All eyes are on Brady next year, but the rest of this team is ready and it’s going to be one hell of a year in Tampa Bay.
5. Seattle Seahawks
When the Seahawks were going to Super Bowls, everyone talked about the Legion of Boom and overlooked their defensive line that had fantastic depth and created consistent pressure. They got back to that in 2020 with a draft that added much-needed depth to the defensive line.
The offense looks great, with the only issue the running backs staying healthy late in the year. With everyone coming back the Seahawks are ready to compete in the NFC west once again.
4. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers were one completion or one defensive stop away from winning the Super Bowl. Now fans are discussing moving on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. But many forget he just came off an ACL tear and did his part in taking them to the Super Bowl. The 49ers replaced every piece they lost this offseason in the draft. Defensive line starter, speedy wide receiver and a franchise left tackle. The 49ers have completely reloaded and should be in a position to repeat their success from last year.
3. Baltimore Ravens
It happens every year. The Baltimore Ravens draft a defensive player and everyone asks themselves, “how did this guy fall to them?”. The Ravens added key pieces to their linebacker corps and defensive line. They also landed replacements for the offensive line with Marshal Yanda retiring. The best addition though might be their second-round pick in running back J.K Dobbins. He will instantly add to the running game and the Ravens will be back to destroying teams on the ground once again this season.
2. New Orleans Saints
This may be the most complete team in the NFL. There were not very many holes for them to fill this offseason but they got great additions in center Cesar Ruiz and linebacker Zach Baun. The last couple of years have included devastating losses for the Saints but this next year will be their year as they make one last run with quarterback Drew Brees before his retirement after the season.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Super Bowl Champions got even better with this draft as they added a top receiving back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. In round two they added an athletic linebacker in Willie Gay Jr. The two areas they needed consistent production in, they now have. The Chiefs are bringing everyone back on offense and only lost two starters on defense this offseason. Kansas City is ready to run it back and Chiefs Kingdom is pumped.