All 32 NFL Team Roster Rankings


Earlier this offseason, I created a spreadsheet with every projected starter at every position for all 32 teams. I was inspired by ESPN's Mike Clay, who assigned a numerical value to every position, and then constructed an overall defensive and offensive rankings system. I loved the idea of being able to visually see every team’s strengths and weaknesses. It would be a great tool to use during the season to analyze matchups, betting lines, and overall season performance. The hardest part was readjusting the rankings every time a player was signed, injured or traded. So I had to hold off on my final list until every roster was finalized and each free agent signed. Yeah, I’m looking at you Mr. Clowney. Although I had a few problems with Mike's model, I think I perfected his original idea with my own twist. 

In Clay’s spreadsheet, he split every position (WR, QB, LT, RG, and DE, CB, S) and assigned a numerical rank . The problem I had with the idea was that the real impact of those positions was coming from the players as a group. In my model, I combined WR and TE into receiving core, and -LT, RG, C, etc.- into O-line. Because, in reality, some teams rely on their TE's more than they do their WR's, so the value is offset. For example, Philly's offense has the best TE group in the league with less of an emphasis on its receivers, compared to, let’s say, the Dallas Cowboys. Does that make their receiving core that much worse? Or can they produce similar numbers in a different way? These are questions I ran into when compiling my own list, but it made me more confident in my own findings after I came up with a solution of positional groupings. 

Another problem I saw was that Clay gave each position a numerical value out of 4 (being the highest) and 1 (being the lowest). The top group got a 4 and the second group got a 3.9, 3rd got a 3.8, and so on and so forth. But when you think about it, is the second best team really .1 worse than the team above it? Dallas, New Orleans and Indianapolis all have great O-lines, but is Dallas really .2 points better than Indy? Or could they all be worth 4's? Does the Washington O-line really deserve a 0.1? Are they even a competent O-line with a 0.1 rating? By my equation, some teams had the same numerical value as others making every team’s number value closer to the teams above and below them. In reality, each NFL team is talented in their own way and it's always by a closer margin than most people think. 

Not to shit on Mike Clay's rankings or anything, but there are just too many flaws that were under analyzed. You might be thinking that I have some underlying beef with ESPN, I think that I just did it better because I’m a narcissist in that way and I really don’t have many better things to do while Clay is overseeing a number of other things for ESPN’s NFL department. Another problem I ran into was this: coaching. You can’t possibly assign a numerical value to offensive coordinators or head coaches who have an immense impact on the games. So this is my caution warning for when teams seem too high or too low, it's because of this coaching discrepancy. I'll save you some trouble and start off by saying the Patriots are way too low after finishing the rankings, so hold your fire. Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time and I mean no disrespect, but a key number of their players opted out of the season or will be playing their first season in a Patriots uniform. Without further ado, here are my rankings based on pure talent.

Offense 

For each offensive position I gave a ranking out of 4 and then gave each positional group a percentage of impact based on positional importance. Here are my values for each position: 

  • Quarterback 40%

  • Offensive linemen 30%

  • Wide receiving core and tight ends 25%

  • Running backs 5%

  1. Kansas City Chiefs - 3.92

  2. New Orleans Saints - 3.84

  3. Dallas Cowboys - 3.835

  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3.72

  5. Cleveland Browns - 3.595

  6. Philadelphia Eagles - 3.575

  7. Green Bay Packers - 3.54

  8. Indianapolis Colts - 3.54

  9. Baltimore Ravens - 3.51

  10. Seattle Seahawks - 3.51

  11. Houston Texans - 3.51

  12. Atlanta Falcons - 3.475

  13. Pittsburgh Steelers - 3.45

  14. San Fransisco 49ers - 3.435

  15. Detroit Lions - 3.425

  16. Tennessee Titans - 3.36

  17. Arizona Cardinals - 3.35

  18. Las Vegas Raiders - 3.325

  19. Minnesota Vikings - 3.25

  20. Cincinnati Bengals - 3.135

  21. Los Angeles Rams - 3.12

  22. Buffalo Bills - 3.105

  23. Los Angeles Chargers - 3.035

  24. Denver Broncos - 3.05 

  25. Carolina Panthers - 2.99

  26. New York Giants - 2.98

  27. New England Patriots - 2.93

  28. Chicago Bears - 2.93

  29. Jacksonville Jaguars - 2.78

  30. New York Jets - 2.655

  31. Miami Dolphins - 2.63

  32. Washington Redskins - 2.525

Takeaways:  You're probably thinking to yourself, "how does a team like the Ravens, who led the league in offense last year, end up as 9 overall?" It was hard to assign value to Lamar purely as a QB because he is so much more than that, and like I said earlier, I couldn't account for the league’s best offensive coordinators. So the Ravens, 49ers, Rams and Cardinals all are too low on this list. Kyle Shannahan, Greg Roman and Kliff Kingsbury are definitely in that boat of the best coaches in the league, so if I ignored the number value then they would all be bumped up on this list. These are purely based on roster talent, and the Ravens did lose a Hall of Fame guard in Marshall Yanda— #HawksintheNFL— this offseason.

