The St. Louis Rams have one claim right now in the NFL and it's that their defensive line is the best in the whole league. But, could the case be the Rams not only have the best defensive line in the NFL, but also the best front seven in football?
We know their defensive line is at least seven deep, with starters like Michael Brockers, Chris Long, and the mega star Robert Quinn. Then you have players like William Hayes and the rookie first round pick Aaron Donald. The Rams are REALLY deep at defensive line. The linebacker positions are iffy however: you have Jo-Lonn Dunbar - who wasn't terrible last season, but wasn't as good as he was in the past for the Rams. I personally like James Laurinaitis and think that, while he's not one of the best middle linebackers in the league, he's better than what people think. Then you have last year's rookie outside linebacker Alec Ogletree, who put up great stats, but he's still progressing.
Could the Rams some how have the best front seven in football? Here's writer Mike Tanier from Sports on Earth, on the Rams.
1. St. Louis Rams
If all you know about the Rams front seven is that Michael Sam is trying to crack the depth chart, then you are missing out on the NFL's tastiest Defense Lover's Plus Pizza.
Here is what you need to know about last year's front four of Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford: they combined to make 196 plays, from sacks to run tackles to batted passes, which is a very high total for a defensive line. Opponents netted a total of 78.7 yards on those plays, including yards gained or lost before turnovers. So those four players accounted for 12.25 plays per game that amounted to 0.4 yards per play for the opponent. And that's before they hurry a quarterback into an incomplete pass or occupied blockers so the linebackers and safeties could go to work. Think of the Rams defensive line as starting each game with four three-and-outs that leave the opponent punting from about the 22-yard line, and you get a sense of their impact.
Just one more thing, Colombo: the Rams line got better in the draft. Aaron Donald was the best defensive tackle prospect on the board. He is short for an interior lineman, but it won't matter when he is standing between Quinn, Long and either Brockers or Langford. This is pure unblockability, as teams like the Saints learned last year, and that's before you get to a pair of rangy all-purpose linebackers named James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree.
Damn, that's some high praise to live up to... The best front seven in the league, and apparently he likes James Laurinaitis as much as I do? I guarantee you the Rams made it to number one on this list because of the strength of the defensive line. But hey, hopefully this front seven can live up to the hype and maybe at the end of the season we will be talking about playoffs...