Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Top 10 NFL Defensive Players Right Now

Over at the Ed the Sports Fan, you'll find The Real Top Ten NFL Defensive Players of 2011 post that I was honored to be a part of, along with Kenny, Ed, Joe Simmons and Justin Tinsley.

It was a ton of fun and easily one of the hardest mental tasks of my life. There are so many great defensive players that have so many different responsibilities in different schemes that it's damn near impossible to get this thing right. The crazy thing is the No. 1 player based on the compilation of the five of us wasn't even on my top 10 list, though I have to admit Julius Peppers is a beast. Still don't think he's anywhere near the best defensive player in the league, but that's just me.

Anyway, definitely go check it out, and for the record, here is my list that I sent over to Kenny last night, with one amendment:

1. Patrick Willis

Easily the most physical, versatile and durable defensive player in the NFL. Willis can literally do it all, absolutely mauling running backs, receivers, tight ends and QBs. He sheds block with ease, can cover tight end and running backs, and has the speed to chase down wide receivers, >literally. Not only that, but he's only missed 1 game in his four years. Beast.

2. Ndamukong Suh

That's right, I'm putting a 2nd year player as my 2nd best defensive player in the league. Why? Because the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year is already as big of a difference maker as there is in the NFL. Dude had 66 tackles and 10 sacks as a defensive tackle. Basically, he's a more in shape Warren Sapp, which is just frightening.

3. Troy Polamalu

He may be No. 1 if he didn't get injured so often.

4. Clay Matthews

Reigning Defensive Player of the Year is a terror on the field.

5. Nnamdi Asomugha

The best compliment you can give to a corner is that a quarterback refuses to throw to his side. QBs never throw to Nnamdi. Ever. Though that may have to change this year now that he's lining up alongside ballhawk Asante Samuel and the talented Rodgers-Cromartie.

6. Darrelle Revis

Basically just as good as Nnamdi, only thrown at a little more. Plus, Randy Moss once gave him his obituary, so he can't leapfrog Asomugha. However, we all know how he consistently shuts down elite receivers. He's the real deal..

7. DeMarcus Ware

An unblockable edge rusher. Hate that he's a Cowboy.

8. Justin Tuck Adrian Wilson

Honestly, I have no idea why I put Tuck there. In fact, I didn't even write a word about him. Yeah, he's good, but not worthy of this list at all. Adrian Wilson on the other hand needs his respect. He's been stuck on a lackluster defensive team his whole career, but there isn't a more physically imposing or physically gifted safety in the NFL. Without a doubt, he's the safety I'd be most terrified of that he's kill me on the field.

9. Ed Reed

Not the player he once was, but still makes plays. The guy led the league in interceptions last year for goodness sake.

10. Asante Samuel

A big part of defense is causing turnovers, and no cornerback in the league is better at breaking on a ball and taking it the other way than Asante. Also, read this.

Seriously, I could have probably had 10 completely different guys on here and still been impressed with the players. But this is the list I'm sticking with, especially Willis and Suh. They may be my favorite defensive players in the league right now, and they very well may be the best.

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