The Chicago Bears run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Vic Fangio
Vic Fangio's unit was unexpectedly solid last season, led by a career year from DE Akiem Hicks (8.5 sacks) and a resurgent campaign from CB Kyle Fuller (22 PD). The team focused on its offense in March, but then drafted LB Roquan Smith eighth overall and swung a blockbuster deal for pass rusher Khalil Mack shortly before the start of the season. A difficult NFC North schedule might be the biggest drawback.
The Los Angeles Chargers run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Gus Bradley
Coordinator Gus Bradley's defense caught fire in the second half of last season, only to have its playoff push undone by a Week 15 no-show in Kansas City. With pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram backed by a deep secondary that includes shutdown CB Casey Hayward (not to mention a strong offense), the Chargers have no excuse for another playoff miss. The rich got richer when S Derwin James slipped to No. 17 overall.
The Philadelphia Eagles run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Jim Schwartz
The Eagles replaced Vinny Curry and Beau Allen with Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata, getting older (but perhaps also better) on a defensive line led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. The major offseason loss was slot corner Patrick Robinson, but 2017 draft picks Sidney Jones (second round) and Rasul Douglas (third round) should be up to the task as replacements. The Eagles have a healthy mix of top talent and depth.
The Los Angeles Rams run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Wade Phillips
The Rams made the biggest splash of the offseason, swapping out CB Trumaine Johnson, LB Alec Ogletree and DE/OLB Robert Quinn for DT Ndamukong Suh and CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. With DT Aaron Donald and S LaMarcus Joyner also returning, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has a handful of elite players to work with. The only question is whether opponents can exploit the Rams' inexperienced linebackers.
The Baltimore Ravens run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Don Martindale
Baltimore went through the offseason without any major additions or subtractions on defense, instead focusing on helping Joe Flacco. That's probably a good thing given last year's results, though the team is relying on aging stars Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith, the last of whom will start the season with a four-game suspension.
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