In an offseason characterized by quarterback and wide receiver movement, it can be easy to forget the vital role of defense in the quest for a Super Bowl. 

There were plenty of offensive superstars who found new homes this offseason. The AFC, in particular, saw an arms race for offensive firepower throughout the spring. From Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson to Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, there were plenty of offenses that got much better. 

But all that movement only serves to remind us how important defense is going to be for those that want to make a deep run in the playoffs. 

Here, we'll project at the top defenses heading into the 2022 season. Previous performance in defense-adjusted value over average from Football Outsiders, ESPN's defensive efficiency and more traditional statistics were used as a baseline and adjusted based on talent acquired and lost this offseason. 

The result is our list of the seven best defenses. These units feature the right balance of pass rushing, coverage and run defense to cause headaches for even the top offenses in 2022.


7. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams defense was one of the biggest reasons they won the Super Bowl last year. The front office went all-in on adding defensive playmakers, and it paid off in a big way. 

But of everyone that made this list, the Rams have the most questions for the upcoming season based on outgoing talent. In particular, Von Miller was a huge loss. With limited salary-cap space or draft capital, the Rams never truly found a reasonable way to replace his production and leadership. 

Miller opting to sign a free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills overshadowed the loss of Darious Williams, which casts doubt on the cornerback position opposite Jalen Ramsey. The departures of Sebastian Joseph-Day and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on the defensive line could also be more significant than originally thought. 

That being said, the addition of Bobby Wagner and the return of Troy Hill are big boosts for a unit that was great last season, and there's still plenty of star power left. Aaron Donald is a singular talent on the interior, and Ramsey is among the best corners in the league. 

The Rams have been top-10 in ESPN's defensive efficiency in each of the past three seasons, which should inspire confidence that they will maintain their defensive prowess despite losing those key players.