NFL Power Rankings: Who's Got the Best Group of Backups on Defense?

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NFL Power Rankings: Who's Got the Best Group of Backups on Defense?
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Talking about a football team’s second-string defense might not be at the top of every football fan's list.  Still, backups can play an important role on any team or in any game.

With that said, which teams have the best group of backups on defense?

That question is hard to answer and was even harder to try to break down.   Not every team utilizes backups the same way.  For example, even though Osi Umenyiora is labeled as a second-string defensive end, he gets rotated in enough to basically be a starter.

How, then, can we fairly judge each team’s second-stringers?

Some teams would also feel more of an impact if their backups were required to take the place of injured starters.

By using the depth charts from last year over at and comparing backups to their respective starters, and other backups on other teams, this list was created.

Each team’s second-stringers are broken down into three parts: the defensive line, the linebackers and the secondary, which consists of cornerbacks and safeties.

Then, each team was ranked by how effective each part of their second-string defenses was.  Some teams lacked linebacker backups, while others had solid defensive linemen and backup linebackers.

Does any team have a perfect backup defense?  No, they don't. But the better the backups compared to the starters and other second-stringers, the better the team was ranked.

Statistics for each team are linked in each individual slide, and all come from

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