Packers: Power ranking NFC North by position groups

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Za'Darius Smith
Green Bay Packers, Za’Darius Smith (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Defensive line/edge rushers

Note: Defensive tackles and edge rushers are put together in this category so there is balance in the division. For example, Danielle Hunter is listed as a defensive lineman while Za’Darius Smith is an outside linebacker. By grouping both positions together, each team’s pass rush can be compared.

1. Packers

Depth at defensive tackle is a concern, but the Packers’ trio of Kenny Clark, Za’Darius Smith, and Preston Smith is about as strong as any in the NFL, especially rushing the passer. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, this trio had 163 pressures last year, second-most in the NFL since 2016. Rashan Gary is set to make a second-year jump and the Packers have excellent depth at edge rusher.

2. Bears

The trio of Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks can also be a dominant one this season. The Bears upgraded their pass rush by signing Quinn to replace Leonard Floyd. Quinn led the league in pass rush win rate last season, according to ESPN.

3. Vikings

After trading for Yannick Ngakoue, the Vikings now have a great pass-rushing duo. Ngakoue and Danielle Hunter will cause problems for every offensive line they come up against. The reason the Vikings are third is that they’ve lost Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen, and new signing Michael Pierce has opted out of the season.

4. Lions

According to Pro Football Focus, Trey Flowers had 62 pressures in 2019, but he can’t do it alone. Da’Shawn Hand is a talented defensive tackle and Danny Shelton is a good offseason addition, but the Lions have also lost Damon Harrison and Mike Daniels.