|3||Kansas City Chiefs|
|7||New England Patriots|
|8||New York Giants|
|9||Los Angeles Rams|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers|
|16||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|17||Green Bay Packers|
|27||New York Jets|
|30||New Orleans Saints|
|32||San Francisco 49ers|
Best bets: Broncos, Texans, Chiefs, Seahawks and Cardinals
The Broncos still have Von Miller and an elite secondary so expect them to be one of the more stout defenses as they have been in recent years. Expect more of the same and maybe Von Miller will make good on his promise to get “30, maybe 32” sacks.
Despite losing A.J. Bouye, the Texans still have a solid, veteran secondary. They also have a duo that might look better than the 2015 Demarcus Ware-Von Miller duo, in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. In Miller’s absence last season, Clowney really stepped up into the player he was drafted to be.
The Chiefs lose Dontari Poe, but the pieces they have there can score big points without him. Marcus Peters can return an interception to the house on any given play. If Tyreke Hill is returning kicks or punts, then he’s also a threat to go the distance anytime he fields one.
We saw what Seattle was like when they lost Earl Thomas, which was almost unplayable. He’s the heart and soul of their defense and it could go south real quick if he goes down again. Hopefully, he can remain on the field and lead the legion of boom to a strong defensive season. The Seahawks will also hopefully get a full year out of SS Kam Chancellor as he missed the early part of last season with a holdout.
The Arizona Cardinals have a strong defense, but be wary. They may not look the same without veterans Tony Jefferson in the secondary and Calais Campbell up on the front line. However, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are still elite players that do wild things when they’re out on the field. Also, I love rookie linebacker Haason Reddick. He’s already making noise in training camp and he’s going to lead this defenses biggest need.
Defenses who made additions that could vault them into the Best Bets by season's end: Jaguars, Patriots, Steelers
Jacksonville adding A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell to a roster that already includes budding superstar, Jalen Ramsey, Tashaun Gipson and Malik Jackson are moves that could buy themselves a top 10 defense much like the Giants did previously.
Look, the Patriots defense was pretty good last year, but they were beatable. This year they add Stephon Gilmore to the secondary and Kony Ealy as a pass rusher. They also held on to Dont’a Hightower. I expect them to be better than last season.
Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree are two young linebackers that continue to improve for the Steelers. Look for the addition of Joe Haden in the secondary to help them get a little bit more time to get to the QB. Much like Reddick, I’m also super high on rookie, T.J. Watt. Dude is a solid football player.
In deeper leagues:
The Eagles and Chargers can provide some stability for you on your roster. Joey Bosa is a budding star and the Eagles have a solid pass rush as well with Brandon Graham. The Ravens can be considered, but remember that their ceiling is limited if their offense isn’t providing much.