NFL Future Power Rankings: Evaluating the core of every franchise as it projects for the 2015 season : Packers Insider

NFL Future Power Rankings: Evaluating the core of every franchise as it projects for the 2015 season

June 28, 2012 by  
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NFL Future Power Rankings

~Evaluating the core of every franchise as it projects for the 2015 season

~By Trent Dilfer, Mel Kiper, Gary Horton, Matt Williamson | ESPN Insider

Peering into the future of the parity-driven, rapidly changing NFL can seem like a daunting challenge. For starters, teams turn over, on average, about 20 percent of their rosters each season. But when you consider that most of the players caught in that roster churn are essentially replaceable parts and that the true pillars of a franchise — stud quarterbacks and young impact players — usually remain firmly fixed in its foundation, you can see it is possible to get a glimpse of how each team projects down the road. And you can see that some roads are paved a little more smoothly than others.

2015 NFL Power Rankings

In consultation with former NFL GM Bill Polian, we pinpointed five categories essential to projecting the future of an NFL franchise: roster, quarterback, draft, front office and coaching staff. We then weighted each category according to its importance to success. (For a more detailed breakdown on each category and its weighting, see our methodology). Next, Polian stepped away to allow four of ESPN Insider’s other NFL experts — Mel Kiper, Trent Dilfer, Gary Horton and Matt Williamson — to evaluate every franchise in each category as they project for the 2015 NFL season.

The Packers have plenty of players who should just be into their prime by 2015. Jermichael Finley could blossom into the game's best TE by then.

Will their evaluations flawlessly stand up in three years’ time? In a league as fluid as the NFL, it is unlikely, and we acknowledge that. But they provide some interesting conclusions about what’s truly important to succeeding on a perennial basis in the NFL, specifically the value of a franchise QB. And although some teams might experience a down year, the squads at the top of this list are well suited for sustained success over the long term.

These ratings also provide a broad, well-informed outline of which teams are heading in the right direction and which have plenty of work to do before they climb into the ranks of Super Bowl contenders. So, how do our experts see the NFL stacking up in 2015? Take a look.

  • 1
Green Bay Packers
LAST SEASON: 15-1 (first place NFC North)

The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category.
Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.

Roster: With impact players on both sides of the ball, the high-scoring Packers might actually have more stars on defense than offense in three years. This is especially true among their front seven, led by DT B.J. Raji and OLB Clay Matthews. The Packers’ WR group is aging and the run game is inconsistent, but the Packers will continue to find quality weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers. — Gary Horton

Quarterback: Right now, Rodgers plays the position about as well as we’ve seen it played. He’s also only 28. That said, is Green Bay comfortable with the current backup situation of Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman? Matt Flynn‘s absence at least creates the question. — Trent Dilfer

Draft: The Packers worked hard to fix the front seven in the 2012 draft. How well they are able to draft pass-rushers will define the next few years, but this is an exceptional scouting department in which finding great value is routine. — Mel Kiper

Front office: GM Ted Thompson heads a very efficient scouting staff and believes in building a team through the draft rather than spending a lot of money in free agency. What’s more, the Packers often re-sign that in-house talent, using the open market only to fill specific needs. It’s a model that promotes enduring success. — Horton

Coaching: This coaching staff has great experience and stability and combines a blue-collar work ethic with extreme attention to detail. Nobody in the NFL teaches basic fundamentals like this staff, headed by Mike McCarthy. The Packers are creative and innovative on both sides of the ball, work well together and respect one another. This is a family atmosphere that coaches embrace and do not want to leave. — Horton

  • 2
New England Patriots
LAST SEASON: 13-3 (first place AFC East)

The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category.
Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.

Roster: Led by TEs Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and LB Jerod Mayo, the Pats are absolutely loaded with young talent on both sides of the ball. Depending on QB Tom Brady, and quarterbacks are not relevant for this category’s rating, New England should be among the best teams in the league for the foreseeable future. — Matt Williamson

Quarterback: He’ll be 35 in Week 1 of 2012, but Brady looks as comfortable as he has ever been. The tight ends are devastating, and now a deep threat has re-emerged. Beyond Brady, I really like Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Mallett lurks deep on the bench as an intriguing talent. The Pats are loaded here. — Dilfer

Draft: More misses than people realize, but huge hits on Gronkowski and Hernandez — which were actually risky picks — changed the whole offense. Now, selections of DE Chandler Jones and LB Dont’a Hightower will help decide how we’ll remember the final years of the Brady era. If the defense improves, more Super Bowl trips await. — Kiper

Front office: The Patriots’ “Front Office” is awfully similar to their Coaching category below. Of course everything here revolves around Bill Belichick, and few should doubt his ability to assemble a great NFL roster. — Williamson

Coaching: Belichick is the best head coach in the league and has a tremendous ability to consistently find excellent assistant coaches. There is no reason whatsoever to think that will change down the road unless Belichick decides to hang it up. — Williamson

  • 3
New York Giants
LAST SEASON: 9-7 (first place NFC East)

The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category.
Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.

Roster: Today, this is a very solid roster with playmakers on both sides of the ball, but there will be some needs to fill in the next couple of years. The Giants will be young and competitive at WR with Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks & Co., but this is an old O-line and running back will need to be upgraded. On defense, they have stars in DE Jason Pierre-Paul and (I believe) CB Prince Amukamara to build around. — Horton

Quarterback: He has the baby-brother look, but Eli Manning turns 32 this season, and since his 1-6 record as a rookie, he has started all 16 games in seven straight seasons. He has had his INT issues but is an elite passer when he gets comfortable with his targets. He has many good years ahead. — Dilfer

Draft: Nicks and Pierre-Paul constitute back-to-back aced first-round picks in 2009 and 2010. They need to get more from Amukamara and hope RB David Wilson stays healthy. But adding major value while winning Super Bowls isn’t easy. — Kiper

Front office: Although senior vice president and GM Jerry Reese runs the show, there are several layers of accountability. Stability is critical, the roles are well defined, everybody is on the same page in player acquisitions and the coaches are encouraged to have moderate input. They have a philosophy they strongly believe in, and their decisions are not based on emotion and whimsical changes. — Horton

Coaching: Tom Coughlin runs one of the most stable coaching staffs in the league. It is loaded with NFL veterans who have been with him for a long time, and the continuity is very impressive. This is not a flashy staff, but the coaches are very thorough and consistent. As long as Coughlin wants to coach, the Giants will have a stable situation. But he could retire in the next couple of years, and that could change everything. — Horton

Rest of list here

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