- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Despite a stellar free agency and a solid draft, the Miami Dolphins still cannot get any respect in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. Miami is remains in the bottom half of the NFL at No. 18, according our panel. NFC West blogger Mike Sando ranked Miami the lowest at No. 21.
"I wouldn't differentiate much between teams in that middle-of-the-pack category. If you lined up 32 people from tallest to shortest, you'd have a bunch of people in the middle about the same height,” Sando explained. “That's what the rankings are like. The difference between being ranked 15th and 21st is not much in most cases. I moved up Arizona after the Cardinals acquired Carson Palmer. It's not that Palmer is great. He's probably just average. But average is so much better than what the Cardinals were getting from the position last season (when they defeated the Dolphins). I moved up Kansas City and Tampa Bay a little bit while Miami stayed the same on my ballot."
The AFC East division struggled overall. Here were the Power Rankings for the division after the NFL draft:
The Jets are the worst team in the NFL, according to the Power Rankings. New York is starting a long, hard rebuild and just traded its best player, star cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Jets also have a three-way quarterback controversy with Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and rookie Geno Smith. The Bills, who also have a quarterback competition, were not much better at No. 30.
The Patriots, as expected, finished significantly higher than the rest of the division at No. 6. It’s debatable whether this year’s New England team is better than the 2012 group that lost in the AFC title game. However, the Patriots remain one of the top teams in the conference, despite some roster turnover.
Will the Dolphins, Jets or Bills challenge the Patriots in the AFC East this upcoming season? According to our Power Rankings panel, a significant gap still remains after the draft and free agency.