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NFC West projected defensive starters by position

How do the LA Rams stack up on the defensive side of the ball?

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, I posted the offensive positions in the NFC West. Today I’m posting the defensive starters in the NFC West. “Starter” is a little bit harder to define on defense — or at least the football-consuming public at large seems to recognize more personnel differences on that side of the ball than they do on offense even though for example the LA Rams could really be more of a 2-TE team than a 3-WR team — but I’ll make due as best I can.

It’s not a competition to see who can do the best at accurately predicting the “11 starters” for every defense and in every case there are likely going to be significant, unforeseeable changes between now and whenever the season starts. It’s just a matter of estimating and weighing the competition relative to the Rams.

That being said, if you do see an egregious error or a better calculation of a player’s position or an estimation of who will actually start, go ahead and throw it in the comments — I’m certainly open to the idea that I’m wrong or made an error, overlooked somebody.

I ended up with 11 names for each team, spread out however they’re spread out.

Generally speaking, I’d say that the:

  • Seahawks look massively outmatched in pass rushers
  • Aaron Donald, Nick Bosa, Chandler Jones still seem to be a class of their own
  • Javon Kinlaw, Isaiah Simmons represent interesting young defensive prospects in the division. Seattle’s Jordyn Brooks doesn’t seem likely to start as a rookie unless the team cuts K.J. Wright, which is certainly possible
  • The Niners look solid just about everywhere
  • Much like on offense, Arizona could sneakily be the second-best team in the division on this side of the ball. In talent on paper in May, at least. How does it come together? Not sure, but advanced development of Simmons, Budda Baker, Byron Murphy could change the makeup of the division to a large degree

Here is a quick look around the NFC West on the defensive side:

Edge Rushers

49ers - Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford

Cardinals - Chandler Jones, Devon Kennard

Rams - Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis

Seahawks - L.J. Collier, Benson Mayowa

Interior Linemen

49ers - Solomon Thomas, Javon Kinlaw

Cardinals - Jordan Phillips

Rams - Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Michael Brockers

Seahawks - Jarran Reed, Poona Ford

Inside Linebackers

49ers - Fred Warner

Cardinals - Jordan Hicks, De’Vondre Campbell

Rams - Travin Howard

Seahawks - Bobby Wagner

Outside Linebackers

49ers - N/A

Cardinals - Isaiah Simmons

Rams - N/A

Seahawks - K.J. Wright


49ers - Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Wuan Williams

Cardinals - Patrick Peterson, Byron Murphy, Robert Alford

Rams - Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, Terrell Burgess

Seahawks - Shaquill Griffin, Quinton Dunbar, Tre Flowers

Free Safeties

49ers - Jimmie Ward

Cardinals - Budda Baker

Rams - John Johnson

Seahawks - Quandre Diggs

Strong Safeties

49ers - Jaquiski Tartt

Cardinals - Jalen Thompson

Rams - Taylor Rapp

Seahawks - Bradley McDougald

Without any additional commentary, just your own eye test, how do you feel about the Rams on defense as compared to the rest of the division? Adding in the state of the offense from earlier, what are you thoughts on how the roster stacks up?