NFC West defensive interior rankings: Rams remain the class of the division

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The Los Angeles Rams are the NFL champions and did it in part because of their strong play up front on the defensive line.

They have the best individual defensive tackle in the NFL in Aaron Donald, but what about the unit?

Below, we take a look at the interior defensive units for the four teams in the NFC West and rank them.

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1. Los Angeles Rams

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Top interior defenders: Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines, A’Shawn Robinson

The Rams lost Sebastian Joseph-Day and still have the top unit in the division. All three of their starters up front are solid. Donald might be the best ever. Robinson is one of the best run defenders in the league and Gaines stepped up with 55 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his first season as a starter.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Top interior defenders: J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, Rashard Lawrence

The Cardinals’ interior defenders are solid but all suffered injuries. Watt missed nine games with a serious shoulder injury. Lawrence landed on injured reserve for a calf injury for the second season in a row. Allen did not land on IR but played the final few weeks with no ligaments in one of his ankles.

Watt did not do much statistically in 2021 but was incredibly disruptive. Allen broke out with 4.5 sacks.

3. San Francisco 49ers

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Top interior defenders: Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw

The 49ers are one of the two teams in the division with a 4-3 front, so they start only two interior defenders. Armstead is probably the second-best individual defensive tackle in the division. Kinlaw has disappointing thus far, but the issue is he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

4. Seattle Seahawks

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Top interior defenders: Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson

Harris was part of the Seahawks’ haul in the Russell Wilson trade and is still productive. Jefferson is a decent player as well.

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