Just a couple of days ago, I presented to you FOXSports.com’s Adam Caplan and his first post-draft power rankings where he had the Pats in at number 8. To me, it seemed kind of low for a 14-2 team returning a majority of the roster. On the flip side, USA Today has posted their latest post-draft power rankings, and they have the Pats in the number 2 spot, just behind the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Between Caplan’s ranking and USA Today’s ranking, that’s a six-spot difference.
Where do the Patriots really fit in the present power rankings?
I feel that the Patriots fit somewhere in between the 2nd and 8th spots. The Packers should unquestionably be in the top spot. They have earned that right and have done nothing thus far to detract from that. Next, I would place the AFC Champion Steelers in the second spot. They slapped LaMarr Woodley with the franchise tag so they shouldn’t lose any significant players, and they have earned the right to be #2. From there, it’s wide open between the Pats, Saints, Falcons, Ravens, and Jets for the rest of the top five. At this point, I would have to place the Pats ahead of the Jets, despite losing to them in the playoffs, for the simple fact that the Jets have some free agent questions that have yet to play out due to the lockout. Losing players like Braylon Edwards or Shaun Ellis could have a significant impact on the team.
After that, you can make solid arguments for any of the other teams I mentioned based on what they did in the draft. Here’s the rest of USA Today’s Top 10 (one thing you’ll notice is that it is AFC top-heavy):
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New England Patriots
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. New York Jets
6. New Orleans Saints
7. Atlanta Falcons
8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. San Diego Chargers
10. Indianapolis Colts
Side Note: USA Today ranks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dead last. Last!! Not the Panthers, not the Bills, but the Buccaneers! The Buccaneers were contenders for the playoffs and are a team on the rise. Perhaps they are not a top 10 team, but last??!!