• 26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Bucs are better than the squad that ended last year with 10 consecutive losses. Made nice free agent adds in WR Vincent Jackson, OG Carl Nicks and TE Dallas Clark, then emphasized defense in the draft. Key is big improvement by QB Josh Freeman (22 INTs in ’11).
• 27. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Rams are 15-65 past five years but big improvement is ahead. Jeff Fisher (who turned down Miami) is solid coach and Sam Bradford is ascending QB star. Healthy RB Steven Jackson will be key. Have some nice defensive pieces — including Chris Long and James Laurinaitis, but run-D better be better.
• 28. Tennessee Titans (9-7): I expect a nice bounce-back season by RB Chris Johnson, but Titans’ tough early schedule makes an 0-4 start very possible. And that Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker choice at QB won’t have many fans thinking Super Bowl.
• 29. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Maurice Jones-Drew’s contractual holdout was a mess this team didn’t need. Defense is reasonably solid, but offense could be a fright unless Blaine Gabbert displays immense improvement. He has nice wideouts in Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, but can he get them the ball?
30. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): No. 1 rookie QB Andrew Luck makes things interesting but he has negligible surrounding talent after aging WR Reggie Wayne. Huge roster turnover puts Indy in a more obvious rebuilding mode than any other team.
• 31. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Will RB Adrian Peterson be his old self after major knee surgery? Better be, as Vikes clearly are rebuilding and clearly are worst-by-far in a tough division. Christian Ponder is more a question than answer at QB, and after Jared Allen there isn’t much talent on a defense that allowed 34 TD passes last year.
• 32. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Hope rests on two ifs, both rookies: If QB Brandon Weeden is the real deal right away, and if RB Trent Richardson is the draft’s best back since Adrian Peterson as some say. But even if so, a perpetually awful run defense looks miserably bad once again.