The Arizona Cardinals defensive line is going to be the weakest position group on the team this season unless someone decides to prove otherwise.
Unless the Arizona Cardinals see something in their defensive line that the rest of us are missing, there is no way this group will even be remotely successful in 2023. Perhaps they’re banking on the likes of L.J. Collier to look like the first round pick he was in 2019, or for Carlos Watkins to step up and be more than a role player.
The NFC West, however, is a weak division when it comes to the position (not counting EDGE rushers), with just one team (guess who) rising more than a cut above the rest. So where do the Cardinals rank? Keep reading for more.
Where the Arizona Cardinals defensive line ranks vs. the NFC West
4 - Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals defensive line looks horrible on paper, with Carlos Watkins looking like the team’s top player, which is saying little. However, it may not be all doom and gloom.
Former first round pick L.J. Collier could end up showing us why Seattle picked him 29th overall a few years back. And if Rashard Lawrence stays healthy, he could end up surprising people. Remember, in his five games this past season, Lawrence was on pace for just 34 stops, but also 10 tackles for loss.
3 - Los Angeles Rams
Many will rank the Los Angeles Rams higher in this category thanks to Aaron Donald. But there are two problems: For one, Donald is starting to age and he will inevitably lose a step.
For another, there is literally no one else worth mentioning besides Donald. In other words, apart from the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, the Rams unit is as barren as the Cardinals.
2 - Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks are in the same predicament as the Cardinals and Rams: Their defensive line is also slated to be terrible in 2023. But given the overall experience across the unit from last season, I gave them the nod over the Rams for the #2 ranking, though many would probably put Los Angeles second in this category.
Another reason for the Seahawks edging the Rams? Seattle’s linebackers are one of the NFL’s best groups, and they will likely curtail the line’s overall weaknesses, making this group look better than they really are.
1 - San Francisco 49ers
By now, you should know the drill, with the San Francisco 49ers once again taking the top spot. Since I ranked Nick Bosa and Company #1 in my EDGE rushers, this piece focuses mainly on the interior defensive line for the Niners, but having added Javon Hargrave in free agency, it shows you that every subgroup within the unit is top-notch.
We also can’t forget about Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, so overall, this group is talented, and likely deep, all across the board. Expect the Niners defensive line to dominate opposing offenses once more in 2023.
Source: 2023 NFL defensive line rankings: Philadelphia Eagles take the top spot, San Francisco 49ers come in at No. 2 by Zoltán Buday, PFF.com
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)