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NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Ranks all 32 Teams Based on Future

The Bengals' future is bright, so long as they keep re-signing their best players.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL offseason continues, ESPN took a shot at ranking all 32 teams based on the future of their respective rosters.

Teams like the Saints and Broncos aren't ranked high on this list, as they'll quickly be in rebuilding mode when guys like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees soon retire. It also means teams with loads of talented youth, like the Seahawks and Vikings, rank high on this list.

As for the Bengals, they came in at No. 8 in the ranking. A young group of talented players like George Iloka, Vontaze BurfictKevin Zeitler, Marvin Jones and A.J. Green are what has Cincinnati's future looking so bright.

Here's ESPN's full analysis on the Bengals:

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 Bengals moved up five spots overall, but that was more through attrition than any significant perceived gains by Cincinnati. Teams such as Philadelphia, San Diego, Chicago and St. Louis moved backward, clearing the way for the Bengals to move forward even though their rankings for quarterback, coaching and drafting remained almost identical, while their ranking for non-QB roster slipped five spots to No. 9. The organization's No. 7 ranking for front office would have seemed unfathomable several years ago, but the Bengals have consistently reached the playoffs in recent seasons. On-field results determine the fine line between whether a team appears unambitious or stable. --Mike Sando

The dilemma: Cincy has to figure out a way to get the regular season version of Andy Dalton (career 1.5 TD/INT rate and a 52.4 Total QBR) to show up in the postseason (1 TD, 6 INTs, 18.0 Total QBR and zero wins in four games). If they don't, all of the praise they rightfully receive for being one of the best drafting teams in the league will be unfulfilling for a fan base that hasn't seen a playoff win since 1991. The Bengals are able to get out from under Dalton's contract with ease following this upcoming season, so it is safe to say this is a make-or-break season for the QB. Simply making the playoffs isn't enough anymore for the Bengals; it's time to win a game or two once they get there. --Louis Riddick

The youth movement: Few give Duke Tobin, Cincy's director of player personnel, credit for doing an incredible job building this roster, but the Bengals have more of their own draft choices on their team than any franchise in football. The 2012 class was quietly special in terms of adding roster depth. They drafted guard Kevin Zeitler, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, safety George Iloka and wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, while signing undrafted linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Emmanuel Lamur. Ironically, Kirkpatrick, the first-rounder, has been the slowest to develop, but if he turns the corner this season, watch out. --John Clayton


You really can't argue with anyone who has the Bengals in the top 10. They've done just enough to deserve that, even though they've yet to win a playoff game in the last 25 years. So long as Cincinnati can keep drafting well and re-signing their best players, they'll remain a perennial playoff team among the 10-12 best in the NFL.