On to the next one ... time to rank the top defensive players in the AFC.
Top 5 DT/NT:
1) Vince Wilfork: Listed at 6-2, 325 pounds, this monster of a man looks and plays much bigger. In a recent interview Nick Mangold claimed that Wilfork is the best NT in football, and it is hard to argue with that.
2) Haloti Ngata: It shocks me on how this guy gets overlooked by the national media, but it seems like casual fans are starting to truly appreciate his abilities. He is a defensive force on one of the best defenses in the NFL, and is one of the quickest big men in the NFL. (Yes I know, he also plays DE, making his play much more impressive)
3) Shaun Rogers: Even bigger than Wilfork in size, Rogers is an extremely talented defensive player. While he may not put as much pressure on the QB as the previous players, he is a stout run stopper.
4) Casey Hampton: A key player on one of the top defense in the league, Hampton's only downfall is his inability to stay healthy.
5) Kris Jenkins: Talk about inability to stay healthy, Kris Jenkins is an absolute beast on the field, the only problem is he hasn't been on the field over an extensive period of time. It is a shame that he keeps tearing his ACL, because when healthy, he is a top 2 or 3 NT in the NFL
Top 5 DE's:
1) Dwight Freeney: Over the past nine years as a pro there has been few players as consistent as this guy. During his career as a pro, Freeney has racked up 87 sacks. Although teams continue to attempt to slow down Dwight Freeney from hitting their QB, they continue to fail.
3) Aaron Smith: While he may not get the sacks, and the recognition that follows, Smith is probably one of the best run stuffing DE's in football history. Although he has made only one pro bowl over is 10 year career, Sports Illustrated did put Aaron Smith on the all decade team.
4) Robert Mathis: One of the fastest defensive lineman in football, the combination of him and Freeney is simply amazing.
5) Shaun Ellis: Incredibly consistent, and incredibly underrated.
Top 5 OLB's:
1) .Terrell Suggs: This was a tough choice, and I really believe him and my next pick can go either way. But his distinct ability to rush the passer makes him a menace on the football field.
2) James Harrison: Well, although I dislike his off the field antics, one cannot deny his skill as a pass rusher and run stuffer
3) Shaun Philips: He has 7 sacks already this year, and if you look at his stats, very few have been as consistent in getting sacks as this man.
4) Elvis Dumervil: He would be higher on this list if he was healthy. Even though he is smaller than most OLB's, it doesn't stop him from getting to the quarter back.
5) Brian Cushing: Ok he did get caught for performance enhancers, but I find it hard to believe that is the reason why he dominated his rookie year. Maybe I am bias since he is a jersey guy, but hey its my list.
Top 5 ILB's:
1) Ray Lewis: Is he has quick as he used to be? Maybe not. But I have witnessed him make game changing plays throughout this year, so he will stay atop my list.
2) David Harris: He does the ugly things,he does the pretty things, he does everything at a high level ... except talk.
3) DeMeco Ryans: Unfortunately this great player is out for the year, but last years play speaks for itself. He had 123 tackles last year and is a two time pro-bowler, Ryans belongs on this list for sure.
4) Karlos Dansby: An extremely versatile player with great instincts. The dolphins made a great move with picking this guy up in free agency.
5) Garry Bracket/Jerod Mayo: Yes I know, I picked two.
Top 5 CB's:
1) Darrele Revis: The true definition of a shutdown corner, the only thing that seperates him from my next choice is his ability to play both sides.
2) Nnamdi Asomugha: Last year he only played left corner, this year he is playing both. His great length makes him an amazing corner, but is not quite as physical as Revis.
3) Cortland Finnegan: Finnegan plays as physical as any player in football, and is probably the most dirty.
5) Champ Baily: Although he is getting older and may not be the shutdown corner he used to be, he belongs on this list on pure legacy alone.
Top 5 Safety's
1) Troy Polamalu: His hair may be as prolific as his football skills, for there is no player in football who does everything the way Polamalu does.
2) Ed Reed: Injuries have slowed him down a bit, but in his first game back this year he had two interceptions. He is the best ball hawk in the history of the NFL.
4) Brian Dawkins: Another aging star, but he is still a solid player and is one of the best leaders in football.
5) Jim Leonard: Does he look like a football player? No. Does he hit like a football player? Absolutely. His small stature may limit him in some areas, but his heart and will surely makes up for it.