During his first season with the Rams in 2014, Aaron Donald played alongside Michael Brockers, William Hayes, and Robert Quinn. This was the same unit he played with two years later in 2016, when the team went 4-12, but Donald, Brockers, and Quinn were highly effective during the turnaround in 2017.
After Quinn departed, the team added Dante Fowler, and then he parlayed a productive 2019 season into a big free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons. And now Donald will enter the 2021 campaign without Brockers by his side for the first time in his career.
Will the defensive line be even better in 2021 without Brockers and Morgan Fox than it was a year ago? And how does it compare to the other three NFC West defensive lines?
LA RAMS (3-4)
Aaron Donald, Sebastian Joseph-Day, A’Shawn Robinson
Depth: Greg Gaines, Bobby Brown III*, Earnest Brown IV*
San Francisco 49ers (4-3)
Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Maurice Hurst
Depth: Dee Ford, Kevin Givens, Zach Kerr, Arden Key, D.J. Jones
Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder, Poona Ford, Al Woods
Depth: Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier, Benson Mayowa, Aldon Smith, Robert Nkemdiche
Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, Jordan Phillips
Depth: Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence, David Parry
Donald isn’t the only premium talent in the division — there’s also Bosa and potentially a rebound for Watt — but do any of these units compete with what the Rams bring to the defensive line in 2021? The Rams are also the only team to make any notable draft picks along the defensive line, choosing Brown in the fourth and the other Brown in the fifth.
Best overall defensive line in the NFC West?
This poll is closed