Defense:

  • Defensive linemen 35%

  • Linebackers 25%

  • Defensive backs 40%

  1. Baltimore Ravens - 3.865

  2. Chicago Bears - 3.84

  3. Los Angeles Chargers - 3.78

  4. Buffalo Bills - 3.75

  5. New Orleans Saints - 3.715

  6. Tennessee Titans - 3.715

  7. San Fransisco 49ers - 3.71

  8. Pittsburgh Steelers - 3.705

  9. Dallas Cowboys - 3.68

  10. Denver Broncos - 3.68

  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3.65

  12. Minnesota Vikings - 3.585

  13. Seattle Seahawks - 3.555

  14. Green Bay Packers - 3.43

  15. Arizona Cardinals - 3.425

  16. Indianapolis Colts - 3.35

  17. Detroit Lions - 3.34

  18. Miami Dolphins - 3.33

  19. New England Patriots - 3.325

  20. Atlanta Falcons - 3.305

  21. Los Angeles Rams - 3.32

  22. Philadelphia Eagles - 3.31

  23. Cincinnati Bengals - 3.29

  24. Cleveland Browns - 3.285

  25. Kansas City Chiefs - 3.265

  26. Las Vegas Raiders - 3.255

  27. Carolina Panthers - 3.255

  28. Washington Redskins - 3.2

  29. Houston Texans - 3.195

  30. Jacksonville Jaguars - 3.05

  31. New York Giants - 3.025

  32. New York Jets - 2.84

Takeaways:  The Patriots, Rams and Eagles all came out to be lower on this list than I expected. Yet again, we run into another play caller impact problem because Bellichek and Jim Schwartz are both the cream of the crop when regarding defensive play-callers. The Rams are pretty talentless if you take out Donald and Ramsey who both will have greater impacts than my list imposes. Also, I think i overvalued the Cardinals defense because I couldn't decide on what position Isaiah Simmons will play. 

Final Rankings: 

(Offense 65%, Defense 35%)

  1. New Orleans Saints - 3.8

  2. Dallas Cowboys - 3.78

  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3.7

  4. Kansas City Chiefs - 3.69

  5. Baltimore Ravens - 3.63

  6. Pittsburgh Steelers - 3.54

  7. San Fransisco 49ers - 3.53

  8. Seattle Seahawks - 3.525

  9. Green Bay Packers - 3.5

  10. Cleveland Browns 3.49

  11. Tenesse Titans - 3.48

  12. Philadelphia Eagles - 3.48

  13. Indianapolis Colts - 3.47

  14. Atlanta Falcons - 3.42

  15. Houston Texans - 3.4

  16. Detroit Lions - 3.39

  17. Arizona Cardinals - 3.385

  18. Minnesota Vikings - 3.37

  19. Buffalo Bills - 3.33

  20. Las Vegas Raiders - 3.3

  21. Los Angeles Chargers - 3.29

  22. Denver Broncos - 3.27

  23. Los Angeles Rams - 3.19

  24. Cincinnati Bengals - 3.18

  25. Chicago Bears - 3.17

  26. Carolina Panthers - 3.08

  27. New England Patriots - 3.04

  28. New York Giants - 2.99

  29. Miami Dolphins - 2.88

  30. Jacksonville Jaguars - 2.87

  31. Washington Redskins - 2.76

  32. New York Jets - 2.72


Final Thoughts: 

Honestly I think this list is pretty solid, the teams with the best QB's got the biggest boost and the offenses carried. Which fits the trend that's taking place in the league where offense is king. As I finished this list it gave me a better idea of who was going to make it down the stretch. So, just for the sake of this piece i'll drop my predictions for the rest of the season. 

Division Winners: 


NFC North: Green Bay Packers

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys

NFC South: New Orleans Saints

NFC West: San Fransisco 49ers

Wild Cards: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles

AFC North: Baltimore Ravens

AFC East: Buffalo Bills

AFC South: Tennesse Titans

AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs 

Wild Cards: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts

SB Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Kansas City Chiefs


SB Champion: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


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