The Post’s league-wide NFL rankings have been shaken up by the NFL Draft, and the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs have been dethroned. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue their rise, while Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots continue their slide. There is a Core Four of teams at the top, followed by …
The Post’s league-wide NFL rankings have been shaken up by the NFL Draft, and the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs have been dethroned.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue their rise, while Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots continue their slide.
There is a Core Four of teams at the top, followed by as much parity as we have ever seen.
The New York Giants continue to look up at the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, while the New York Jets continue to look up at the Patriots … and Buffalo Bills.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Master strokes by GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan saw the blockbuster trade for LT Trent Williams to replace Joe Staley, No. 1 pick DT Javon Kinlaw to replace DeForest Buckner, and No. 1b Brandon Aiyuk to complement Deebo Samuel and George Kittle for Jimmy Garoppolo. And Nick Bosa will only get better.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid compares No. 1 pick RB Clyde-Edwards Helaire to Brian Westbrook — just what Patrick Mahomes, soon to be the $40M Man, needs — another jitterbugging weapon. Just what the rest of the AFC West needs. One potential fly in the ointment: will DT Chris Jones sign just a one-year, $16M tender?
3. New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton and Drew Brees chase that elusive second Super Bowl championship hoping that 33-year-old WR Emmanuel Sanders is the missing link opposite Michael Thomas. And Taysom Hill will drive defensive coordinators batty again. RB Alvin Kamara had an off year (1,330 total yards, six TDs), but No. 1 pick G-C Cesar Ruiz will help. S Malcolm Jenkins adds leadership to a formidable defense that was fourth against the run last season. Hide the women and children on Bourbon Street if and when Jameis Winston gets in the game. Board the windows on Bourbon Street if and when Jameis Winston gets in the game.
4. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson, an elite coaching staff, exciting rookie RB J.K. Dobbins resting Mark Ingram to spearhead the No. 1 rushing attack, the additions of DL Calais Campbell and No. 1 pick ILB Patrick Queen, an elite secondary and elite kicker. Biggest problem will be replacing future Hall of Fame RG Marshall Yanda.
5. Indianapolis Colts
GM Chris Ballard is hoping Old Man Philip Rivers, 38, will flourish working with HC Frank Reich and behind an offensive line that returns all five starters who played 16 games last season and will be carving a path for Marlon Mack and No. 2b pick Jonathan Taylor. No. 2 pick WR Michael Pittman is a perfect complement to T.Y. Hilton. DT DeForest Buckner makes LB Darius Leonard even more impactful. Will rookie free agent PK Rodrigo Blankenship win the job to replace legend Adam Vinatieri?
6. Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill and rushing champ Derrick Henry and WR A.J. Brown had to like GM Jon Robinson using the 29th pick on T Isaiah Wilson, who is as big as his native Brooklyn, to replace Jack Conklin. No. 2 pick Kristian Fulton is targeted to replace Logan Ryan as slot corner. Third-round RB-KR Darrynton Evans is a nice change-of-pace back with 4.41 speed. Cameron Wake, even at 37, should upgrade a pedestrian pass rush along with Vic Beasley. Jadeveon Clowney would be even better. Giants fans should hope that Joe Judge works out like Mike Vrabel.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady to Gronk. Tom Brady to Mike Evans. Tom Brady to Chris Godwin. No. 1 pick RT Tristan Wirfs blocking for Tom Brady. Bruce Arians coaching Tom Brady. Tom Brady getting the ball back following a Shaquil Barrett sack. Tom Brady eyeing a seventh Super Bowl championship. Tompa Bay.
8. Dallas Cowboys
They’ll score plenty with CeeDee Lamb added to Dak Prescott’s buffet, and they might have to unless DE Demarcus Lawrence gets help rushing the passer (rookie Bradlee Anae?) with CB Byron Jones in Miami leaving a hole to be filled by rookies Trevon Diggs or Reggie Robinson II. Depending upon baggage-laden DEs Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith is a Hail Mary. Can rookie C Tyler Biadasz replace Travis Frederick?
