- New England Patriots Secondary
The New England Patriots had a historically good defense for most of the 2019 season. Through eight games, they only allowed four touchdowns and managed to score four defensive touchdowns. Their star No.1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore went on to win defensive player of the year. Pro Football Focus graded the Patriots secondary as the highest secondary on any team through 16 games of the regular season. Outside of DPOY Gilmore, the Pats secondary boasts the McCourtney brothers (Devin and Jason), who are both pro bowl players. Even the Patriots two backup corners, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones, would start on most NFL teams. J.C. Jackson had five interceptions in 2019, and Jones had two forced fumbles and eight pass deflections. The best position unit on the best defense comes in at No.1 on the list.
2. New Orleans Saints Offensive Line
This ranking shouldn’t come as a surprise to NFL fans. The Saints O line battled injuries throughout the 2019 season and they still had a top 5 offensive in numerous categories. The Saints O line that featured three pro bowlers and one All-Pro player who didn’t make the pro bowl has managed to get noticeably better in the off-season, which puts them in this place. The first-round pick, Caesar Ruiz will be an upgrade by stepping in and starting at center for the Saints. The most beneficial aspect is that Andrus Peat will be returning healthy after missing six games in 2019. The Saints have the best tackle combination by far in football with right tackle Ryan Ramczyk who shut down J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack and left tackle Terron Armstead, who’s by far the most athletic left tackle in the league.
3. Washington Football Team’s Defensive Line
The Washington Football Team might pose the best defensive line in the NFL from the last 25 years. They have a top 10 edge rusher in Ryan Kerrigan, and then they draft Chase Young at No. 2 overall to compliment him. Let’s not forget DE Montez Sweat, who ran a 4.41 at the combine, but unleashed that ability onto the field with seven sacks last season. It’s going to be very interesting how teams play at a high level for four quarters against that pass rush rotation. In the middle of the D line, they have Allen, Payne, and Ioannidis, who are all very good. This D Line is guaranteed to have excellent players standing on the sideline during many third-down plays, which is scary because they will stay fresh throughout the season.
4. San Francisco 49ers Running Backs
The 49ers running backs were by far the best group of RBs in the league last year, and they only got better with the return of Jerick McKinnon from missing the 2019 NFL season. Their main RB Raheem Mostert averaged 5.6 YPC and had 700+ rushing yards, their backup RB Coleman had 500+ rushing yards, and now Mckinnon joins their backfield. He might be one of the most elusive backs in the league. Kyle Shanahan is right up there with Sean Payton for utilizing his skill players, and the best part is that all of the 49ers RBs can run and catch very well for Shanahan’s offense.
5.Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers
The Buccaneers No.2 WR Chris Godwin was third in the NFL in receiving yards. Yeah, their WR core is pretty good. Mike Evans, the No.1 WR has the freak ability and plays with a high level of intensity. He’s used it in unfortunate circumstances before by shoving Saints corner Marshon Lattimore in the back for no reason, but he’s an elite WR with his 6’6 frame and 4.4 speed. Evans joined Hall of Fame company last November when he became the second receiver ever to have 1,000 yards every season in his first six years(the other WR was Randy Moss). Godwin and Evans are by far the best WR tandem in the league, and Tom Brady will love going from little help in New England to the best WR tandem in the league.
6.Las Vegas Raiders Offensive Line
The Raiders offensive line was just ranked the No.1 offensive line in the league by Pro Football Focus. Their offensive line is similar to the Saints in that they lift their playmakers to another level. Josh Jacobs was 8th in the NFL in rushing yards, despite him being a rookie and missing three games. Is he a top 5 RB? Probably not, but his offensive line made his production per game seem like it. Like the Saints, The Saints are well established; they allowed their backup QB, Bridgewater, to step in and go 5-0 as a starter because he was well protected and had time to manage the game. The Raiders have the best center in the league, a top three-guard combination with Incognito and Jackson, and Trent Brown is a top-five right tackle. I believe they have the second-best offensive line behind the Saints injury riddle OL that got healthy and better, but it’s without a doubt one of the strongest units out of all 32 teams.
7.Green Bay Packers Linebackers
Za’ Darius Smith and Preston smith were arguably the top edge-rushing combo in the NFL last season. Pro Football Focus ranked them as the 7th best combo, even though they had more QB pressures than any of the tandems ahead of them. They combined for 148, which was six better than the No.1 ranked 49ers tandem led by Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. The scary part is that this combination only had their first full season together in 2019. Smith and Smith will turn up the heat in the 2020 season as they play Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Outside of these two prolific pass rushers, the team upgraded at middle linebacker by signing Christian Kirksey from the Browns. Kirksey can get after the quarterback with his 11.5 career sacks, go sideline to sideline, and he had two interceptions in 2018. This may seem like a plugin player who will try to hold the defense from falling apart, but he may follow in the footsteps of Demario Davis, who was a free agent signing for the Saints late in his career who turned All-Pro. Both of these players are very athletic, but now Kirksey is going into a way better system and full of high ability.
8.Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebackers
The Buccaneers have quietly one of the best linebacker groups in all of football. They have Lavonte David, who’s a top-three inside linebacker and Shaq Barrett, who led the league with 19.5 sacks. On top of that part, Jason Pierre Paul is very well a top 15 outside linebacker with near 20 sacks from the last combined two seasons. Then Devin White had a good season at middle linebacker by recording 90 tackles, 2.5 sacks, with an interception in just his rookie season. This corps is in the shadow of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but let’s not forget that they can fly all over the field and help Brady get his 7th SB trophy.
9.Cleveland Browns Running Backs
The Browns have the best 1-2 punch at running back in the whole league. Nick Chubb was magnificent last year by placing No.2 in league with 1,494 rushing yards and averaging 5.0 YPC. To follow it up, former Pro Bowler Kareem Hunt flashed in the games he was brought back to with 4.2 YPC and looking like his old version, where he mustered out 1,300+ yards in 2017. With another off-season, these RBs could put up 2,000+ yards between them, especially in a run-first offense by their new head coach, Kevin Stefanski. It’s not excusable or forgettable what Hunt was like in some instances off the field, but he’s turned the corner, and he’s still 25 years old.
10. New Orleans Saints Tight Ends
Yes, Taysom Hill counts as a tight end. The Saints quietly have the best tight end unit in the NFL. I understand that Kittle is the best tight end, but there isn’t an above-average backup TE in San Francisco. I’m not all for Rob Gronkowski presenting the Bucs to be the best unit. Gronkowski didn’t even have a top 10 season of TE production in 2018, outside of the fact that he took last season off. The Saints’ tight ends are legit, and there are four good ones. Jared Cook was a pro bowler last season and hauled in 9 touchdowns. Taysom Hill’s primary position was a tight end, where he hauled in 7 receiving touchdowns. They drafted a tight end named Adam Trautman in this year’s third round. The last time the Saints offense drafted a tight end in the third round was Jimmy Graham, and he turned out pretty good, I should say. Trautman had 31 receiving touchdowns in college, and he had a 6.78 3-cone time at the combine, which was first among tight ends and was even faster than Michael Thomas’s 3-cone time of 6.8. Plus Trautman is 6’5 and 250 pounds, which is very imposing. On top of that, Josh Hill is another tight end for the Saints, and he had three receiving touchdowns in 2019.