Just before free agency started we took a look at the depth chart as it stood then. There have been a few changes and draft talk and rumors bring up the possibility of more shifting. Yesterday we examined the offense; today it’s the defense.
Starters in bold
DL: Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean-Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse
They could well start the season with this lineup but there is also the possibility of a major shakeup if Leonard Williams slides to the No. 5 pick in the draft. But Scot McCloughan indicated that he thought the line was pretty strong so barring the unexpected the status quo should be maintained here.
LB: Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Jackson Jeffcoat, Steve Beauharnais
This was the one area that remained untouched during free agency but don’t expect it to stay that way during the draft. An edge rusher such as Dante Fowler Jr. or Vic Beasley is the favorite to be the top pick tonight and even if that doesn’t happen they will get one somewhere along the line. Inside linebacker is a much lower priority although they might take one if they can find some depth there that can also help on special teams immediately.
DB: Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, Jeron Johnson, Dashon Goldson, David Amerson, Phillip Thomas, DeAngelo Hall, Tracy Porter, Akeem Davis, Duke Ihenacho
There are three new starters in the four positions in the secondary but they aren’t done. They need to find depth and a possible long-term successor for Goldson, who will be 31 before Week 2 starts.
Specialists: PK Kai Forbath, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg
Expect a challenger for Forbath, although it seems unlikely that they will draft a kicker for a second year in a row. They also could draft a running back or wide receiver who could serve as a kickoff and punt returner, an area that has been a sore spot for the last few years.