Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: Way-too-early ranks for 2015

And the long wait begins.

At least the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks gave us a classic Super Bowl to remember over the long seven months that await before we get another competitive football game. The fans of 30 other teams had started thinking about the 2015 season a while ago.

To help pass the time through the NFL scouting combine, draft, free agency, training camp and preseason, here are the way-too-early NFL power rankings heading into the offseason. Think of it as a snapshot of where each team is at the moment, with a few guesses as to free agents re-signed, draft picks made and whether certain future Hall of Fame quarterbacks will come back for another year.

It will change dramatically over the next few months. But why not have some fun? It’ll be a long time before we have actual football again. So here are the insanely early 2015 NFL power rankings:

32. Tennessee Titans
Will they grab a quarterback with the second pick? Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have (much different) flaws. Zach Mettenberger showed some good things as a rookie. Whatever they do, they need to resist the urge to make a trade offer for Jay Cutler.

31. Washington Redskins
Just copy and paste all the “Can Robert Griffin III improve if he stays healthy?” stuff from last offseason. Nobody knows who the quarterback will be. And after one year of Jay Gruden, we can probably bet on an in-season change or five being made at the position anyway.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles (Getty Images)
Blake Bortles (Getty Images)

Blake Bortles didn’t have the rookie season everyone in Jacksonville hoped for, but you saw glimpses of the talent. Year 2 is enormous for him, just to show the franchise it has the right quarterback going forward. The Jaguars also have a massive amount of cap space to help him in free agency.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
They’ll choose a quarterback with the top pick, you’d assume, even if Lovie Smith has an odd fascination with Josh McCown. No idea what to say about them. There’s a lot of talent, and that meant absolutely nothing last year.

28. Oakland Raiders
Even with draft hits Derek Carr and Khalil Mack, there’s still a ton of work to do on the roster. General manager Reggie McKenzie had probably the worst free-agent period for any GM in NFL history (most cap room in NFL history and not one free agent signee who helps the franchise long term ... that's an almost impossible combination). They have to find a way to do better this time. A lot better. Then we can talk about moving them up.

27. Chicago Bears
Tough to say what the Bears will do with Jay Cutler. The smart move is to get out of the contract if anyone is willing to give them a "get out of jail free" card. But teams rarely make smart moves when it comes to middle-of-the-road quarterbacks.

26. Atlanta Falcons
A lot of people thought this team, aside from Denver, had the best roster among the franchises that made a change at head coach. I don’t really see it. Matt Ryan is good. Julio Jones is great. Who are their other blue-chip players?

25. New York Giants
It’s no guarantee that Victor Cruz returns to his old form. But if he does, he and Odell Beckham are a lethal 1-2 combination. It will be interesting to see what they do with free agent-to-be Jason Pierre-Paul, their fantastically talented defensive end.

24. Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert and Josh Gordon were supposed to be foundation players. Instead, there are serious questions about all three of them. The Browns just seem cursed. The major question this offseason is what to do at quarterback, and given that Manziel has checked himself into a treatment facility, can Cleveland let Brian Hoyer walk? This is a team that needs to hit on both first-round picks this year.

23. New Orleans Saints
Last year their depth was hit because of salary-cap woes. Those cap woes are even worse this year. They knew this day was coming, and it’ll be about minimizing damage.

22. New York Jets
I like the Todd Bowles hire a lot. The defense will be good. I just have no idea what they can do at quarterback.

21. Houston Texans
Have we gotten a decent explanation yet why the Texans didn’t draft Derek Carr? Or why they weren’t the team to move up for Teddy Bridgewater? Are they waiting for the next Andrew Luck to come along before picking a quarterback?

20. St. Louis Rams
At some point all of this talent has to produce more than a few quality wins and a ton of disappointing losses. They’re another team that could use a quarterback. Best of luck finding a good one.

19. Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater (USA Today Sports Images)
Teddy Bridgewater (USA Today Sports Images)

They will be a popular 2015 sleeper. There’s a lot of young talent and a quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater who seems to have a bright future. Now we just have to see what happens with Adrian Peterson.

18. Kansas City Chiefs
Stating the obvious: They’re not going very far with those receivers. The good news is they have a lot of other pieces. Losing Justin Houston in free agency would hurt though.

17. Buffalo Bills
Just like the Jets: great coaching hire in Rex Ryan, a defense that’s going to be fantastic, and not a lot of hope at quarterback.

16. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are finally emerging from salary-cap hell and could be a player in free agency again. Maybe that means they’ll finally help Cam Newton.

15. San Francisco 49ers
I just don’t see how they’re better off without Jim Harbaugh. There might be less drama in the office, and that’s great if that’s their goal. If the goal is winning, then I’m not so sure.

14. San Diego Chargers
The disappointing finish is tough, but a lot of key pieces return. Maybe with better health in 2015 and a key free agent or two, the Chargers can challenge for the AFC West.

13. Miami Dolphins
I believe in what they’re building. Ryan Tannehill’s improvement this year didn’t get nearly enough attention in a league that saw so many young quarterbacks slide. With a good offseason they could return to the playoffs.

12. Cincinnati Bengals
It was just a Pro Bowl, but it was also impossible not to notice how little confidence Andy Dalton has right now. In a game that features no defense he couldn’t complete a pass. Maybe that means nothing, but it also didn’t surprise anyone either.

11. Philadelphia Eagles
I know there’s probably a plug-and-play attitude with the Eagles’ offense, but that rarely works in the NFL. They might need to find a way to bring back receiver Jeremy Maclin. They need corners and pass rushers, but those won’t come cheap.

10. Baltimore Ravens
I think they’ll miss Gary Kubiak, who did a great job with the offense. There’s some concern that many of their key pieces are getting up there in age, but this franchise is a great model of consistency.

9. Detroit Lions

Ndamukong Suh (USA Today Sports Images)
Ndamukong Suh (USA Today Sports Images)

I think, somehow, the Lions manage to bring back Ndamukong Suh. And I know this was probably last year’s blurb, but all that talent has to pay off big one of these years, right?

8. Arizona Cardinals
While it’s a big leap to assume Carson Palmer is back to his normal self after ACL surgery (he took a long time to recover from his first one, and some would argue he never totally did), the Cardinals are a dangerous team if he is. They do need to figure out the Larry Fitzgerald situation, however. It’s hard to believe he comes back at his scheduled $23.6 million cap number.

7. Denver Broncos
I think Peyton Manning comes back. But what does that really mean? Can he play like the Manning from the first half of 2014? It’s also no small thing that receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas are set to hit free agency.

6. Indianapolis Colts
It just feels like they’re one monster draft from becoming a real championship contender. Andrew Luck is just going to keep getting better.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers
We’ll see big changes on the defense, with coordinator Dick LeBeau gone and with the future of veterans like Troy Polamalu up in the air. But the offense is going to be tremendous, though it needs tailback depth. There’s no point in having Le’Veon Bell wear himself out playing every snap.

4. Dallas Cowboys
I think Dez Bryant returns. I have no idea on DeMarco Murray, but I don’t know if anyone will pay him enough to pry him from the Cowboys. If both come back, I don’t have any reason to believe they’ll regress too much.

3. Green Bay Packers
NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is still in his prime, so they’ll be in the mix again next year. And probably for the next five or so years. They will need to re-sign receiver Randall Cobb, who can become a free agent.

2. Seattle Seahawks
I think they figure it out and bring Marshawn Lynch back, even with Russell Wilson getting his big contract extension. This is still a young team. It could use a true No. 1 receiver, but that’s not easy to find.

1. New England Patriots
No real reason to move them out of this spot, as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are around. The Patriots will have to try to find a way to bring back cornerback Darrelle Revis. Even if they can’t, you have to assume the organization will have an answer.

- - - - - - -

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting