2014 NFL Future Power Rankings

For this year's edition of the NFL Future Power Rankings, Insider's annual examination of the franchises best positioned to succeed going forward, we had our panel of NFL experts -- John Clayton, Mel Kiper, Louis Riddick and Mike Sando -- project how teams would fare over the course of the next three seasons: 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The analysts rated every team in five categories -- Roster (excluding quarterback), QB, Draft, Front Office and Coaching -- and the results were then averaged and weighted to create our final 1-32 Future Power Ranking. For more detail on the categories and weighting, please refer to the chart at right.

The team checking in at the No. 1 spot wasn't a surprise, but there were several fascinating results, from a pair of veteran-laden teams earning spots in the top five to emerging powers in the NFC East and North climbing the rankings and a team with the second-best QB situation (according to our panel) sliding all the way to No. 20.

Worth noting: Our panel scored teams quite a bit higher overall this year than it did the past season, which caused the numbers to look a little inflated year to year and caused some very close scores among the teams in the middle of the pack.

Let's take a look at how the 32 NFL teams stack up in terms of how they'll fare over the next three seasons, through Insider's NFL Future Power Rankings. (Read through the file 1-32, or jump to your favorite team using the quick links below.)

BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | DEN | HOU | IND | JAC | KC | MIA | NE | NYJ | OAK | PIT | SD | TEN
ARI | ATL | CAR | CHI | DAL | DET | GB | MIN | NO | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF | STL | TB | WAS

  • 1

Seattle Seahawks

The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category.
Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.

The overview: The Seahawks were the only team with a top-10 ranking in all five categories, and they ranked first or second in four of them. San Francisco was the only other team with more than one top-two ranking, an indication voters thought the Seahawks were squared away in every area. New contracts for coach Pete Carroll, cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas and defensive lineman Michael Bennett resolved some continuity questions, and the team is now in great position to re-sign QB Russell Wilson next offseason. Seattle's No. 8 ranking at QB came in behind only Green Bay, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Denver, New England, San Diego and Pittsburgh. Will Peyton Manning still be playing in three years? Will Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees still be atop their games? Wilson should be entering his prime years at that time, at which point we voters might regret not placing the Seahawks even higher in the QB category. --Mike Sando

The dilemma: This team's biggest obstacle to sustained success for at least the next two years is going to be complacency. The Seahawks have already secured many of the crucial core pieces that were of the highest priority to long-term contracts; they have the cap space in 2015 to redo Wilson's contract; and they have drafted young players they will develop who will serve as leverage when it comes time to negotiate extensions with other pending UFAs after the '14 and '15 seasons. Simply put, barring injuries or the team being its own worst enemy, the future is bright in Seattle. --Louis Riddick

The youth movement: Only Wilson's quick feet could hide the constant blocking issues the Seahawks had in 2013, and although Justin Britt was a reach on my board in Round 2 of the 2014 draft, he could provide much-needed help, potentially at right tackle. The Seahawks always seem to have a plan. Elsewhere, although Paul Richardson is the field-stretcher this offense needs, don't be surprised if fourth-round WR Kevin Norwood makes an earlier impact. He can make the contested catch and knows how to help an improviser at QB. --Mel Kiper

  • 2

Green Bay Packers

The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category.
Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.

The overview: Green Bay joined the 49ers and Seahawks as the only teams with at least four top-five rankings. This is the third year in a row Green Bay has ranked among the top two overall. Aaron Rodgers' status as a great QB and his relative youth (30) gave Green Bay the top-ranked future at the position. The rest of the roster wasn't far behind at No. 6. The Packers pride themselves on building through the draft instead of free agency, but the draft was their lowest ranked category, at No. 11, down eight spots from the past offseason, even after running back Eddie Lacy became the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for his efforts in 2013. Looking ahead, GM Ted Thompson picked up three receivers in the 2014 draft, which bought insurance at the position while Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson enter their contract years. --Mike Sando

The dilemma: Getting the defense to play at a level that takes some of the pressure off of Rodgers and the offense, by being able to deal with the explosive offensive perimeter players in the division, is the primary concern for this team going forward. This is particularly true as it relates to the play of the corners. The Packers need to get a good return on the investment they made in re-signing CB Sam Shields ($14M total guaranteed), and they have key contracts expiring at the position after the 2014 (Tramon Williams, Davon House) and 2015 (Casey Hayward) seasons that they will need to decide on. --Louis Riddick

The youth movement: Two 2014 rookies at opposite ends of the scouting spectrum could become favorites of Rodgers and continue to help this offense soar. Davante Adams is a low-risk, sure-handed, if not overly explosive, WR who seems ready to play. Tight end Colt Lyerla could be a star if the work matches the athletic credentials, or he could be out of the league if off-the-field issues linger, but oh, those athlete credentials. He could be a poor man's Vernon Davis (which isn't all that poor). Given the QB, Adams and Lyerla could be stars. --Mel Kiper

  • 3

San Francisco 49ers

The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category.
Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.

The overview: The 49ers trail the Packers here only because Green Bay ranks so much higher at QB.