2024 NFL power rankings: Cowboys free-falling, Bears surging after draft

The first post-NFL Draft NFL Power Rankings are finally here
2024 NFL Power Rankings
2024 NFL Power Rankings / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages
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16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Year one of the Baker Mayfield era was such a resounding success in Tampa Bay that the Buccaneers gave him a $100 million contract. Mayfield, the former #1 overall pick in the draft, was outstanding for much of the season for the Bucs, proving that with a full offseason in an offense, he's capable of leading a team not just into the postseason but to a postseason victory.

How much better can the Bucs be this coming season? That remains to be seen, but obviously this Bucs roster is loaded with home-grown talent. The biggest question right now might be whether or not Mayfield can work as well with new offensive coordinator Liam Coen as he did with Dave Canales, who's now in Carolina.

15. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are apparently "all in" this offseason, but on what exactly? They've lost so many key players and coaches, it's hard to see them getting much better. You can't help but feel like Dallas missed its most competitive window over the last three years, squandering it with disappointing playoff performances.

I don't see how this team is going to be better offensively or defensively with the losses they've had, and I think Philadelphia is poised to rebound in the NFC East. The Cowboys are still probably a 10-win team, but they're going to take a step bak in 2024.

14. Indianapolis Colts

I'm projecting a bit with the Colts, but I'm really high on the overall combination they've got offensively and defensively. Anthony Richardson needs to stay healthy, because nobody needs to see what this team would look like with extensive Joe Flacco reps at quarterback.

This Colts team is fast, they're athletic, and they're much tougher defensively than people really give them credit for. Shane Steichen did a tremendous job getting the ship right in 2023.

13. Atlanta Falcons

What an offseason for the Atlanta Falcons. General manager Terry Fontenot has been with the franchise since 2021, and up to this year, he hadn't really made any bold moves at the quarterback position at all. That might have cost Arthur Smith his job, but the decisions made by Fontenot in 2024 might cost him his job, oddly enough.

Fontenot signed Kirk Cousins to a massive contract in free agency, seemingly going all in on the former Vikings signal caller. Then he used the 8th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Michael Penix Jr.

What? Why? The Falcons are talented and a player like Cousins -- if healthy -- could really take this team to the nex level. It just feels like things are now going to be very weird in Raheem Morris's first year on the job there in Atlanta.