AFC power rankings, post-free agency

The NFL free-agency period is all but over, with all the money finally settling down. It seems like a quiet period in the league, but in reality teams are hard at work prepping for the NFL Draft which takes place April 30-May 2 at Chicago, Ill. While we have a minute to catch our collective breath, here are the post-free agency power rankings:

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars added an expensive tight end who had under 500 yards last year, and Dan Skuta. Jacksonville has pieces, but a long road ahead.

15. Tennessee Titans

The Titans are building toward a respectable defense, but the offense is offensive. Is Zach Mettenberger the answer, or just a bridge to somebody else?

14. Cleveland Browns

The Browns have a nice roster in many areas, but the quarterbacks? Yikes. Cleveland is going to have a tough time climbing out of the AFC North basement.

13. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders added Curtis Lofton, Rodney Hudson and Dan Williams, along with a quality coach in Jack Del Rio. Still, Oakland is lagging behind the other three AFC West teams.

12. Houston Texans

The Texans were buoyed by a ridiculously easy schedule in 2013. This year? The AFC East and a second-place schedule come to visit. Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett leave plenty to be desired.

11. New York Jets

New York has the makings of a terrific defense, but the Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick duo is brutal. Also, the offensive line is still a problem.

10. Buffalo Bills

What was said about New York can be applied to Buffalo, just swap in EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel.

9. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have made the playoffs four straight years, and flamed out without a win each time. Cincinnati has talent, but the wheels are beginning to come off the Andy Dalton train.

8. San Diego Chargers

San Diego is not a Super Bowl contender, but it could make the playoffs. The major question is the front seven. Can they get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks?

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have great offensive talent, but the defense is old, mediocre and now without defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh makes the playoffs or goes 6-10.

6. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have been 8-8 both years under Joe Philbin, but seem poised to make a move. Ndamukong Suh adds to a great defensive line and Ryan Tannehill faces a make-or-break year.

5. Denver Broncos

This ranking depends on Peyton Manning. The Broncos lost a ton of talent in free agency, so Manning will have to be good for Denver to make the playoffs. If he plays poorly, this could get ugly.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City is ready to take over the AFC West. The Chiefs have a cavalcade of talent, especially after signing Jeremy Maclin and trading for Ben Grubbs. The Chiefs also get Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito back form injury.

3. Indianapolis Colts

With Andrew Luck, the Colts are always in the mix. Indianapolis has questions on defense, but the offense should be a fireworks show. With Andre Johnson, Todd Herremans and Frank Gore in the fold, this should be fun.

2. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore lost some key pieces in free agency, but nobody develops a roster better than Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh. The Ravens will still be a player in the AFC.

1. New England Patriots

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick. Until they are knocked off the throne, they stay on top.

About Matt Verderame

Matt Verderame, 26, is a New Yorker who went to school at the frozen tundra of SUNY Oswego. After graduating, Verderame has worked for Gannett and SB Nation among other ventures.