The New England Patriots 2015 defense will look fairly different from its 2014 version. The defensive line is just as different as the secondary and the linebackers are another season more experienced.
But is this season's defense better or worse at a first glance? Let's break it down.
The Patriots moved on from Vince Wilfork as the line appears to be better geared towards generating pressure than just containing the quarterback. Jabaal Sheard is a new face, as are rookies Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom. Offseason addition Rufus Johnson will add addition heat, and practice squad elevation Eric Martin seems to be fairly stout.
On the interior, rookie Malcom Brown is a new face, while sophomore Dominique Easley is available after finishing last year on the injured reserve. They join veterans Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch. This is possibly the deepest interior line that Bill Belichick has ever had.
Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins return with another year of experience, which is a built in advantage over last season's defense. Jerod Mayo looks to be back from his injury and if the preseason was any indication, he will be playing at a high level. Jonathan Freeney is a special teams player. But just the fact that Mayo is back has to give the 2015 defense an advantage over 2014.
While the safety position is mostly constant over last season, the cornerback position has seen some serious turnover. The Patriots will be going from Darrelle Revis, the best cornerback of the past twenty years, and Brandon Browner, to Malcolm Butler and a handful of journeyman veterans. Will the decrease in cornerback quality be fully balanced by the increase in the defensive front seven?