Now that we are well into May, we have a better handle on the personnel and structure of all 32 NFL defenses. Armed with all that information, we are in a better position to conduct a power ranking of where every NFL defense will stack up for the 2013 season.
We conducted this same exercise more than a year ago (4/13/2012), which was arguably tougher back then since the 2012 draft hadn't occurred yet. Still, it is fun to go back and see which projections were correct and which ones were missed badly. Hopefully we can apply some of the lessons learned into the 2013 edition.
For our power ranking, we will factor in all the teams that made changes at either the head coach, the defensive coordinator or both key roles. We weighed the players that left, those that joined via free agency or by trade and looked at every defensive player selected in the draft.
Every team slide will include the overall defensive rankings for the past three years, highlight all defensive personnel changes and name the new starters for 2013. Another feature is that we will identify all the top-10 defensive players in 2012 at their position as graded by Pro Football Focus. In addition, we'll also provide an overview analysis of every NFL defense and key issues it will need to address.
Just to clarify, if a free agent hasn't signed on with his 2012 team by now, we will consider him to be departed.
The rankings are based off the information we have as of May 11th. These rankings are subject to change due to injuries or the additions of key free agents. As of now, there are still some key free agents that are waiting to receive an offer that could have an impact on their new team. That would include Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, Brian Urlacher, Charles Woodson and Nick Barnett, to name a few.
All team statistics sighted in this presentation are courtesy of ESPN.com. The individual defender statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The source for new starters and depth charts is courtesy of OurLads.com.