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2015 NFL future power rankings

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Which NFL franchises are set up for success?

Mark Brunell breaks down why the Packers, Seahawks and Patriots sit atop the ESPN.com NFL Future Power Rankings.

To project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons, we asked our panel of experts -- John Clayton, Louis Riddick and Mike Sando -- to rate each team on a scale of 0-100 in five categories: roster (excluding quarterback), quarterback, draft, front office and coaching.

After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score -- roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent). The result is a comprehensive rankings based on how well each team is positioned for the future.

We had a change at the top this year, along with having a perennial Super Bowl contender fall all the way to No. 14 and another team jump from 28th to sixth. Read through the full file 1-32, or jump to your favorite team using the quick links below.

AFC

BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | DEN | HOU | IND | JAC | KC | MIA | NE | NYJ | OAK | PIT | SD | TEN

NFC

ARI | ATL | CAR | CHI | DAL | DET | GB | MIN | NO | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF | STL | TB | WAS


1. Green Bay Packers

2014 record: 12-4 (Lost in NFC championship)

NFC North future rank: 1st

Overall score: 91.3


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 Packers moved up one spot from a year ago, overtaking Seattle. What was the key? Green Bay's drafting improved from 11th to first, while holding on to the top spots in the quarterback and front office categories. Immediate contributions from the 2014 draft class helped the Packers' standing. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, receiver Davante Adams, center Corey Linsley and tight end Richard Rodgers were all key rookie contributors as Green Bay reached the NFC Championship Game. That is tremendous immediate impact for a team that was already a contender. --Mike Sando

The dilemma: The Packers are incredibly well positioned over at least the next two seasons in terms of having most of their core players under contract on both offense and defense. The lone exception is along the offensive line, where Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, David Bakhtiari and JC Tretter are all set to become unrestricted free agents following the 2016 season. How will the offense, which finished fifth, eighth and first in scoring from 2012-14, respond to having a new playcaller (Tom Clements) for the first time since Mike McCarthy became the head coach in 2006? This is the big question going forward, as it was situational play calling that arguably cost the Packers a berth in Super Bowl 49. --Louis Riddick

The youth movement: General manager Ted Thompson is the best homegrown farmer in the NFL. He's the master of getting three or four starters out of every draft -- and signing most to second contracts. The Packers' top overall ranking is two-fold -- Aaron Rodgers and a roster built almost exclusively with players who started their careers in Green Bay. Thompson drafted an offensive line that has become one of the top three units in football. Eddie Lacy, a 2013 second-rounder, has been the beneficiary thus far, and another monster year looks to be on the horizon. This team is loaded. --John Clayton


2. Seattle Seahawks

2014 record: 12-4 (Lost in Super Bowl)

NFC West future rank: 1st

Overall score: 89.7


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: Seattle improved its overall score from 2014 but not enough to avoid trading places with the Packers. This is the third consecutive year the Seahawks have placed in the top three. They joined the Packers and Patriots as the only teams to post top-five rankings in all six categories (counting overall ranking). In fact, the Seahawks rank among the two best teams in every category except quarterback (eighth overall). The lack of a young backup behind Russell Wilson is hurting them a bit in the QB department. The assumption is that Wilson, who's entering the last year of his rookie deal, will stay in Seattle -- either as a franchise player or under a long-term deal. --Mike Sando

The dilemma: The future for Seahawks is all about how to they manage their team-building process and salary-cap discipline when Wilson -- their Super Bowl-winning franchise quarterback -- no longer counts just $1.69 million against the cap, as he does in 2015. Properly valuing Wilson is not as easy as it seems, which is a good thing for the QB, and not so good for Seattle. Linebacker Bobby Wagner is set to become a free agent in 2016 and will likely be looking for a deal that averages about $9 million per year. And maybe most importantly, the Seahawks need to start preparing for life after Marshawn Lynch, whose desire to play will be reevaluated seemingly every offseason. --Louis Riddick

The youth movement: The draft has been the Seahawks' backbone as they've gone 36-12 over the past three seasons. The 2012 class, in particular -- which included Wagner, Wilson, J.R. Sweezy and Bruce Irvin -- propelled the franchise to nearly winning its second consecutive Super Bowl last season. Seattle might have snagged two more eventual starters in this year's draft, wide receiver Tyler Lockett and defensive end Frank Clark (provided Clark can stay out of trouble). --John Clayton


3. New England Patriots

2014 record: 12-4 (Won Super Bowl)

AFC East future rank: 1st

Overall score: 87.1