- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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A committee of ESPN experts -- including Trent Dilfer, Mel Kiper, Gary Horton, Matt Williamson -- assembled this offseason to create a unique version of our traditional Power Rankings.
Naturally, NFC North teams are featured prominently in what amounts to a three-year projection of Power Rankings for the 2015 season. The Green Bay Packers received the top spot as the team best equipped to compete three years from now, while the Detroit Lions were not far behind at No. 6.
The file requires an Insider subscription to read in full, but I can pass along where our four teams ranked and also a glimpse at the methodology used. Here is how the committee evaluated each team and the degree of impact each category had:
Roster (32.5 percent of total score): Players under 30 emphasized
Coaching (20 percent): Capability and stability of current staff
Quarterback (17.5 percent): Where quarterback play would be in three years
Draft (15 percent): Based on team's 2012 class and how many picks available in next three years.
Front office (15 percent): Ability to manage roster and market's attraction to free agents.
Now on to the NFC North rankings with comments from me:
1. Green Bay Packers
Seifert comment: The presence of a 28-year-old MVP quarterback and one of the NFL's top general manager-coach combinations puts the Packers on an ideal long-term path.
6. Detroit Lions
Seifert comment: Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a 5,000-yard season before his 24th birthday. That's a nice start. General manager Martin Mayhew has elevated the team's talent level every season of his tenure and most of their key players -- Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, safety Louis Delmas and linebacker Stephen Tulloch -- are under 30.
17. Chicago Bears
Seifert comment: Jay Cutler is a legitimate franchise quarterback, but the best players on the Bears' defense are all over 30. That list includes defensive end Julius Peppers, linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, and cornerback Charles Tillman.
31. Minnesota Vikings
Seifert comment: Questions about quarterback Christian Ponder's long-term prospects made it difficult for the committee to project future success. There are also concerns about a lack of young impact players on defense. Defensive end Jared Allen is 30 and linebacker Chad Greenway is 29.