PFF ranks Rams’ defensive line No. 1 in NFL entering 2022

The Rams’ defensive front suffered two major losses this offseason with the departures of Von Miller and Sebastian Joseph-Day. They left to sign elsewhere in free agency, with Miller joining the Bills and Joseph-Day staying in LA with the Chargers.

Yet, Pro Football Focus still views their defensive line as the best in the NFL.

PFF’s Ben Linsey ranked the Rams No. 1 on his list of the best defensive lines in football, leading the “Elite” tier. For 3-4 defenses like the Rams, their edge rushers were included, so in this context, the Rams’ defensive line features Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis to go along with Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson.

With a stud like Donald leading the way, it’s easy to see why the Rams’ defensive line would be ranked first overall. But Gaines, Robinson and Floyd are all quality starters to round out the group, too.

The Rams don’t have the same kind of depth – particularly on the edge – as some of the other teams in this tier, but that matters a whole lot less when Aaron Donald is on the roster, as he’s the most reliably elite performer in the NFL.

Donald’s brilliance has been well documented, but his durability is an underrated aspect of his game. He played over 1,200 defensive snaps through the 2021 regular season and the Rams’ postseason run, and his 6,995 regular-season defensive snaps since 2014 are more than any other interior defensive lineman in the NFL. The Rams defense should continue to be able to count on elite play from Donald on nearly every defensive snap, creating opportunities for Leonard Floyd, A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines and Justin Hollins in 2022.

There’s no minimizing the losses of Miller and Joseph-Day because both were key parts of the defense at different points last season. Joseph-Day offers upside as a pass rusher at nose tackle, and he was valuable before getting hurt just seven games into the season.

Miller is, well, a future Hall of Famer, and the Rams probably don’t win the Super Bowl without him last season. They’ll miss both players, but Gaines was a stud in Joseph-Day’s place and the combination of Hollins and Lewis offers upside opposite Floyd.

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