9. Buffalo Bills
Sean McDermott has built a Super Bowl contender. Josh Allen should take another step forward with WR Stefon Diggs and RB Devin Singletary while the defense has playmakers on all three levels.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger’s return for a last Super Bowl run means a rebound from JuJu Smith-Schuster, and TE Eric Ebron and big rookie WR Chase Claypool are big red-zone targets. OLBs T. J. Watt and Bud Dupree can bring the heat.
11. Cleveland Browns
Expect a rebound season from Baker Mayfield now that he’ll be protected by RT Jack Conklin and rookie LT Jedrick Wills. Beware RB Nick Chubb. Odell Beckham Jr. will be extra motivated to be a difference-maker and rookie HC Kevin Stefanski added TE Austin Hooper to the arsenal. Let’s hope Myles Garrett keeps his helmet on his head.
12. Arizona Cardinals
Expect a breakout from Kyler Murray now that WR DeAndre Hopkins is aboard, and RB Kenyan Drake is the lead dog behind him. DC Vance Joseph will have fun deploying LB-S Isaiah Simmons on a scary defense with Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson, De’Vondre Campbell, Devon Kennard and Jordan Phillips inside with Corey Peters.
13. Las Vegas Raiders
Al Davis would have loved burner No. 1 pick WR Henry Ruggs III since he loved Cliff Branch back in the Pride and Poise glory days. RB Josh Jacobs gives Derek Carr balance, and TE Darren Waller gave him 90 receptions last season. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have built an ornery defense, especially with Tatumesque S Johnathan Abram back.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
No. 1 pick WR Jalen Reagor gives Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz a downfield passing threat. Pederson will keep defenses honest with packages for No. 2 pick Jalen Hurts. DC Jim Schwartz is loaded at DT (Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrove and Malik Jackson) and elite CB Darius Slay can combat Amari Cooper. Can Jalen Mills replace S Malcolm Jenkins?
15. Seattle Seahawks
The offensive line is being remodeled, but Russell Wilson will overcome most liabilities, and TE Greg Olsen figures to flourish alongside Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf before heading off to the television booth. OC Brian Schottenheimer might even be tempted to emphasize RB Chris Carson less. Or not. Pete Carroll signed Bruce Irvin, but really needs Jadeveon Clowney back to solve the pass rush problem.
16. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers got Jordan Love waiting behind him instead of a wideout to complement Davante Adams for a last Super Bowl run does not augur well for his relationship with HC Matt LaFleur. It’s doubtful WR Devin Funchess moves the needle for A-Rod. At least he has Danica Patrick to console him.
17. Denver Broncos
There will be growing pains with QB Drew Lock, but rookie WRs Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler joining Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant give him an impressive array of weapons, and we haven’t mentioned RBs Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay. Jurrell Casey joining Von Miller and Bradley Chubb up front gives HC Vic Fangio a daunting pass rush.
18. New England Patriots
Bill Belichick’s defense will keep the games close, but will Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer — or a mystery guest — be able to find a way to win them with a paucity of quality weapons not named Julian Edelman or James White? The retirement of elite OL coach Dante Scarnecchia hurts. It will be Brady-to-Gronk one more time. But not in Foxborough.
19. Los Angeles Chargers
Tyrod Taylor — and/or No. 1 pick Justin Herbert — will be surrounded with weapons and an offensive line upgraded by G Trai Turner and RT Bryan Bulaga, but still with a hole at left tackle. Jason Peters could be an option to replace Russell Okung. The defense boasts pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, an elite secondary fortified by CB Chris Harris and No. 1 pick LB Kenneth Murray.
20. Atlanta Falcons
Todd Gurley can juice the running game for Matt Ryan and Julio Jones if he can stay healthy. Dante Fowler Jr. and rookie DE-DT Marlon Davidson had better goose a problematic pass rush if No. 1 pick CB A.J. Terrell is targeted by Tom Brady and Drew Brees twice in a Playoff-or-Bust season for Dan Quinn.
21. Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins was gifted a gem in rookie WR Justin Jefferson to replace Stefon Diggs opposite Adam Thielen. But Mike Zimmer has been forced to rebuild his secondary, not ideal against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the division.
22. New York Jets
GM Joe Douglas’ OL rebuild was highlighted by No. 1 pick LT Mekhi Becton … Mount Becton, a blessing for Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. Adam Gase needs to elevate Darnold and win games. WR Breshad Perriman replaces Robby Anderson and No. 2 pick WR Denzel Mims offers Darnold a size-speed target. Douglas should show S Jamal Adams the money. A holdout would be disruptive. Elite DC Gregg Williams still lacks an edge-rushing predator and a cornerback opposite Pierre Desir, but he’ll figure something out.
23. Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson will miss throwing to WR DeAndre Hopkins more than he’ll like handing and dumping off to RB David Johnson. Slot WR Randall Cobb will catch 60 balls but can Will Fuller stay on the field? At least Watson has LT Laremy Tunsil protecting his blindside. No. 2 pick DT Ross Blacklock could be a disruptor if J.J. Watt can stay healthy, but Pro Football Focus gave Houston’s cornerbacks it’s second-lowest coverage grade in 2019. A healthy Bradley Roby should help
24. Los Angeles Rams
No. 2 pick RB Cam Akers was regarded highly enough to be Todd Gurley’s primary replacement. Jared Goff has weapons and Sean McVay, but LT Andrew Whitworth, the 38-year-old wonder, anchors a suspect OL. Can pass rushers Leonard Floyd and rookie Terrell Lewis feed off Aaron Donald the way departed Dante Fowler Jr. did?
25. Chicago Bears
The pass rush should be formidable with Robert Quinn joining Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, but can S Tashaun Gipson replace S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? They’ll go as far as Nick Foles — not Mitch Trubisky — can take them.
26. New York Giants
Finally, an urgency to fix the offensive line, all the better for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley and OC Jason Garrett, and a stud safety in Xavier McKinney to pair with Jabrill Peppers. Center needs to be resolved. MLB Blake Martinez will be the brains of DC Patrick Graham’s operation. Can Graham scheme a pass rush? Joe Judge looks like a no-nonsense CEO.
27. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa can heal up behind Ryan Fitzpatrick before HC Brian Flores throws him into the fire. The OL rebuild began with No. 1 pick T Austin Jackson and second-round G Robert Hunt. RB Jordan Howard could use help. Free agency upgraded the defense with CB Byron Jones, OLB Kyle Van Noy and DE Shaq Lawson. Beware the Fish in 2021.
28. Detroit Lions
Matt Patricia’s make-or-break season will depend on Matthew Stafford (back) staying healthy, and whether his 25th-ranked pass rush and worst pass defense can be upgraded by rookies OLB Julian Okwara and CB Jeffrey Okudah. DT Danny Shelton won’t stop Dalvin Cook and Aaron Jones by himself.
29. Washington Redskins
Chase Young gives Ron Rivera an intimidating defensive line, but Kyle Allen is a stopgap until Dwayne Haskins is ready, and both will need RB Derrius Guice to stay healthy because Trent Williams isn’t returning to protect the quarterback’s blindside. WR Terry McLaurin has star quality.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow likes HC Zac Taylor’s offense and why shouldn’t he with weapons WRs A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins? Free agent NT D.J. Reader and rookie LB Logan Wilson could make an impact on an overhauled defense.
31. Carolina Panthers
A painful rebuild for rookie HC Matt Rhule. Make sure Teddy Bridgewater gets the ball to Christian McCaffrey and every so often to D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson and keep the young defense (DT Derrick Brown, DE Yetur Gross-Matos, S Jeremy Chinn) off the field until they grow up.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
A painful rebuild for HC Doug Marrone. WR Laviska Shenault gives Gardner Minshew a YAC weapon opposite D.J. Chark. CB E.J. Henderson and edge K’Lavon Chaisson were needed first-round picks, but they won’t soon be Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue, who wants out. Leonard Fournette appears on his way out. And there isn’t a run-stuffer in sight