The dog days of summer are here. NFL fans haven’t had football since February. Free agency and the NFL draft have come and gone. I currently find myself watching football games from past seasons over and over again. However, one can only watch the “Philly Special” so many times before there is a craving for something new. For me, that craving has overtaken me in full force.
Therefore, I find myself finding ways to satisfy that need. Welcome to the fruits of my labor with this ranking of all 32 NFL roster. Within this ranking, each team’s level of talent, their depth of that talent, and how well that team is set up for the long-term is evaluated. Some of these results are certainly surprising. I came into this project believing one thing and finished it believing another. Readers should keep in mind that these are not “power rankings” or predictions of these team’s standings in the upcoming season. This is a complete roster evaluation. I devised a rankings system to numerically grade each team. I graded each position group and eventually, a composite score was formulated.
Because of the myriad of information contained here, it will gradually come out as a four-part series. Stay tuned for the rest of the rankings!
Without further adieu, let’s begin with teams 32-25.
32. Buffalo Bills
Yes, the Buffalo Bills were a Wild Card team in 2017. Yes, the team supposedly has found their quarterback of the future. And yes, this team still has LeSean McCoy. However, despite all of these things, the roster as a whole still has a lot of work to be done.
While the team may have drafted Josh Allen, this team still has a lot of questions marks at the quarterback position. Second-year pro Nathan Peterman struggled in limited playing time last year and free-agent addition A.J. McCarron has only started three games in his four-year career. Any one of these three could start week one for the Bills and odds say that it would not end well.
This team is wrought with young talent. However, they are simply too deficient at multiple positions. With good talent, there needs to be a mix of veteran experience and that is what this team is lacking. With that being said, this team has made moves to get themselves going in the right direction. They have acquired quality young talent at premium positions. However, their star player, McCoy, is on the wrong side of the running back age threshold as he’ll be 30 when the season starts. But, if everyone else develops like the front office believes they will, then this team could be very good in a couple years. For now, it is a rebuild.
31. New York Giants
An aging star quarterback and a good defense is this team’s story. Unless Davis Webb or Kyle Lauletta is the answer, the team has failed to find a viable contingency plan should Eli Manning retire. The theme of the Giants off-season has been finding ways to prolong Manning’s career. First-year general manager Dave Gettleman drafted the incredibly talented Saquon Barkley in the first round and then selected road grater Will Hernandez in the second. The only real qualm about the offense is the aging quarterback situation and the lackluster offensive line. Minus those two points, this offense is very scary and has the potential to put up gaudy numbers.
If this team is going to win football games in 2018, it is going to be by running the football and playing good defense. Moving on to the defense, the big pieces are there, but this team still needs help in order to make this philosophy work. The team needs some more proven talent at the cornerback and linebacker positions.
The real question when it comes to this roster is the longevity. Gettleman has made some moves to get the team going in the right direction, but they still have some work to do to increase their overall longevity as competitors in a very competitive NFC.
30. New York Jets
There is a lot to like about the direction that the Jets are headed. However, there are also some glaring holes.
To begin, this quarterback group might be the most competitive one in the league. With the likes of former standout Teddy Bridgewater, the wily veteran in Josh McCown, and first-round pick Sam Darnold, this competition is going to be one of the most fun to watch come training camp. I am not particularly a fan of the receiving corps or the running back situation. Robby Anderson is a suspension waiting to happen and Isaiah Crowell has a history of barely cracking four yards per carry.
The safety tandem of Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams might be the best duo of young safeties in the NFL. Add these two to the talents of defensive lineman Leonard Williams, linebacker Avery Williamson, and big money free-agent Trumaine Johnson, then the defense starts to look pretty formidable.
While this Jets roster has some bright spots like the ones mentioned above, it also has its pitfalls. Every good team has a high-quality offensive lineman, and this is one position where the Jets are lacking. Give this team another couple years to acquire some more talent and get future franchise quarterback Darnold some more help, then we will talk. Who knows though, maybe this group outperforms their “on-paper rating,” just as they did in 2017.
