FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – We are still a couple of months away from the start of NFL training camps, but with the draft now complete the latest batch of power rankings are emerging.
ESPN was among those to release and updated list, and its power rankings take into account how well a team addressed their perceived needs through free agency and the draft, and they are ordered by which team would win in a head-to-head matchup. In other words, a higher-ranked team would beat a lower-ranked team.
In this new edition of ESPN's power rankings, the Falcons have dropped one spot from No. 7 to No. 8, switching spots with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"The Falcons drafted wide receiver Calvin Ridley in the first round," ESPN writes. "Their past two first-round receivers? Roddy White and Julio Jones, who currently sit first and second on the franchise's all-time receiving list."
Atlanta is the second-highest NFC South team on the list, behind the New Orleans Saints at No. 4. Three spots behind the Falcons at No. 11 are the Carolina Panthers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers landed at No. 24.
CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco also released his updated power rankings, and he also has the Falcons in the top 10. Atlanta landed at the No. 9 spot in Prisco's rankings, one spot ahead of the Panthers and four spots below the Saints. Prisco doesn't seem to think the Buccaneers are far behind after the draft, placing them at No. 15.
"The Falcons gave Matt Ryan a new mega-deal, so the pressure is up on this team and him to get back to the Super Bowl," Prisco says of the Falcons. "The talent is there." The Falcons finished with a 10-6 record in 2017, and they were the only NFC team to return to the postseason.