NFL Power Rankings: Risers, fallers after free agency

ESPN Illustrtation

There has been no shortage of movement this offseason, and now it's time to make some sense of it.

The ESPN power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how the NFL stacks up following the initial surge of free agency. (Hint: The league has shifted quite a bit since our way-too-early edition.)

Note: These are based on which teams would win head-to-head. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. ESPN Stats & Information's John McTigue contributed the following.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 13-3
Way-too-early ranking: 2

One of the reigning champs' biggest strengths was the defensive line, which featured a league-high seven players with at least 400 snaps last season. The Eagles lost two contributors, Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, but replaced them with two players with eight combined Pro Bowls: Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata.

2. New England Patriots

2017 record: 13-3
Way-too-early ranking: 1

One of the Patriots' biggest weaknesses last season was their front seven, allowing the second-most yards per rush and the most time to throw on passes. They've traded for Danny Shelton and signed Adrian Clayborn, who had 9.5 sacks in 2017, to bolster the defensive front.

3. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 13-3
Way-too-early ranking: 4

The 2018 offseason will be defined by the signing of Kirk Cousins. Consider this for a moment: The Vikings have been around since 1961, and they've never had a quarterback throw for at least 20 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. Cousins has thrown at least 25 touchdown passes in three consecutive seasons.

4. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 11-5
Way-too-early ranking: 6

Drew Brees re-signing for two years is the best news for the Saints this offseason, but they've also added pieces to their resurgent defense. Demario Davis, Alex Okafor and Patrick Robinson all join a defense that allowed eight fewer points per game in 2017 than in 2016.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 13-3
Way-too-early ranking: 3

The biggest question for the Steelers is whether they can work out a long-term deal with Le'Veon Bell, who was once again franchised. Bell has accounted for 75 percent of the Steelers' rushing yards over the past two seasons, the only player to surpass 70 percent.

6. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 11-5
Way-too-early ranking: 9

The Rams had one of the biggest offensive turnarounds in NFL history last season. This offseason the Rams are adding 12 Pro Bowls between Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib to a defense that already featured the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald.

7. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 10-6
Way-too-early ranking: 7

The Falcons filled a big need by signing guard Brandon Fusco to bulk up the interior of the offensive line. The defensive line has taken a hit, though, with Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn both signing elsewhere. The duo played the second- and third-most snaps along Atlanta's defensive line last season.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 10-6
Way-too-early ranking: 5

The Jaguars saw a huge turnaround in 2017 and are continuing to build on that success. No team ran more between the tackles in 2017, so they signed an All-Pro guard in Andrew Norwell to help. No team had fewer receptions at tight end last season, so they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins to fix that.

9. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 7-9
Way-too-early ranking: 8

The splashy signing of Jimmy Graham will certainly shore up a tight end group that combined for two touchdowns last season, tied for fewest in the NFL. But that move didn't come without sacrifice, and how will Aaron Rodgers react without his old favorite target? Rodgers has thrown more touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson in his career than any other player (65).

10. Houston Texans

2017 record: 4-12
Way-too-early ranking: 15

The Texans allowed the most points in the NFL in 2017, so plugging gaps on the defense was crucial. Tyrann Mathieu, who leads all players in interceptions when lining up as a slot corner the past five seasons, and Aaron Colvin, who was the slot corner on the Jaguars' stout defense last season, are good starts.

11. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 6-10
Way-too-early ranking: 14

Only the Packers allowed a higher Total QBR on passes to wide receivers than the Niners did last season, so the addition of Richard Sherman should pay immediate dividends. With a huge defensive need addressed and Jimmy Garoppolo locked in, San Francisco is in good shape heading into the draft.

12. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 11-5
Way-too-early ranking: 10

The Panthers were able to mitigate the loss of defensive tackle Star Lotulelei by bringing in Dontari Poe, but the Panthers haven't done much to mitigate the loss of All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell yet. The Panthers already ranked 24th in yards per rush between the tackles last season, so losing Norwell won't help.

13. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 11

The Seahawks ranked 13th in points allowed last season, the first time since 2011 they ranked outside the top three. With Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane all gone -- and more changes potentially coming -- it's possible Seattle could slip even further.

14. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 10-6
Way-too-early ranking: 12

The Chiefs made a big splash in acquiring Sammy Watkins for new starter Patrick Mahomes, but the defense has seen better days. Marcus Peters, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Ron Parker and Terrance Mitchell are all gone, and all have been big contributors in recent years.

15. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 16

It had been a relatively quiet offseason for the Chargers, but they recently swooped in to secure three-time Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey after he was released by the Dolphins. Los Angeles ranked 27th in average rushing yards before contact last season.

16. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 17

Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel is now the head coach. Former Patriots running back Dion Lewis and former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler are the highlight of Tennessee's free-agent class. We're noticing a trend here: The Titans are not sitting back idly after ending an eight-year playoff drought last season.

17. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 13

Ultimately franchising DeMarcus Lawrence and tendering David Irving will likely be looked back on as the biggest moves for Dallas this offseason. The duo accounted for 57 percent of the Cowboys' sacks last season, the third highest of any pair in the NFL.

18. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 20

The Lions ranked 27th in total defense last season but there will be a lot of new faces on Detroit's defense in 2018. Gone are Haloti Ngata, D.J. Hayden, Tahir Whitehead, and in are Sylvester Williams, DeShawn Shead and Christian Jones.

19. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 5-11
Way-too-early ranking: 23

The Broncos ranked 30th in team Total QBR last season, so they went out and got the quarterback who finished second among QBs in 2017. If Case Keenum can provide some stability to the position, Denver could find itself back in contention.

20. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 7-9
Way-too-early ranking: 22

Kirk Cousins is on to Minnesota and Alex Smith is in for Washington. Will there be much of a difference? Over the past three seasons they have near identical Total QBRs -- 62 for Cousins and 61 for Smith. Cousins has thrown for 20 more touchdowns, but Smith has thrown 16 fewer interceptions over the same span.

21. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 6-10
Way-too-early ranking: 18

Jon Gruden and the Raiders have been keeping themselves busy this offseason, adding 14 free agents from other teams. The one Derek Carr might appreciate the most is Jordy Nelson, who has the fourth-most receiving touchdowns since 2011.

22. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 7-9
Way-too-early ranking: 28

The Bengals' free-agent signings have included a punter, a backup quarterback and one-year deals for linebacker Preston Smith and tight end Tyler Eifert. They did acquire offensive tackle Cordy Glenn in a trade, but otherwise it has been a quiet offseason in Cincinnati.

23. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 21

Tyrod Taylor helped end a 17-year playoff drought in Buffalo, so naturally the Bills made a switch at quarterback. After trading Taylor to the Browns, the Bills signed AJ McCarron and seem intent on drafting a quarterback in the first round.

24. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 9-7
Way-too-early ranking: 19

Baltimore's wide receivers made little impact last season, catching 55 percent of targets (29th), dropping 5.6 percent (29th) and recording 2.9 yards after the catch (last). The Ravens brought in Michael Crabtree and John Brown to fix that, allowing last year's top receivers -- Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin -- to walk.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 5-11
Way-too-early ranking: 24

The Bucs' defense had a lot of holes last season. They finished last in total defense, last on third down, last in sacks and pressure percentage and allowed the highest completion percentage to opposing wide receivers. They've already acquired Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein to help the pass rush, but more work needs to be done in the draft.

26. New York Jets

2017 record: 5-11
Way-too-early ranking: 29

The Jets have allowed 60 touchdown passes the past two seasons while intercepting only 19 balls, the second-worst TD-INT ratio in the NFL over that span. They threw big money at Trumaine Johnson this offseason -- a self-described "game-changer" -- and he'll need to be to help fix the Jets' defense.

27. New York Giants

2017 record: 3-13
Way-too-early ranking: 30

Nate Solder will bring much-needed stability to the Giants' offensive line next season, and should help allow Eli Manning return to form. Because of the Giants' offensive issues last season, Manning was forced to throw shorter and earlier than almost any other year of his career.

28. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 5-11
Way-too-early ranking: 31

The biggest need in Chicago was at wide receiver. No Bears wide receiver caught multiple touchdowns last season, and the group combined to rank 31st in receiving yards. The team addressed that need by signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel.

29. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 8-8
Way-too-early ranking: 26

The Cardinals entered the offseason with no quarterbacks signed for 2018, and now they have two: Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. There's a good chance Arizona will need both this season, too. Bradford has missed 48 games in his career, and has played all 16 games just twice in eight NFL seasons.

30. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-16
Way-too-early ranking: 32

The Browns went winless last season, so it's no surprise that they've tried to overhaul some of the roster. If there's one thing for sure that we know about the 2018 Browns, it's that they are young. Punter Britton Colquitt and tight end Darren Fells are currently the only players aged 30 or older on the roster.

31. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 4-12
Way-too-early ranking: 26

For a team that ranked 30th in points allowed and yards allowed last season, the Colts really haven't done much to address the defense. The only outside defensive free agent they've brought in since the start of the league year is defensive end Denico Autry, who has 10.5 career sacks in four NFL seasons.

32. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 6-10
Way-too-early ranking: 27

Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, Mike Pouncey, Jermon Bushrod, Julius Thomas and Lawrence Timmons are among the Dolphins' losses this offseason. That's a lot of talent departing. But they have added some players, too -- just older ones. The incoming include Frank Gore (34), Danny Amendola (32) and Josh Sitton (31).