By Chris Ross @DraftScout_NFL on July 18, 2014
In today's NFL, a strong defense can be the difference between mediocrity and contention. With offenses improving all the time, NFL teams have been given the task of building their defenses to withstand the rise of the offensive game. With that said, here are the 15 best defenses in the NFL heading into training camp.
Although the Baltimore Ravens don't quite have the same elite defense they had 10 years ago, this is a unit that appears to be on the rise. Guys like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata have been productive for years, and the addition of C.J. Mosley certainly won't hurt.
Over the last few seasons, the New England Patriots have done a good job building their defense into a force. Guys like Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty make the Patriots one of the NFL's better defenses.
A top defense for most of last season, the Kansas City Chiefs fell apart down the stretch, but remain a solid unit in 2014. Between Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, and 2014 draft pick Dee Ford, there is plenty of pass-rushing talent, and that alone makes them intriguing.
Although the secondary still needs some work, the Detroit Lions have been able to put together a good defense. Ziggy Ansah and Ndamukong Suh are two amazing talents, and if Nick Fairley can put it all together, this unit could be special.
As far as talent is concerned, the Green Bay Packers are as good as anyone in the NFL. Now it's just a matter of getting all that talent to play as a team. Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and a strong secondary make the Packers a defense worth keeping an eye on.
The Buccaneers are another team with a tremendous amount of talent that hasn't yet come together. Even despite losing Darrelle Revis, I expect the Buccaneers defense to finally take that next step in 2014. Gerald McCoy, and some other young players, make this an intriguing defense.
Despite the fact that the New York Giants aren't quite the contenders they once were, this is a team that still has a solid defense. Jason Pierre-Paul, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara are just a few players that make this a great defense going into 2014.
Anytime a defense has a player of Luke Kuechly's caliber, it's instantly better. That said, the Panthers have a solid defense around Kuechly as well. Guys like Greg Hardy, Thomas Davis and Charles Johnson make this a tough defense for any team.
If the Houston Texans had a solid defense going into this offseason, they got a lot better through the draft. Jadeveon Clowney and Louis Nix III each bring an immense skill set to the table, and paired with the defensive talent the Texans already had, this is a team that could be in for a rebound.
Any Rex Ryan led team is going to have a good defense, and the 2014 New York Jets are no exception. There is a lot of talent at every level of the defense, it's just a matter of getting that talent to mesh.
Not only do the St. Louis Rams have the best defensive line in the NFL, but they also have one of the best defenses as a whole. Outside of a star-studded line, guys like James Laurinaitis and Janoris Jenkins make this a spectacular unit.
In the span of two seasons, the New Orleans Saints have gone from having one of the NFL's worst defenses to having one of the best. The team did great in free agency, adding Champ Bailey and Jairus Byrd, and this is a defense on the rise.
The Denver Broncos already had one of the better defenses in the NFL, but some great offseason additions really made this team a lot better on defense. DeMarcus Ware will get most of the attention, and rightfully so, but guys like Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby and T.J. Ward made this defense a lot better.
Despite the fact Aldon Smith is facing a suspension and NaVorro Bowman is injured, the San Francisco 49ers remain a top defense. There is so much depth and talent on this roster that even the loss of two important players seems minor.
Not only do the Seattle Seahawks have the best defense in the league, but they might just have the best team in the league. There is a ton of talent at every level of the defense, and Seattle has far and away the best defensive unit in the NFL.
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