As I sit here trying to pass the time between last Sunday and next, I can't get my mind off of the defense. Although I am not highly knowledgable about the application of schemes and formations, I do think that I have been a pretty fair judge (or blind guesser) of talent to some degree. Now before you laugh at me, I say this purely on an amateur level. As an observer of both college and professional football, I like to take guesses at who will succeed, improve, or even change roles on the team.
If my lengthy preface was not enough, what I'm trying to say here is: I like to make random player predictions and see how they pan out. And now for the defense I shall do just that:
DBs: Ron Brooks will eventually beat out Williams for the outside corner spot, and Williams will ultimately relocate to SS. As George Wilson once learned the ins and outs of becoming a safety, he will become a mentor to Williams. The move will allow Stephon Gilmore, Ron Brooks, Jairus Byrd, and Aaron Williams to play the majority of snaps together as a core unit (Now tell me that doesn't sound intimidating? Two ballhawks and two big bodied physical athletes... Not to mention Aaron Williams' ability to also play corner would allow for some scheme versatility without having to sub him off the field)
LBs: Sheppard develops to becomes a reliable, quality veteran. Above average but not your Patrick Willis. Nigel Bradham eventually overtakes the outside spot and becomes one of the better players on this defense. Barnett stays on board until a new OLB is drafted to replace him.
D-Line: Can't expect much change here. D-Tackles are superb and whether or not the D-ends eventually shine is irrelevant, they're going to be here a while unless they totally tank. I think by the end of the season we will see these guys learning to work as a unit and not just in 1s or 2s.
Summary: Ron Brooks to #2, Aaron Williams to SS, Nigel to start OLB. D Line increases production
Timeline: D-Line improves this year, Secondary/Linebacker shifts are TBD.
This is hypothetical and for fun! I don't claim to be qualified to make these guesses by any means!