2: Cincinnati Bengals Fall Just Short Of No. 1 In AFC Power Rankings
The Bengals are my pick to make the Super Bowl out of the AFC, but until the Chiefs are knocked off that mountain, I refuse to place them any lower than No. 1. That being said, no contender in the NFL has improved more than Cincinnati this offseason.
The team signed former Chief, Orlando Brown Jr., to take over as the starting left tackle. This acquisition bumps Jonah Williams to the right side, giving Joe Burrow plenty of protection up front. At the 2023 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati front office added two high-upside pass catchers to an already stacked ensemble. Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas can reasonably carve out roles early in their careers.
The defense saw veteran Jessie Bates move to Atlanta, but have no fear Daxton Hill and Jordan Battle are here! Former Michigan standout D.J. Turner also brings his talent to the secondary room. The cherry on top came in the form of pass rusher Myles Murphy. The Clemson star was a top 15 player on my Big Board, making him a steal at the end of Round 1.
The Bengals filled virtually every hole on the roster. Burrow’s lofty payday is on the horizon; the 2023 NFL season could present the best opportunity for a Super Bowl that the franchise sees in a while.
1: Kansas City Chiefs Retain Top Spot In AFC Power Rankings
Chiefs fans, it was never a doubt. As long as Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are under contract, Kansas City will always be the team to beat in the AFC. Like it or not, it is the standard that has been set over the past half-decade.
Not to be outdone by other top teams, general manager Brett Veach pieced together a magnificent offseason. He replaced the aforementioned Orlando Brown Jr. with Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith.
The most impressive point of the offseason came at the 2023 NFL Draft. The Chiefs gave Mahomes another weapon with Rashee Rice at wide receiver. On defense, Felix Anudike-Uzomah profiles as an instant contributor in the front seven. He is a disruptive pass rusher and meshes well with George Karlaftis on the other side.
This result may be a boring outcome, but Kansas City winning the AFC again in 2023 is firmly in play. They must remain on their toes, though, because every opponent will be looking to knock the champs off. That is nothing new to Mahomes or Reid; never count the Hall of Fame duo out.