NFL Power Rankings: Pre-NFL Draft

My current NFL Power Rankings for pre-NFL Draft of the 2023 NFL Season. The Jets and Dolphins surge for trades they’ve made or will make.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2024 NFL Mock Draft during the early stages of the 2023 season. Follow @walterfootball.

I’ve gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don’t see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don’t worry; the Colts and Texans aren’t my top teams.

NFL Power Rankings updated April 13, 2023

  1. Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals (4-13) – Previously: 30.
    The Cardinals are a mess. J.J. Watt has retired, Kyler Murray is coming off a torn ACL, and there’s talk that DeAndre Hopkins is on his way out. The good news is that the Cardinals reportedly have six suitors for the No. 3 overall pick, so they could obtain a ton of draft choices, allowing them to rebuild.

  2. Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans (7-10) – Previously: 25.
    It’s hard to imagine the Titans bottoming out, but that’s exactly what’s happening. They lost their top three offensive linemen, as well as some other talented players, and there are rumors that they’ll be trading Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard. For this reason, Tennessee is one of the favorites to land either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye next April.

  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) – Previously: 29.
    Tom Brady has retired, and if he changes his mind again, he’s likely going to sign elsewhere. The Buccaneers will have the same issues entering 2023 as they had last year, except Brady won’t be under center anymore. It seems as though the Buccaneers are in great shape to obtain either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye atop the 2024 NFL Draft. I’ll be updating my 2024 NFL Mock Draft soon.

  4. Houston Texans Houston Texans (3-13-1) – Previously: 32.
    The Texans finally won’t be the worst team in the NFL. Or so we think. There has suddenly been some speculation that Houston will pass on a quarterback at No. 2, which is completely asinine. Not that it can’t happen, but it would be a completely idiotic decision, and we’re talking about a franchise that has done so many dumb things over the years. In fact, passing on either C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young would be even worse than Bill O’Brien’s infamous DeAndre Hopkins trade.

  5. Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers (7-10) – Previously: 27.
    The Panthers traded up for the No. 1 overall pick, so they have a bright future ahead of them. Well, maybe. The Panthers made some horrible moves in free agency, overpaying Adam Thielen, Miles Sanders, and Hayden Hurst. They also dealt D.J. Moore to the Bears. Whether the pick is C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young, that quarterback won’t have much around him to succeed right away, and if I were him, I’d worry about my front office’s ability to make correct decisions.

  6. Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1) – Previously: 31.
    It remains to be seen what the Colts will do at quarterback. I don’t think they will draft Will Levis, so I believe they will either trade up for Anthony Richardson, try to sign Lamar Jackson, or select Hendon Hooker in the second round. One of those options would turn the Colts into an instant Super Bowl contender. The former and the latter would likely give the Colts a record similar to the one they accumulated last year.

  7. New England Patriots New England Patriots (8-9) – Previously: 21.
    The scuttlebutt coming out of New England is that Bill Belichick wants to trade Mac Jones. Given that news, I’m even more shocked that Belichick didn’t go to Bailey Zappe last year. I guess a late-round quarterback prospect can’t ever beat out a first-round pick, especially one wearing a red, white, and blue jersey.

  8. Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers (8-9) – Previously: 19.
    Aaron Rodgers is as good as gone; it’s a matter of the compensation the Packers will receive for him. Given that the Packers have very little leverage, there’s no way they’ll ever get a first-round pick from the Jets. In fact, I think a second-rounder is too much!

  9. Chicago Bears Chicago Bears (3-14) – Previously: 28.
    The Bears have added tons of talent in free agency. They signed a very talented guard in Nate Davis, as well as two excellent linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards. They also traded for D.J. Moore to give Justin Fields a legitimate No. 1 receiver. There’s little doubt that the Bears are out of the NFL’s cellar. They may even have a chance to reach the playoffs.

  10. Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons (6-11) – Previously: 26.
    The Falcons could be the best team in the NFC South after signing Calais Campbell, Jessie Bates, and David Onyemata. I know that’s like crowning the winner of a beauty pageant comprised of nothing but 400-pound women, but at least it’s something. Besides, you never know what can happen in a one-and-done playoff format.

