Defensive line/edge rushers
Chicago’s front seven has been one of the league’s best for some time, and that should continue in 2021. Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack are two of the best at their respective positions and will cause offensive lines all sorts of problems. Getting Eddie Goldman back along the defensive line is big news for the Bears.
The Vikings struggled defensively last season but we could see this unit bounce back in 2021, especially up front. Minnesota has a new starting pairing at defensive tackle of Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce, while edge rusher Danielle Hunter makes his return from injury. He had 14.5 sacks in both 2018 and ’19. The Vikings also re-signed Everson Griffen earlier this week.
There are some questions still to be asked up front for the Packers, but they have some key players to build around. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark and edge rusher Za’Darius Smith are both Pro Bowlers, while Rashan Gary is a breakout candidate. If Preston Smith gets back to his best and the Packers can get contributions from Kingsley Keke and TJ Slaton up front, this group can be very good.
The Lions have struggled defensively in recent years, but they’ll be hoping that getting Trey Flowers back from injury, along with trading for Michael Brockers, will help them improve up front this season.