NFL: Defensive line rankings heading into 2019 season

NFL: Defensive line rankings heading into 2019 season

by June 5, 2019 0 comments

In the NFL these days, teams win by being dominant along the defensive line. Which teams pose the most problems for opposing offenses in 2019?

With this high passing attack league, getting pressure on the quarterback is everything. If you can’t get pressure on the quarterback, you will have a very tough time getting pressure on the quarterback. If you are good at getting pressure, your team gets so much better.

32. New York Giants

Notable names: Dexter Lawrence

This team has torn down their defensive line in the last two years. They have traded Damon Harrison, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Olivier Vernon in the last two years. This defensive line lacks experience and talent. The Giants are gonna need help next year.

31. Oakland Raiders

Notable Names: Arden Key, Clelin Ferrell, Maurice Hurst, and Johnathan Hankins

This team was dead last in sacks in 2018, after trading Khalil Mack. The only significant addition to their defensive line was Clelin Ferrell. Still, they lack enough personnel to rush the passer. Expect them to get more help next offseason.

30. Miami Dolphins

Notable Names: Charles Harris, Christians Wilkins

This team has some talent, but need more. Christian Wilkins is a good starting piece, but they need more to succeed long-term. They don’t need top level talent, but more veterans to compliment their young guys.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notable Names: Vita Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul

This is dependent on JPP’s injury. Still, after losing Gerald McCoy, they don’t have much depth. Vita Vea has to improve.

28. New York Jets

Notable Names: Leonard Williams, Quinnen Williams

The two Williams are good in the interior, but they have no edge rusher help. Trading for some edge help makes sense.

27. Carolina Panthers

Notable Names: Kawaan Short, Brian Burns

Brian Burns was a good selection, but they lack depth. Their defensive line has lost so much the last few years, they need to rebuild it.

26. Atlanta Falcons

Notable Names: Takkarist Mckinley, Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett

This team has so much potential on the defensive line. Besides Grady Jarrett though, the other two have been disappointments. They need to be good this year.

25. Cincinnati Bengals

Notable Names: Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Geno Atkins

They have been good in the past, and are still good. I just anticipate either declines for Carlos Dunlap or Geno Atkins, or one getting traded. These three most likely won’t be around long term.

24. Seattle Seahawks

Notable Names: Jarren Reed, Ezekiel Ansah, L.J. Collier

Jarren Reed is really good, but L.J. Collier and Ezekiel Ansah are gonna have to work hard to replace Frank Clark. This team has lost a lot on the defensive line lately.

23. New England Patriots

Notable Names: Michael Bennett, Chase Winovich

This isn’t a slight. They will be fine by the postseason. On paper though, they aren’t that good. Their scheme helps way more than the players.

22. Baltimore Ravens

Notable Names: Michael Pierce, Jaylon Ferguson, Brandon Williams

Similar to Patriots, they don’t need noticeable names to win. Their blitz scheme gives them more pressure than players. They will be fine after losing a lot this year.

21. Arizona Cardinals

Notable Names: Chandler Jones, Terrell Suggs, Robert Nkemdiche, Rodney Gunter

Chandler Jones is good, but everyone else is a question mark. Robert Nkemdiche needs to have a good year, or else this unit will really struggle.

20. Tennessee Titans

Notable Names: Jurrell Casey, Jeffrey Simmons, Harold Landry

Jeffrey Simmons is hurt right now, but might play next season. They need edge help for Harold Landry, they lack players at edge.

19. Indianapolis Colts

Notable Names: Justin Houston, Margus Hunt, Denico Autry

Justin Houston is good, and the other guys are pretty good as well. They need a number one pass rusher still. If someone becomes available, don’t be surprised for the Colts to trade for someone.

18. Buffalo Bills

Notable Names: Jerry Hughes, Ed Oliver, Star Lotulelei

Ed Oliver and Jerry Hughes are very good players. They lack the depth to be consistent though. They also need time to develop some guys.

17. Washington Redskins

Notable Names: Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen

This defensive line is young, and really exciting. They might not be as good this year, but long term, this unit can be a force in the NFC East.