  11. Washington Redskins Washington Redskins (8-8-1) – Previously: 22.
    The Redskins will reportedly give Slingin’ Sammy Howell a chance to start in 2023. I’m a fan of this move, as I liked Howell coming out of North Carolina. I was frustrated that he didn’t get much of a chance as a rookie until the final week of the season. I also don’t like that the Redskins lost their top linebacker, Cole Holcomb, as the position was already problematic.

  12. Baltimore Ravens Baltimore Ravens (10-7) – Previously: 15.
    Lamar Jackson may not be back next year, so it’s tough to rank the Ravens at the moment. Then again, if Jackson leaves, they’ll have another Pro Bowl quarterback ready to take over as the full-time starter /s.

  13. Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Rams (5-12) – Previously: 14.
    Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald will be back next year, so the Rams will be way more competitive than they were in the second half of 2022. However, the Rams have some major offensive line issues that haven’t been addressed this offseason. Furthermore, the Rams lost Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd, and a couple of other key players. It’s safe to say that the Rams’ Super Bowl window has closed.

  14. New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints (7-10) – Previously: 20.
    The Saints never had a chance last year with so many injuries. They could be better this upcoming season, but it seems as though they’re spinning their tires with Derek Carr, who is as mediocre as it gets. I’d rather see the Saints finally blow everything up and begin from scratch because they’re in store for nothing but seven-, eight- and nine-win seasons on the horizon.

  15. Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks (9-8) – Previously: 24.
    The Seahawks were terrible metrics-wise late in the year, so it’s not a surprise that they struggled to close out the season. However, with Bobby Wagner added to the mix, as well as two picks in the top 20 (including No. 5 overall), Seattle has a good chance to actually be worthy of a playoff spot in 2023.

  16. New York Giants New York Giants (9-7-1) – Previously: 16.
    I expected more from the Giants this offseason. They had the fourth-most cap space in the league, so I thought they’d make a big splash. To be fair, they had to re-sign Daniel Jones and franchise Saquon Barkley, but I still feel like they’ve missed out on improving their roster.

  17. Las Vegas Raiders Las Vegas Raiders (6-11) – Previously: 13.
    I bet the Raiders to win the Super Bowl, but only because I thought there was a good chance Aaron Rodgers would want to join his former teammate, Davante Adams. Instead, the Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo, who won’t be able to manage games as well now that he won’t have an elite roster around him. That said, the Raiders have a good roster, so I think a playoff appearance is a possibility. This would almost be a certainty if the Raiders were in the NFC, but the extremely difficulty of the AFC could keep them home come mid-January.

  18. Minnesota Vikings Minnesota Vikings (13-4) – Previously: 11.
    I’m used to calling the Vikings overrated, but I actually bet them to win Super Bowl LVIII. I kid you not! Check out my NFL Super Bowl Odds page for more!

  19. Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys (12-5) – Previously: 8.
    It was fairly obvious that the Cowboys will not be able to sustain playoff success with the trio of Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The former is gone, but McCarthy needed to be jettisoned as well. Instead, the Cowboys moved on from their innovative offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore. This left McCarthy talking about how he wants to “run the damn ball.” What year does this guy think this is, 1998?

  20. Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns (7-10) – Previously: 18.
    It feels weird to say this, but if Deshaun Watson can be as good as Jacoby Brissett was last year, Cleveland will have a chance to make the playoffs because it bolstered its defensive weaknesses by signing Dalvin Tomlinson and Juan Thornhill, and retaining Anthony Walker. Watson was worse than Brissett in 2022, but he’ll have an entire offseason to re-adjust to the NFL after so much time off.

  21. Los Angeles Chargers San Angeles Chargers (10-7) – Previously: 9.
    How can Brandon Staley keep his job after two debacles in six days? He somehow got Mike Williams injured by playing him in a meaningless game, and then followed that up by blowing a 27-0 lead six days later! Making matters worse, the only player the Chargers added in free agency was a decrepit Eric Kendricks.

  22. Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) – Previously: 7.
    The Jaguars had a disappointing end to their season because they weren’t very competitive with the Chiefs. However, they’ll have Calvin Ridley joining the offense this year, which will provide a huge boost for Trevor Lawrence. This will allow the Jaguars to focus on upgrading their defense, which they’ll have to do in the draft because they didn’t do anything of the sort in free agency.

