The draft is over and free agents have been signed. If you’re getting ready for the start of the 2017 NFL regular season, then it’s time to check out the NFC West defensive power rankings.

San Francisco 49ers 4th in the NFC West Defensive Power Ranking

The 49ers know that their defensive game needs help, and that’s why they used the 2017 Draft to get some key players into the squad. They’ve gained corner Ankello Witherspoon in the corner, Soloman Thomas for defensive end, and linebacker Reuben Foster. These are all top draft picks and like any player in the draft, they have the potential to perform well with the right coaching and experience.The problem for fans is that this is going to be a long road. Rookies aren’t going to come into a team and immediately turn fortunes around, and the 49ers will have a hard season ahead of them whenever the defense matters. They’re not just our pick for the lowest defensive power ranking in the division, but they’re also right at the bottom of the NFL, along with teams like the Browns and the Saints.The team is switching to a 4 – 3 base defense, with coordination being led by Robert Saleh. It’s going to take some time to get this team back up to their defensive best, and that’s not likely to happen in 2017.

Los Angeles Rams 3rd in the NFC West Defensive Power Ranking

There was a time when the Rams had one of the most formidable defenses in the NFL. Today, they’re adequate in some areas and quite lacking in others. Their defensive tackle is fine, and could even be described as powerful, but they surrender too many yards and points. The team also failed to prevent touchdowns in the red zone, and were 2nd worst in the league in this area. The defense failed to get into a higher gear when it was necessary last year, and this year they can only be hoping for improvements.It’s not a lack of talent in the team, so this is something that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is going to need to address. He has Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald, arguably the most capable pass-rushers in the league. The team is a year older and without major changes, which means that Philips will have a foundation to work with. More than any player, the coordinator will be key to the defense this season. Philips is considered by many to be the best defensive coordinator in the sport, and he’s the best shot the team has at leveraging their existing talent.The potential is there, but you don’t expect the defensive power to outrank the Cardinals or the Seahawks in 2017.

Arizona Cardinals 2nd in the NFC West Defensive Power Ranking

The Cardinals didn’t have a great record last year, but it wasn’t because of their defense. The defending side was the best aspect of the team, and the squad are looking for a bounce back year in 2017. Last year they only gave up an average of 305.2 yards per game, which meant they were second best in the NFL.Calais Campbell, the team’s star defensive end, has left the team to join the Jaguars. He’s being replaced by Robert Nkemdiche, who now has some professional experience underneath him. It’s a big role to step into, but with the rest of the defense around him, things aren’t looking too bad. Remember that this team has players like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, so there’s a lot of talent to leverage off of.Outside linebacker Chandler Jones will be joining the team after showing excellent performance with the Patriots, and that will be another boost to the defensive side.You can consider the Cardinals to be within the top 10 defensive sides in 2017, and the only reason that they’re ranked second in their division is because the Seahawks are simply too good. With an already strong defense that keeps improving, it will be up to the offensive side to create momentum to turn around the team’s losing record from last year.

Seattle Seahawks 1st in the NFC West Defensive Power Ranking

The Seattle Seahawks don’t just have the best defensive side in the NFC West; they also have what is arguably the most capable defensive side in the NFL.Last year’s defensive game could easily be described as dominant. Powerful offenses failed to break the Seattle defense, and the team were in the top five best teams in terms of yards allowed and points allowed. They were also right up there with the best in the total number of sacks, and this year things are not likely to change much. Michael Bennett is one of the best defensive line players in the NFL, and he’s without question one of the biggest assets in this team. He’s surrounded by players like Cliff Avril and Frank Clark, and that helps to create an imposing and dominant side that is ready and willing to contain the opposition. The team also has Bobby Wagner, a player who recorded a mind blowing 167 tackles in the previous season. Wagner helps to mitigate damage when players make it through the defensive line, and he’s excellent at what he does. Dropping names like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor, just shows how much talent there is on this Seattle side. Thomas will be back from injury, and that means that the defense could be even better than it was in the previous year.The Seahawks haven’t needed to make drastic changes to their starting lineup, and they didn’t. While many of the teams in the league were scrambling to fill the holes in their defenses during the offseason, Seattle has had the luxury of knowing that they’ve already got the best 4 – 3 base defense in the NFL.