16. Detroit Lions

Notable Names: A’Shawn Robinson, Trey Flowers, Damon Harrison, Da’Shawn Hand

The Lions have built a formidable unit. This team will be very good against the run. They may need time to gel, but they have to potential to be a top ten unit by the end of the season.

15. Dallas Cowboys

Notable Names: Robert Quinn, Demarcus Lawrence

Demarcus Lawrence is really good, but after losing David Irving, they lack interior pressure. The Cowboys would be wise to trade for another guy to help in the interior.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable Names: T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, Javon Hargreaves

This unit is underrated. T.J. Watt was awesome last year, and Cam Heyward always produces. They sometimes struggle vs the run, which drops them a few spots.

13. San Francisco 49ers

Notable Names: Dee Ford, Deforest Buckner, Nick Bosa

Their front 4 could be ridiculous. They will get a ton of pressure on the quarterback. My question is, can Dee Ford and Nick Bosa stay healthy? Both have major health concerns.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

Notable Names: Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Josh Allen

The selection of Josh Allen is huge. Slide him alongside Campbell and Ngakoue, and the Jags have rebuilt their defensive line well. The wild card is Taven Bryan. Can he improve this season to be a full-time player? If he can, this unit is formidable.

11. New Orleans Saints

Notable Names: Marcus Davenport, Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins

They would be higher, but Sheldon Rankin’s injury hurts this unit. If he can come back healthy, this unit can wreak havoc on the entire NFC this season. Marcus Davenport has to improve though.

10. Denver Broncos

Notable Names: Von Miller, Bradley Chubb

Their edge rushers are very good, but they have lost a ton of players in the interior. If they don’t get so help there, this unit won’t get much higher. If the interior is good though, they could move into the top five.

9. Green Bay Packers

Notable Names: Rashan Gary, Za’Darius Smith, Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Preston Smith

This team could be both lower and higher. A lot of unknown right now. Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels have been around awhile, but Za’Darius and Preston Smith, with Rashan Gary, are all new and unknown. Green Bay will need them to produce.

8. Los Angeles Rams

Notable Names: Dante Fowler, Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald is the best defensive lineman in the league, but besides him and Dante Fowler, a lot of unknown right now. After losing Ndamukong Suh, they need some more help on the pass rush. If Clay Matthews can stay healthy, he could have an impact.

7. Houston Texans

Notable Names: J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney

J.J Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are awesome, but like the Broncos, they don’t have good interior defensive lineman. They need more pass rushers along the interior to help Watt and Clowney out.

6. Minnesota Vikings

Notable Names: Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph

Even after losing Sheldon Richardson, they are still very good. Danielle Hunter is quietly establishing himself as an All-Pro level pass rusher. If Everson Griffen can play 16 games again, this unit is gonna be scary for the NFC North.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Notable Names: Chris Jones, Frank Clark

The top two are very good, but this team also has a lot of depth on the defensive line. As long as Chris Jones and Frank Clark stay motivated, they will be one of the best defensive lines in the league.

4. Cleveland Browns

Notable Names: Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon

Their starting four are gonna be nuts. If Myles Garrett continues to improve, they are gonna be very good. If they get Gerald McCoy, they could be the best in the league. The question is depth, and can Sheldon Richardson produce, with a new contract this year?

3. Chicago Bears

Notable Names: Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks

Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks are awesome, but Leonard Floyd is the wild card. Leonard Floyd needs to improve for them to complete the defense, or else they will stagnate. Still, Mack and Hicks together will always make them an elite defensive line unit.

2. Los Angeles Chargers

Notable Names: Jerry Tillery, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa

The addition of Jerry Tillery makes their interior line really good. He compliments the edge rushers, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, very well. Those three, alongside Brandon Mebane, will make lives tough for the AFC next year. Joey Bosa has to stay healthy though.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Notable Names: Malik Jackson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett

This team has it all. They have an amazing front four, in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, and Malik Jackson. They also have great depth, with Vinny Curry and Timmy Jernigan as backups. The Eagles can rotate 6-8 different defensive lineman every snap, which makes them great. With Barnett now in his third year, this defensive line is gonna be amazing to watch.

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