The Green Bay Packers have strengthened their front seven this offseason, but where do they rank in the NFC North?
Due to different schemes, this ranking focuses on defensive fronts, which includes the defensive line, edge rushers, and inside linebackers.
The Packers have added talent to their front seven this spring. They are No. 1 in the rankings.
1. Green Bay Packers
Potential starters: Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt, Dean Lowry, Jarran Reed, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker
Wow. What a transformation in Green Bay.
The fact we can even consider the Packers’ defensive front to be the best in the NFC North is a testament to GM Brian Gutekunst.
Pro Bowler Kenny Clark is joined up front by first-round pick Devonte Wyatt. De’Vondre Campbell is coming off an All-Pro season and Rashan Gary could be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, if he continues to improve.
2. Minnesota Vikings
Potential starters: Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, Jaylen Twyman, Harrison Phillips, Za’Darius Smith, Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks
Could you make a case for the Vikings being top of these rankings? Absolutely.
The reason they are second behind the Packers is due to recent injury history.
If Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith are fully healthy, we could be talking about the best pass-rushing duo in the league. The pair have four Pro Bowls between them.
However, Hunter has only played seven games since the start of 2020. Smith missed all but one game in the regular season last year due to a back injury.
3. Detroit Lions
Potential starters: Aidan Hutchinson, Romeo Okwara, Alim McNeill, Michael Brockers, Josh Paschal, Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes, Jarrad Davis
The Lions’ defensive line might surprise a few people.
First-round pick Aidan Hutchinson could make a huge impact early on, as could second-round selection Josh Paschal. Michael Brockers is another key player. He made 16 starts for the Lions last season.
There are more questions for Detroit at linebacker.
4. Chicago Bears
Potential starters: Al-Quadin Muhammad, Robert Quinn, Angelo Blackson, Justin Jones, Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow
The Bears still have talent in their front seven but lost Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks this offseason.
Mack and Hicks were crucial to Chicago’s defensive dominance.
Roquan Smith will be important to this defense in 2022. He has been an All-Pro in each of the past two seasons.
Despite that, with Mack and Hicks gone, it is unlikely the Bears’ front seven will be as dominant as we’ve seen in recent years.