Power Ranking All 32 Defenses headed into Training Camp
32) San Francisco 49ers
The Niners will transition from the 3-4 defense to a faster 4-3 defense. The biggest problem with that is that they don’t have any true 4-3 pass rushing defensive ends. First round pick Solomon Thomas is more of a 3-4 defensive end and both guys that are already on the defensive line, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, are better suited to a 3-4 defense. They should be better against the run this year, but they will still struggle a lot against the pass.
31) New York Jets
The Jets are a complete mess as a team, but they did improve the secondary by picking up Jamal Adams. They have a talented front, but that talented front has under-performed and I have no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.
30) Cleveland Browns
The Browns seem headed in the right direction with the acquisition of defensive end Myles Garrett. They have a solid front four and look to be improving, but they are still at least one more offseason away.
29) New Orleans Saints
The Saints strengthened the secondary by adding Marshon Lattimore, but the safeties are still average at best and the front seven doesn’t generate any kind of pass rush at all.
28) Indianapolis Colts
The Colts added three studs that should start right away. Malik Hooker was an absolute steal for this team. Need to upgrade the front seven, look for that next year.
27) Chicago Bears
The Bears are solid at linebacker, but they have no depth anywhere else.
26) Green Bay Packers
The Packers consistently make the playoffs because of the offense, and they don’t make it to the Super Bowl because of the defense and this year should be no different. They lost Julius Peppers, Micah Hyde, and Sam Shields, but added Kevin King, Josh Jones, Vince Biegel, and Montravius Adams via the draft. They do have talent, but as usual, they have very little depth.
25) Los Angeles Chargers
Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Corey Liuget make up one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL. After winning defensive rookie of the season, Bosa is a much better fit as a 4-3 defensive end. They still lack players on the back side of the defense, but just like the Packers, they may have enough offense to still make a playoff run.
24) Detroit Lions
The Lions have no playmakers on defense and the pass rush is not very good. They should be solid against the run but struggle against the pass.
23) Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are very good up front and the addition of Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator means they are headed in the right direction.
22) Buffalo Bills
The Bills are strong up front and switching to a 4-3 defense should help them a lot, but they still need more playmakers in the secondary.
21) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are a middle of the road defense that was not helped much in the offseason as they put most of their efforts into giving the offense more weapons.
20) Tennessee Titans
The Titans are in a situation very similar to the Bucs, like the Bucs they are an average defense. The offense should be high powered and that should help the defense out.
19) Miami Dolphins
I expect the Dolphins to be in the top half of the league when all is said and done this year. They made a lot of moves to shore up the defense and add depth for this upcoming season. I would rank them higher, but they will be heavily dependent upon three rookies to help out right away and that is asking a lot for all three to perform right away.
18) Washington Redskins
The Redskins got one of the biggest steals by picking up defensive lineman Jonathon Allen in the first round of the draft. They got a huge influx of new blood in the offseason and they should be improved this coming season.
17) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons defense has a ton of speed on it and should be improved this season. They need to get more of a pass rush and they need to be able to defend the run better. I expect that they will be much improved from last year.
16) Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have talent but for some reason never seemed to gel last year. They added Gareon Conley and Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu in the draft. Expect Conley to help right away and expect that the Raiders will regret picking Melifonwu by the end of preseason.
15) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers’ secondary is still a big time question and the lack of pass rush was indeed a big problem during the Steelers’ playoff run.
14) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals’ defensive line should be a force again with the addition of Carl Lawson in the draft and the return of defensive tackle Andrew Billings who was hurt before preseason even began last year. The secondary, especially the safeties, is the biggest question for the Bengals headed into this season.
13) Jacksonville Jaguars
On paper, the Jaguars have a top 5 defense, but I will rank them right here until I see them prove it.
12) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have a dominant front line and the back end of the defense is what has to be the worry for this team. Probably still a year away from playoff contention.
11) Carolina Panthers
If Luke Kuechly is one hundred percent, this will end up being a top ten defense.
10) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys added talent in the offseason to a defense that was made to look better than it was last year by a ball control offense. I look for this defense to be much improved this year.
9) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs battled a ton of injuries last year and if everybody is one hundred percent they will be a top five defense by the end of this coming year.
8) Arizona Cardinals
Losing Calais Campbell could prove to be huge, especially against the run. But, this is still a star-studded defense that should be tough for any offense to play against this year.
7) Minnesota Vikings
The first half of last season, the Vikings looked to be the best defense in the NFL. The problem was the second half of the season, when the defense wore down because of an inept offense.
6) Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens put almost all of their offseason efforts towards making the defense a top five unit again, and by the end of this season, they very well could be.
5) Denver Broncos
The Broncos are still loaded on defense, but the loss of Wade Phillips may be bigger than fans understand.
4) New York Giants
The Giants defense went from being one of the worst in the NFL to being one of the best in the NFL in just one year. The secondary is one of the best around and the front seven seems to keep getting better.
3) New England Patriots
The Patriots are a disciplined and talented unit and they got even better in the offseason. They don’t have a bunch of stars, but they have a coach who knows what he is looking for in defensive players and finds the right guys to fit his scheme.
2) Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks drafted defensively this year and, by doing so, made the defense even stronger.
1) Houston Texans
If Watt is healthy I will stick by this rating. If he is not, we will drop them to number 2. With or without Watt, this defense is one of the best.