With camps started and most additions and subtractions already done, it was time to get my first set of rankings out there. I already have my QB Tiers – RB Tiers – WR Tiers and TE Tiers, so without anymore delay, here are my Defensive tiers.
If you don’t know about tiered rankings, read this, it might help – “How To Use Tiered Rankings” – I’ll do my best to get my complete All Position Tiered Rankings done here in the next week or so. Until then, enjoy, and feel free to write in with any questions. Any mail to firstname.lastname@example.org gets forwarded to the site, so shoot us some disagreements if you please!
DST Tier I
|Green Bay Packers|
|New York Jets|
|New England Pats|
|New Orleans Saints|
|New York Giants|
|Kansas City Chiefs|
|San Francisco 49ers|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|St. Louis Rams|
They haven’t made unbelievable moves this off-season, but it’s tough to bet against the Steelers, Packers, and Jets. They just have that dominant defensive game plan, they play at a speed that only the Ravens match, and they are still young enough to be dominant.
The Ravens, Bears, and Eagles were all considered for that top tier spot – but despite the additions Philly made in their secondary and pass rush (Nnamdi and Jason Babin) I’m just not sure they’ll be good enough up front at stopping the run to be a top tier defense. The Ravens are getting older and still need pass rush help and the Bears are solid, but one wonders if they’re tough enough up the middle on the defensive line. All three are great defenses, no doubt, but that’s why they weren’t in the top tier.
The Patriots did a great job in the off-season, adding one of the best 4-3 DTs in the game (Albert Haynesworth). They also are interested in Tommie Harris, and like always, I’m sure they’ll get him to play to his potential. They are a very young defense in the secondary, and a year of growth will certainly do them well.
Dallas will almost surely be solid this year. They get a very good defensive coordinator and talent has never been a problem for them. Expect big things from Rob Ryan in Big D.
The Lions jump out at me as a winner in the draft, and their youth will be improved this year. I don’t know how teams will deal with their stud defensive tackles.
The Saints and Giants are always solid, especially up front. Their pressure on opposing offenses really creates problems, and then turnovers. Defenses are tough to predict on a year to year basis, don’t spend too much on them unless your league has special rules awarding points for yardage against and higher scoring bonuses.
Alright, I’ve finished all the skill position lists for the season, and while you never know how happenings will change some rankings during the pre-season, I’m pretty confident about my RB Rankings, QB Rankings, WR Rankings, and TE Rankings. I’m not doing kickers, because I never do (just grab a kicker with a good offense that kicks in a dome, you’ll be alright) – but I am doing defense, my last Tiered Ranking Position left. Hope you enjoy!
This group isn’t that much better than tier 2, but these are defenses, what do you want from me? Don’t reach for defenses, just grab one at a nice spot and don’t hesitate to play match-ups if that D doesn’t work out. I like New York because how couldn’t you? They have elite players all over the field, especially in the secondary, and boast one of the best defensive minds in football as their head coach. Dallas has tons of talent, though their secondary lacks a little bit. Luckily they are monsters on the D-line, plug the run well, and put enough pressure on QBs to stir up some turnovers. I like them to be much improved this season on D. The Eagles are an interesting D. They allow points and yards, but they put up a lot of turnover points and defensive scores. If you get special teams, which I’m assuming you do, the Eagles always have the crazy speed to make big things happen.
There are more questions here than that top group has. Green Bay has lots of talent all over the field, but they might struggle in the secondary a little early, and have always given up the deep ball. Still, there’s a lot to like about them as a Top 5 D. San Francisco has one of the best linebackers in the game, and one heck of a defensive line – though they struggle in the secondary as well. Still, they play hard and delete almost every run game. Pittsburgh had some tough stats last year, not normal Pitt stuff, but I think they turn it back around this year and impose some of that steel-curtain will. The Bengals are underrated, as they have elite corners, very talented young linebackers, and a run-stuffing defensive front. They don’t pressure the QB much, but they are playmakers. The Ravens are aging, and I’m interested to see how they fill out their secondary with Ed Reed down for the first half of the season (or so) and their lack of depth and health at corner. Still, they have great players on that team, Ray Lewis and Suggs to name two. Minnesota has some elite pass rushing, and decent linebackers, but this team can struggle in the secondary as well. The Saints got a ton of turnovers last year, but history says they won’t get as many breaks in 2010. Still, they really bring pressure and make things happen – good or bad.
11. San Diego Chargers
12. Chicago Bears
13. New England Patriots
14. New York Giants
15. Denver Broncos
16. Cleveland Browns
17. Houston Texans
18. Atlanta Falcons
19. Arizona Cardinals
20. Buffalo Bills
21. Miami Dolphins
Hopefully you’re staying away from these defenses, but you never know, they could impress or the Top 10 could falter/fall off the earth in some way. If that happens, I like San Diego as a team with a chance to do some solid work in 2010. They just didn’t make enough happen last year, and I think they are a little more aggressive, and a little healthier this time around. Chicago has some new talent and some guys getting healthy – sounds like a good combo, though with the new Peppers addition, they could be getting more hype than they deserve. The Patriots always find ways to be solid despite unknowns on their starting roster. The Giants were really hurt last year, and while I don’t know how they’ll piece together a linebacking unit this year, they still have a super talented defensive line, and some good guys in the secondary if they can stay healthy. Denver is interesting, I still don’t think they have enough pass rush to be a Top 10 group, and the coach that had them improve so much has moved on, but they sure were good at times last year. Cleveland has a better group than you’d think – but I’m not sure if they’re good enough to draft. Houston has a great front 7, but they may have lost their best player in a bad secondary, Dunta Robinson, so they’ll still struggle there. Atlanta picked up Dunta Robinson, and has some talent scattered sporadically, but one pass rusher and a couple decent corners doesn’t a Top 10 defense make. Arizona lost some key contributors, but they still play in the west and still have a stout defensive line with new young guys to help. They make a nice match-up option. Buffalo has a great young secondary, but not much of a pass rush or run-stuffing group. Miami gets the guy that helped improve Denver’s defense, but there are still a lot of questions on that roster – consider them a sleeper.