Mock drafts are happening now. And so it is time to start feeling giddy about fantasy football season. And that means it is time to start thinking about fantasy drafts and that means it is time to give defenses a good look see. Here are nine defenses that you will want to keep an eye on (OK, 10 defenses):
9. Oakland Raiders: Projected Starters: Linebacker Khalil Mack, Sio Moore and Malcolm Smith; Defensive Tackle Dan Williams, Justin Ellis; Defensive End Justin Tuck, C.J. Wilson; Safety Nat Allen and Charles Woodson; Cornerback D.J. Hayden
I am all in on the Raiders. Why? Because rookie Mack had the second highest rating behind only J.J. Watt last season. /Drops the mic.
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Also when you have old head Tuck and Woodson playing good and then add defensive guru Jack Del Rio as head coach? Yes, please.
8. Miami Dolphins: Projected starters: Linebackers Jelani Jenkins, Koa Misi, and Chris McCain; Defensive Tackles Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Phillips; Defensive Ends Olivier Vernon, Cameron Wake; Cornerbacks Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor; Free Safety Louis Delmas; Strong Safety Reshad Jones
Maybe I am being swayed by the acquisition of Ndamukong Suh. When he is on the field he is good. And what is better he makes those around him better.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Projected starters: Linebackers Danny Lansanah, Bruce Carter, Lavonte David; Defensive Tackles Gerald McCoy, Henry Melton; Defensive Ends Will Gholston, George Johnson; Cornerbacks Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks; Free Safety Keith Tandy or Chris Conte; Strong Safety Bradley McDougald or Major Wright
Yes, they were underachievers last year. Even so they were eighth against the run.
6. Arizona Cardinals: Projected Starters: Linebackers Matt Shaughnessy, Alex Okafor, Kevin Minter vs. run otherwise Sean Weatherspoon; Defensive Line Calais Campbell, Corey Peters, Frostee Rucker; Safeties Rashad Johnson, Tyrann Mathieu; Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers
While their secondary gets all the attention, their defensive line isn’t that bad either. Last season they were sixth against the run.
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5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Projected Starters: Linebackers Laroy Reynolds, Paul Posluszny, Telvin Smith; Defensive Tackles Roy Miller, Sen’Derrick Marks; Defensive Ends Red Bryant, Chris Clemons; Strong Safety John Cyprien; Free Safety Josh Evans; Cornerbacks Demetrius McCray, Dwayne Gratz, Will Blackmon
The Jaguars aren’t a very good team. Their defense is spectacular. And you can count on them spending plenty of time on the field.
4. Carolina Panthers: Projected Starters: Linebackers Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson; Defensive Tackles Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei; Defensive Ends Charles Johnson, Kony Ealy; Strong Safety Roman Harper; Free Safety Tre Boston; Cornerbacks Bene Benwikere, Josh Norman
Luke Kuechly looks like Clark Kent and plays like Superman.
3. Buffalo Bills: Projected Starters: Linebackers Nigel Bradham, Preston Brown; Defensive Tackles Corbin Bryant, Kyle Williams; Defensive Ends Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes; Safeties Duke Williams, Aaron Williams; Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Corey Graham
Stop fretting because Kiko Alonso is gone. He didn’t play last season.
2. Seattle Seahawks: Projected Starters: Linebackers KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin; Defensive Tackles Tony McDaniel, Brandon Mebane; Defensive Ends Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril; Strong Safety Kam Chancellor; Free Safety Earl Thomas; Cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Cary Williams, Will Blackmon
Here is the irony of the Seahawks. As IDP fantasy players they really don’t offer much. But as a team … yes, please.
1. St. Louis Rams: Projected Starters—Linebackers Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis, Akeem Ayers; Defensive Ends Robert Quinn, Chris Long; Defensive Tackles Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers versus run, Nick Fairley versus pass; Strong Safety TJ McDonald; Free Safety Rodney McLeod; Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins, EJ Gaines, Trumaine Johnson
Forget about who is under center, for now. This defense is legit. The defensive line is formidable. You can play them either on traditional or IDP leagues.
New York Jets: Projected Starters—Linebackers Quinton Coples, David Harris, Demario Davis; Defensive Ends Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Wilkerson; Defensive Tackles Damon Harrison; Safeties Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist; Cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine
Simmer down. Honorable mention is really 1b. Last season you wouldn’t play the Jets defense against a team that threw the ball … you knew they were going to get torched! Now whether an offense runs or passes the Jets defense is formidable.
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