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Who are the best defensive players in the NFC South by posit

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Head Ninja
Head Ninja

Joined: 20 Mar 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Who are the best defensive players in the NFC South by posit Reply with quote

Our division positional rankings series rolls into the NFC South, taking a look at some of the more talented defensive players in the NFL. Every team in the division has had a difficult time getting consistently dominant play out of their defensive units as a whole on a year-to-year basis, but each team has aspects of that side of the ball that they’d like to hang their hats on as a clear strength, at least on paper.
When complete, this series will consist of 16 parts, as we rank the position groups of each division in the NFL on both sides of the ball. Keep in mind that each position group is ranked based on current ability, with a lean toward “near future” projections thrown in. Here are the divisions and position groups we’ve completed so far:
Interior Defensive Linemen
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, Chris Baker, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, Clinton McDonald
2. Carolina Panthers – Kawaan Short, Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler, Kyle Love
3. Atlanta Falcons – Grady Jarrett, Dontari Poe, Derrick Shelby, Ra’Shede Hageman, Courtney Upshaw, Jack Crawford
4. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins, Tony McDaniel, David Onyemata, Tyeler Davison (Nick Fairley)
Analysis: This is a strong group across the board in the NFC South, but Gerald McCoy and Chris Baker on the same team should be fun to watch for Tampa Bay fans. Both can rush the passer and stop the run with equal propensity, although it remains to be seen how they’ll work on the field at the same time. Stevie T can eat a handful of snaps (no pun intended) as a run clogger every game, which should free up Baker and McCoy for even the occasional rotation to stay fresh.
Kawaan Short would be the choice of many as the best interior defensive lineman in the division, but his running mate, Star Lotulelei, has fallen off after he looked like he’d be on his way to elite status early in his career. Vernon Butler would be starting on a lot of teams in the NFL, so don’t be surprised if he pushes Lotulelei for more playing time at some point.
The Falcons’ addition of Dontari Poe is a solid one that can become great if the soon-to-be 27-year-old can get back to his way of playing a few years ago in Kansas City. A steady rotation should do wonders for Poe, as the growth of Grady Jarrett and Ra’Shede Hageman will be important to Atlanta’s success up front.
New Orleans could have potentially been higher Mariano Rivera Youth Jersey up this list despite the overall divisional strength, but losing Nick Fairley for the season is a big blow. I’m extremely high on the futures of Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata, especially after strong 300-snap rookie seasons, but the Saints have a big hole at nose tackle that Tyeler Davison isn’t going to be able to fill. The team often deployed smaller fronts last year, and will likely rely on a similar strategy in 2017.
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