Defensive lines of the AFC East

Posted: May 2, 2015 in Football
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A brief look at defensive line depth charts in the AFC East and their (subscription required) ratings and rankings.

Miami Dolphins

DE Cameron Wake – PFF ranking 32.2, 1st among 4-3 DE’s

DT Ndamukong Suh – PFF ranking 27.5, 3rd amongst DT/NT’s

DT Jordan Phillips – N/A (rookie)

DE Olivier Vernon – PFF ranking 6.5, 17th among 4-3 DE’s

The Dolphins have some young talent (Earl Mitchell, Anthony Johnson) who could start the season at DT next to Suh but Phillips looks like the heir apparent at the position as the second round pick of the draft and coming off a strong season at Oklahoma.

New York Jets

DE Muhammad Wilkerson PFF ranking 33.7, 3rd among 3-4 DE’s

NT Damon Harrison – PFF ranking 11.5, 14th among DT/NT’s

DE Sheldon Richardson – PFF ranking 39.9, 2nd among 3-4 DE’s

The Jets still have the best 3-4 defensive line in football with Wilkerson, Harrison, and Richardson. They also took DT Leonard Williams just in case one of their elite defensive ends gets injured they can instantly replace him with a young blue chip talent and keep plaguing offenses as if nothing happened.

Buffalo Bills

DE Mario Williams – PFF ranking 16.1, 9th among 4-3 DE’s

DT Marcell Dareus – PFF ranking 25.6, 4th among DT/NT’s

DT Kyle Williams – PFF ranking 20.2, 7th among DT/NT’s

DE Jerry Hughes – PFF ranking 9.7, 14th among 4-3 DE’s

The Bills defensive line (barring injury) doesn’t change from a dominant 2014 season.

New England Patriots

DE/OLB Rob Ninkovich – PFF ranking -6.4, 41st out of 46 3-4 outside linebackers

DT Alan Branch – PFF score -.1 unranked among DT/NT’s

DT Sealver Siliga – PFF ranking 4.4, 25th among DT/NT’s

DE/OLB Chandler Jones – PFF ranking 11.7, 11th among 3-4 outside linebackers

You’ll notice the Patriots defensive line pales in comparison to the rest of the AFC East in terms of 2014 performance. It’s worth noting that rookie DT Malcom Brown (2015 1st round pick) or young untested DT Dominique Easley (2014 1st round pick) are likely to win the starting DT job next to Siliga in place of Alan Branch. That leaves “weak link” Rob Ninkovich with eight sacks, two passes defended and an interception from last season to round at defensive end.

The NFC West has recently been known as the division of defense. With free agency and the draft changing the NFL landscape the AFC East may overtake that identity.

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