Instant Debate

Broncos, Raiders, Jets among NFL teams with best defensive fronts in 2016

In 2015, Denver's defense led the league in many categories, including sacks (52). The Broncos terrorized opposing quarterbacks all season long -- and sacked Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Cam Newton a whopping 14 times during their postseason run to the Super Bowl title. Simply put: Denver's defensive front was a force to be reckoned with.

Denver lost stud DT Malik Jackson to free agency this offseason, but there's still plenty of talent in the group. In fact, one player in the Broncos' front seven will be revealed in the next installment (counting down from 40 to 31) of NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016."

But does the Broncos' unit still reign supreme? Taking all of the offseason moves into consideration, which team has the best defensive front heading into the 2016 campaign?

"Top 100 Players of 2016" airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network until the full list has been revealed. The conversation continues on the "Top 100 Players Reaction" show, which airs immediately after at 9 p.m. ET.

Even though the Broncos lost Malik Jackson in free agency, they still have the best defensive front in my opinion. There are three guys who must be double teamed -- Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe. If you single block any of them, that man will wreak havoc. Denver signed Wolfe to a contract extension in January, and he's the critical piece of the interior defensive line; his success allows the players on the edge -- Miller and Ware -- to play at such a high level.

That said, I think Miami has the potential to have the best front seven, with Cameron Wake, Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh -- but all of that depends on Suh's effort. I think the New York Jets' front seven is one of the toughest groups to block. Sheldon Richardson is a stud, as he can play nose guard, 3-technique or anything else he's asked to do. Leonard Williams showed some unbelievable promise as a rookie and grasped a defensive system that's not easy to learn. Muhammad Wilkerson is a nightmare if he's matched up against a tight end in pass rush, but he can also do a lot of other things well. The Jets' front seven is just as stout and physical against the run as it is ferocious in the pass rush. J.J. Watt is one of the best pass rushers of all time and a premier player when it comes to tackles for loss. The Texans were fifth in sacks last season, and they still haven't seen the best of Jadeveon Clowney. With a healthy and more motivated season by Clowney, paired with Watt's leadership and the committee of players in Houston's front seven, the Texans have the potential to be the best in 2016. I'm going to say Carolina. Luke Kuechly is the quarterback of the defense and makes that team so much better. Kuechly, along with Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson, are all solid pass rushers. You also have Kawann Short, Charles Johnson and Star Lotulelei on the D-line. This is a tough defensive front that has been improving in each of the last several years. There are so many weapons in the Raiders' front seven that I'm not sure which player you double team. If opponents decide to go one-on-one with any of these guys, especially Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack, they are in big trouble. We saw last year what Mack is capable of, and there are a lot of other young players on this team that opponents have to watch out for. I'll be interested to see if anyone can stop these guys. I'm going to say the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even with a slow start, they ranked third in sacks (48) in 2015 -- behind just New England and Denver. They have a tough D-line, with Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt on the outside and Daniel McCullers at nose tackle. James Harrison is returning, Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier continue to improve, while Jarvis Jones is in a contract year. This group is motivated and adjusting quickly to Butler's system.

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