Defensive Rankings (06/22/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
2015 NFL Positional Power Rankings – ranking every player in the NFL by position.

Our NFL Positional Power Rankings are based on an impact score (0 - 10 scale) for each player. This score is a relative value based on the projections that can put players in context across positions. A score of seven or above can generally outperform a replacement player in the NFL at his position; an eight or above can be expected to start adequately and a player with a rating over nine is a unique, game-changing athlete.

Rankings: offensive skill positions (including quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends). Offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and defensive secondary rankings have been revealed.

For more fun with impact scores check out the NFL Draft Machine.


Which team has the best defense in the NFL? The Seattle Seahawks with an average impact score of 8.51 out of 10. Last year's runner-up in the Super Bowl has the No. 1 secondary, the second best group of linebackers and a top 15 defensive line.

The Seahawks are so talented on defense that if you replaced Richard Sherman (9.0 out of 10) with an adequate starter (8.0 out of 10), Seattle would still be the top defense in the league. You would have to remove Sherman from the Legion of Boom and Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner (9.2 out of 10) to knock the Seahawks out of the top spot.

The Saints ranked 28th in scoring defense last year. In the offseason, New Orleans added defensive end Anthony Spencer, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Brandon Browner. The Saints also spent six of their nine picks on the defense in the draft. All of this effort and New Orleans still has the 31st ranked defense.

What can $114 million buy you? Among other things, six years of service from Ndamukong Suh. Miami's big offseason purchase helped bumped the Dolphins from 26th to 4th in our rankings.

Most improved defenses: Miami Dolphins from 26th in 2014 to 4th in 2015, Minnesota Vikings from 20th to 5th, Philadelphia Eagles from 24th to 9th, Green Bay Packers from 28th to 16th and Washington Redskins from 27th to 15th.

Defenses that went from Top 10 to Bottom 10: Arizona Cardinals 7th in 2014 to 25th in 2015. Honorable mentions: San Francisco 49ers from 3rd to 21st and Tennessee Titans from 9th to 19th.

Defensive Power Rankings

Team Average Defensive Ranking
Seattle Seahawks 8.51
Denver Broncos 8.40
Carolina Panthers 8.35
Miami Dolphins 8.33
Minnesota Vikings 8.32
New York Jets 8.30
Buffalo Bills 8.29
Cleveland Browns 8.26
Philadelphia Eagles 8.25
Detroit Lions 8.24
Kansas City Chiefs 8.23
Baltimore Ravens 8.21
St. Louis Rams 8.19
New York Giants 8.18
Washington Redskins 8.17
Green Bay Packers 8.16
Pittsburgh Steelers 8.15
New England Patriots 8.15
Tennessee Titans 8.14
Houston Texans 8.09
San Francisco 49ers 8.07
Dallas Cowboys 8.04
Indianapolis Colts 8.02
Atlanta Falcons 7.95
Arizona Cardinals 7.92
Cincinnati Bengals 7.92
San Diego Chargers 7.91
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7.91
Oakland Raiders 7.89
Jacksonville Jaguars 7.89
New Orleans Saints 7.87
Chicago Bears 7.87