NFL training camp power rankings: Eagles have competition in NFC

Nate Davis
The status of Rams DL Aaron Donald (99) and Eagles QB Carson Wentz are among the NFL's major questions heading into the 2018 season.

Now that every NFL team is officially in the throes of training camp, it's as good a time as any to re-assess the league with a fresh batch of power rankings — our first since the completion of April's draft.

1. Eagles (1): On paper (games evidently aren't played there), lineup looks stronger than Super Bowl version, assuming Carson Wentz and Jason Peters are full go by Week 1 and Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata fully assimilate.

2. Patriots (2): No team more deserves benefit of doubt. Still, concerning Pats have so many new starters on offense and so few apparent upgrades on defense.

3. Falcons (3): Your fresh reminder that no team came closer to KO'ing Eagles in playoffs. Atlanta looks sufficiently loaded to reach Super Bowl on home field

4. Vikings (4): Don't be surprised if Dalvin Cook's return actually has more profound effect on 11th-ranked offense than Kirk Cousins' arrival.

More:Tom Brady, moving to Jay-Z, young as ever in his 19th New England Patriots training camp

More:Los Angeles Rams' championship visions hinge on chemistry of fiery defensive additions

The Ruling Off The Field:Disagree with any of this? Join these fans and sound off over here

5. Rams (5): Early to worry (much) about Aaron Donald given last year's holdout didn't ultimately hurt. Still, lot of moving parts on revamped defense.

6. Saints (7): Any more underrated player than WR Michael Thomas? He's one key to team with plenty of motivation to overcome 2017's missed opportunity.

7. Packers (10): Aaron Rodgers' return alone should vault them back to postseason. But success of new defensive philosophy could determine Pack's course.

8. Jaguars (8): Love the LOB-esque swagger, including DL Malik Jackson's 16-0 prediction. Still, will lack of offensive balance prove their undoing?

9. Chargers (6): They're already down two starters (TE Hunter Henry, CB Jason Verrett) yet still seem to have more than enough juice for a Lombardi push.

10. Steelers (9): Is Shazier-less D good enough? How will this preseason's Le'Veon Bell distraction play out? Already, usual combo of talent and sideshows.

11. Texans (12): Offensive line is a question but perhaps only one of major significance ... assuming Watt, Watson, Mercilus et al. bounce back as expected.

12. Titans (14): Unheralded secondary emblematic of team once again flying under radar but poised to do plentiful damage in AFC South and maybe beyond.

13. Panthers (13): Cam Newton's arm has plenty of whip, but is Torrey Smith enough of a vertical threat to keep defenses from packing in against Carolina?

14. Redskins (20): If first-round 'Bama products Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne can solidify defensive line, as expected, Washington could be dark horse.

15. Broncos (11): Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders seem like key beneficiaries of Case Keenum's arrival. Run game, secondary in transition will be tested.

16. Raiders (26): Jon Gruden looks to have weapons he needs. But worth noting that re-acclimating coach had one top-10 offense during seven years in Tampa.

17. Cowboys (19): No mystery, but Ezekiel Elliott is key, both to opening up passing lanes for Dak Prescott and shortening games for defense.

More:The Bell Tolls: Cowboys players apparently unable and unwilling to challenge Jerry Jones' anthem policy

More:Dez Bryant rips Dallas Cowboys' play calling, calls LB Sean Lee 'snake'

18. Ravens (21): Hard team to read. However for all the talk about quarterbacks, depth along both lines might warrant as much scrutiny as Flacco, Jackson.

19. Chiefs (15): Patrick Mahomes couldn't ask for a better arsenal around him. But will suspect defense put a young gunslinger into holes he can't climb from?

20. 49ers (16): Garoppolo buzz is great. But preseason expectations should be tempered (for now) by defense that's ranked 24th or worse last three years.

21. Cardinals (18): Why doesn't team that finished 8-8 in 2017 minus David Johnson or strong QB play for most of year get more respect? Keep an eye on 'em.

22. Bears (25): Jordan Howard doesn't move needle but may be main factor in Mitch Trubisky's arc. Only Elliott, Bell have more rushing yards since 2016.

23. Lions (22): Matthew Stafford is 40 TD passes away from overtaking Sonny Jurgensen (255) for most among quarterbacks who haven't won a playoff start.

24. Giants (17): Obscure but revealing stat from 2017 offense — it produced a league worst 1.2 points per drive. Pat Shurmur's focus can begin right there.

25. Bengals (23): CB William Jackson III is one of best young players you might not have heard of. But he can't do much if Cincy fails again to stop run.

26. Dolphins (29): WRs Danny Amendola, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills seem like beautiful complements ... if Ryan Tannehill is ready to stand and deliver.

27. Seahawks (27): Russell Wilson has missed playoffs one time — last year — the first time he wasn't backed by top-five defense. Coincidence?

More:2018 NFL record projections: Will Patriots falter on road to Super Bowl LIII?

More:AFC training camps: Patrick Mahomes, Tyrod Taylor among pivotal players to watch

More:NFC training camps: Saquon Barkley, Kirk Cousins headline pivotal players to watch

28. Browns (28): Belichick curse? 'The Brown Way'? Their remarkable consistency counters New England's, with Cleveland finishing last 13 of past 15 years.

29. Buccaneers (24): Already unmooring from Jameis Winston? Might be best as former No. 1 pick takes third-team snaps and gives unsatisfying answers.

30. Jets (31): You won't find AB or Julio here, but Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson are intriguing mix of targets.

31. Colts (32): Really nice to see Andrew Luck practicing and, apparently, pain-free. Also great he's scorching defense in practice ... but he's only first who will do that this year.

32. Bills (30): LeSean McCoy doesn't want to be distraction to what seems an underpowered offense. His opening camp press conference shows he can't really avoid it for now, though.

Note: Previous rank noted in parentheses


Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis