Welcome to week two of the Branded Sports NFL Divisional Power Rankings, broken down by position groups. Last week we covered the offensive side of the ball, this week we will break down and rank the defensive side of the ball.
Last week’s offensive divisional rankings:
Today we will start the defensive divisional rankings with the defensive line groups. I will name the four presumptive starters from each group next to the team name, and that is what the rankings are based off of. I will rank the divisions from 8 to the 1.
Let the NFL Divisional Rankings continue, with our first defensive group, defensive lines:
8. AFC EAST
Bills: Trent Murphy, Star Lotulelei, Ed Oliver, Jerry Hughes
Dolphins: Avery Moss, Davon Godchaux, Raekown Davis, Christian Wilkins
Jets: Henry Anderson, Steve McLendon, Folorusno Fatukasi, Quinnen Williams
Patriots: Lawrence Guy, Beau Allen, Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise Jr.
Strange, the AFC East was in the bottom of the rankings almost all week within the offensive rankings, and now here they go again. I think the Bills have the best DL in the division, but now they will probably be without Ed Oliver for a few games after his quarantine arrest. Overall the names on this list can not be any higher than last.
7. NFC NORTH
Bears: Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, John Jenkins, Bilal Nichols,
Lions: Romeo Okwara, Dannay Shelton, Nick Williams, Trey Flowers
Packers: Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark, Tyler Lancaster, Preston Smith
Vikings: Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce, Shamar Stephen, Ifeadi Odenigbo
The NFC North isn’t terrible, there are just 6 other divisions that are better. You could count Mack as a DL for the bears and they may jump a spot. I think Danielle Hunter can still be a beast but their DL also lost some big time talent this offseason. The Lions have a chance to have a sneaky good DL, I can’t wait to see Romeo Okwara playing with his younger brother Julian this season.
6. NFC SOUTH
Buccaneers: Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea,, Jason Pierre-Paul
Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, Grady Jarrett, Tyeler Davison, Allen Bailey
Panthers: Stephen Weatherly, Derrick Brown, Kawann Short, Brian Burns
Saints: Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins, Malcom Brown, Marcus Davenport
Again, some big time names in the NFC South. Suh, Pierre-Paul, Short, Jordan, Rankins. This division absolutely has a chance to finish the season ranked higher than 6 with the amount of talent. I am very interested to see Marcus Davenport in his second year with the Saints on the other side of Cam Jordan. The NFC South took 3 top spots in the offensive rankings, but their DL will sit at 6.
5. AFC SOUTH
Colts: Justin Houston, DeForest Buckner, Denico Autry, Al-Quadin Muhammad
Jaguars: Josh Allen, Al Woods, Tavon Bryan, Yannick Ngakoue
Texans: J.J. Watt, Brandon Dunn, Charles Omenihu, Tim Jernigan
Titans: Jeffery Simmons, DaQuan Jones, Isaiah Mack, Jack Crawford
Lunch pale. That is what this group screams at me. Go to work, do your job. Very solid group from top to bottom lead by long time wrecker J.J. Watt. But there are also questions, will Yannick play for the Jags this season? How will Justin Houston fit in, in Indy? Can the best player in the division J.J. Watt stay healthy?
4. NFC WEST
49ers: Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead
Cardinals: Zach Allen, Jordan Phillips, Leki Fotu, Corey Peters
Rams: Micheal Brockers, A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Aaron Donald
Seahawks: Bruce Irvin, Poona Ford, Jarran Reed, Benson Mayowa
I would love to put this division in the top 3, and maybe some would. I mean Bosa took the NFL by storm last year. Aaron Donald could be the best overall defensive player in football. Bruce Irvin still has a lot to prove up in Seattle. But there are also some blah names… Ive seen Benson Mayowa play and he stinks. The Cardinals need help on their DL. The 49ers still seem to be shopping Solomon Thomas. Just outside the top 3 for me.
3. AFC WEST
Broncos: Jurrell Casey, Mike Purcell, Kyle Peko, Shelby Harris
Chargers: Joey Bosa, Justin Jones, Linval Joseph, Melvin Ingram III
Chiefs: Alex Okafor, Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Frank Clark
Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins, Maxx Crosby
From the NFC West to the AFC West. From one Bosa brother to the other. Coming in at number 3 is the AFC West. Jurrell Casey is ready for a breakout year in Denver. Bosa and Ingram could easily be the best 1-2 punch on a DL in the league. The Chiefs DL played amazing on the SB run led by Chris Jones and Frank Clark. The weakest line will definitely be the Raiders but could step up and shut me up.
2. AFC NORTH
Bengals: Carlos Dunlap, D.J. Reader, Geno Atkins, Sam Hubbard
Browns: Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon
Ravens: Derek Wolfe, Brandon Williams, Daylon Mack, Calais Campbell
Steelers: Stephon Tuitt, Dan McCullers, Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt
Smash mouth, punch you in the face football. That is what this division says. Led by vets like Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins who have done it in the North forever. Myles Garrett is going to have a massive chip on his shoulder coming off suspension. The additions of Wolfe and Campbbell for the Ravens are amazing. I think the Steelers DL is as tough as they come. Stephon Tuitt is the most underrated defensive lineman in the entire league.
1. NFC EAST
Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence, Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Tyron Crawford (Aldon Smith)
Eagles: Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett
Giants: Dexter Lawrence, Delvin Tomlinson, Chris Slayton, Leonard Williams
Redskins: Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Chase Young
After putting these rankings together, it is clear that the NFC East is the top dog and it is not even close. The Redskins may have the best DL in the league. Adding Chase Young to that already stacked group is not even fair. The Giants may have the “worst” DL in the division but they still have Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. Fletcher Cox is the best big man in the NFL and their line ALWAYS finds ways to wreck games. The Cowboys have completely remade their DL, DLaw has the skills to be a top 3 pass rusher in the NFL. McCoy and Poe.. A healthy Tyron Crawford and an apparent clean and crazy in shape Aldon Smith? The NFC East is a monster.
Those are the first defensive divisional rankings. Tomorrow we will be ranking linebacker groups.
Let us know your thoughts on the DL rankings.