  23. Denver Broncos Denver Broncos (5-12) – Previously: 23.
    The Broncos appear to have solved the two issues that prevented Russell Wilson from playing well last year. The first was the miserable coaching, which Denver upgraded with Sean Payton. The second was some miserable blocking. With Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers signed, and Garett Bolles returning from injury, Denver will have strong blocking in 2023. There won’t be any excuses for Wilson this upcoming season, so I think there’s a chance we’ll see the Broncos live up to their 2022 expectations this upcoming year.

  24. Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8) – Previously: 10.
    Kenny Pickett will have experience entering the 2023 season. He’ll also have T.J. Watt on the other side, which is crucial because the Steelers were 8-2 with Watt last year. The Steelers also improved their offensive line this offseason by signing Isaac Seumalo. If they draft well, they could certainly threaten a deep playoff run this upcoming January.

  25. San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers (13-4) – Previously: 5.
    Like Tom Brady in 2001, Brock Purdy got hurt in the championship game, but unlike the Patriots, the 49ers didn’t have a viable backup, so they lost. Brady struggled in his second year as a starter, failing to get his team to the playoffs. Purdy could have similar issues because he needs surgery on his elbow. Purdy also won’t have his excellent right tackle, Mike McGlinchey, who signed with the Broncos this offseason.

  26. Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) – Previously: 6.
    I bet the Eagles to win the Super Bowl ahead of the 2022 season. I will not be doing so for 2023 because they lost both coordinators as well as some key free agents. That said, the Eagles retained more players than I thought they would, so the argument can be made that they’re still the best team in the NFC.

  27. Detroit Lions NFL Power Rankings Detroit Lions (9-8) – Previously: 4.
    The Lions were 8-2 to close out the year. They’ll have Jameson Williams boosting their offense in 2023, and they also made three significant upgrades to their defense. An argument can be made that Detroit is the best team in the NFC. The sharps agree, as they’ve been betting the Lions heavily to win the Super Bowl, dragging the odds down from 33/1 to 21/1.

  28. Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins (9-8) – Previously: 17.
    It’s all about Tua Tagovailoa’s health. If the Dolphins, who acquired Jalen Ramsey, David Long and DeShon Elliott this offseason, can have their starting quarterback remain on the field, they’ll have a legitimate chance to make a Super Bowl run. Unfortunately for them, Tagovailoa hasn’t been able to play every game in a season yet in his pro career.

  29. New York Jets New York Jets (7-10) – Previously: 12.
    I bet the Jets to win the Super Bowl before the Aaron Rodgers announcement occurred, so I’m happy with that decision. There’s a chance this deal could take a while, but Rodgers won’t need any time to adjust to Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. This ranking, by the way, assumes that Rodgers will be on the roster come September.

  30. Kansas City Chiefs NFL Power Rankings Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) – Previously: 3.
    I don’t think the Chiefs were the best team last year. They struggled to separate themselves from most opponents during the regular season, then needed some horrible calls and a slippery field to win two of their three playoff games. They still won, so they deserve credit for that, but I don’t see them repeating.

  31. Buffalo Bills Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Previously: 2.
    The Bills were a completely different team after Von Miller got hurt on Thanksgiving. They blew out the Patriots the following Thursday, but didn’t have a convincing win after that. Even their 35-13 victory over the Bears was misleading, as Buffalo trailed 10-6 at halftime in that game. The Bills, however, have done a good job of bolstering their offensive line, so they could be better in 2023 than they were in the first half of 2022.

  32. Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) – Previously: 1.
    Cincinnati’s injury-ravaged offensive line finally caught up with them in the AFC Championship after it was a non-factor in the prior round. It has to be frustrating that the blocking was still an issue one year after the team lost because of it in the Super Bowl. The Bengals, to their credit, tried once again to improve their blocking by signing Orlando Brown. I’d say this makes them the favorite to win the Super Bowl this year, but the AFC is going to be a grind, as usual.

    2023 NFL MVP Projection:

    Coming during the regular season

    Go to 2023 NFL Mock Draft

2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 9

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12

2022 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings | Post-Free Agency Power Rankings | Post-NFL Draft Power Rankings | Post-Preseason Power Rankings | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

2021 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings | Preseason Power Rankings | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | Playoffs |

2020 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | Playoffs |