Looking at the Redskins as a whole, the roster screams average. Alex Smith, for most of his career, has been average. This defense is average. There is only one position that really sticks out on this entire roster and that is the receiver position.
Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder should prove to be a thorn in the sides of defenses. If Jordan Reed can stay healthy, then he will just add to the fire that is receiving options. Vernon Davis has been good when called upon, despite being 34 years old. Head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh will look to scheme touches for both Chris Thompson and rookie Derrius Guice.
The defense is another story. A majority of the defensive unit is aging or has made a career out of being just average. Second-year pro Jonathan Allen and rookie Daron Payne will look to anchor this defense for the foreseeable future. However, I would not expect much from this defensive unit in 2018.
28. Miami Dolphins
It is not saying much, but I am actually a little bit higher on the Dolphins then I thought I was going to be.
Ryan Tannehill, if he can stay healthy, can help this team to relevancy. The offensive line unit and running back group are ones that I favor. The offense is young and continues to develop well, despite losing Mike Pouncey. Kenyan Drake should continue to develop into a starting role after promising flashes from 2017. The receiving corps is my biggest concern. It seems as though Miami has made a point to acquire every quality small-bodied receiver.
The defensive unit is this team’s strength currently. The defensive front is sneaky good with talent, youth, and depth along the front. This unit can absorb the loss of Ndamukong Suh more than others could. The secondary is on the rise with the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cordrea Tankersley, and Xavien Howard. The linebackers are young and do lack experience, but they have the talent to be impactful players in the near future.
As a whole though, this roster has holes at key positions. The team could desperately use some depth and versatility at key positions and this will continue to hurt them.
Like Washington, the Bengals find themselves under the curse of being just average.
Stemming from their quarterback play, this team will only go as far as Andy Dalton will allow them to. The receiving corps could be good, but I have my doubts. A.J. Green, at 30 years old, is not getting any younger. 2017 first-round pick John Ross saw only 17 snaps in his rookie campaign. After that, the rest are even bigger question marks. One obvious deficiency in 2017 was the team’s offensive line play. The Bengals did their best to address the unit in the off-season, but still have work to be done.
Like the Dolphins, this defense has a chance to be pretty good. The defensive front is deep and young. At linebacker, Vontaze Burfict is incredibly talented but lacks the discipline to avoid suspension. After Burfict, there is not much to call home about other than rookie Malik Jefferson, who will need time to adjust to the pro game. William Jackson is a star in the making, but you need more than one quality corner in today’s NFL.
The Bengals will be a competitive bunch in 2018 but aren’t necessarily set up for a long-term future. The team has several holes to address in the near future.
26. Oakland Raiders
Jon Gruden has definitely made his return to the league a noticeable one. However, many of the moves that he has made have been vigorously scrutinized.
Gruden took over a roster that disappointed in 2017 and failed to live up to their expectations. This team is ripe with former NFL stars who have now entered their post-prime part of their careers. But even some of the younger talent that Gruden has brought in does not appear to have been the best of moves. The consensus among experts is that the Raiders reached for offensive tackle Kolton Miller in this year’s draft.
This Oakland team may be able to compete in 2018, but in no way is the team set up for the future. The evaluation of the roster was pretty straightforward: aging. There are many question marks moving into the 2018 season and beyond.
In terms of overall talent level, the Colts roster is severely lacking. However, the roster’s saving grace is the youth. There are only five players over the age of 30 on the roster and they should all be starters or significant contributors in 2018. Also, Andrew Luck.
Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett may be the best backup in the NFL which in turn negates the Luck injury factor, just a little bit. General manager Chris Ballard has done a great job of adding competition at all levels of the roster. Coupling this mentality with the overall youth of the roster should yield favorable results.
With that being said, this team is a long way from competing for any championships. What separates this team from the ones listed above is the premium talent they have at a few positions. It seems as though the plan to let the rest of the roster work itself out.
If you didn’t see your team ranked above, then stay tuned to see where they land.