7. NFC South
The Falcons signed Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree in free agency, both past their prime, along with Jessie Bates III who has been inconsistent in the regular season. This is not the worst defensive division, but it does leave some to be desired.
The NFC South once heralded stout defenses in Tampa Bay and New Orleans, but the teams have since lost key pieces following the retirement of Drew Brees and Tom Brady. These two franchises have had a strikingly similar fate (hence why I lumped them together) as both have been below average the past two years after a recent run.
However, these teams have aging superstars, most notably Cameron Jordan and Vita Vea for the Saints and Buccaneers respectively. There are still some young players in these teams’ secondary including Antoine Winfield Jr. for the Bucs and Marshon Lattimore for the Saints that should be good for years to come.
Carolina does have young, Pro-Bowl-caliber players in Brian Burns and Jaycee Horn who combined for 16 turnovers this past year. The Panthers have lacked any substantial playmakers on defense since the retirement of Luke Kuechly, but Burns and Horne show that Carolina is able to develop and retain players.
The Panthers nabbed Vonn Bell in free agency who was the definition of stability during his tenure with Cincinnati. Carolina is improving on defense by both drafting young players and bringing in proven veterans.