If you guys have any comments, criticisms, or anything on the assessments of the rankings, please post in this type of format, so I can track and collect information quickly.
Ranking Opinion Format
Overrated: (include reasons brief or long please)
Underrated: (include reasons brief or long please)
Player Color Label Change: (include reasons brief or long please)
Series 2: The Department of Defense - Today
Trenches (DL Ranks including Edge Rushers)
Wolfpacks (LB Units in both 3-4 and 4-3 sets)
No Fly Zones (Secondaries)
Trenches (DL Ranks including Edge Rushers) (UPDATED)
DE: NT: DT: DE: (Blue = Anchor , Green = Enforcer , Purple = Upholder)
Red = Top Ten Teams
Blue = Franchise Defender / Top Player
Green = Right Hand Man / 2nd Best Tier
Purple = Left Hand Man / 3rd Best Tier
Color Scheme: subject to judgement
1. Denver Broncos:
DE: Derek Wolfe - NT: Kawann Short - DT: Ndamukong Suh - DE: Elvis Dumervil
(Notable Depth: John Simon, Jeremy Beal)
King Kong has landed in Denver to make a formidable trench with the All-Pro Dumervil and blooming Wolfe. The drafting of Kawann Short helps complete their interior as this group should be the foundation for their impressive overall defense.
2. Seattle Seahawks:
DE: Paul Kruger - NT: Brandon Mebane - DT: Henry Melton - LEO: Bruce Irvin
(Notable Depth: Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Kevin Vickerson)
They're sending out a message to the league that offenses are welcome to try to run on them.
Paul Kruger adds versatilty and pass rush with Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons. Their top signing in DT Henry Melton puts a whole new level for this already stout trench that has the run stuffers in Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane.
3. Houston Texans:
DE: J.J. Watt - NT: Domata Peko - DT: Antonio Smith - DE: Whitney Mercilus
(Notable Depth: Jared Crick, Terrell McClain)
When you have a man-eating beast like J.J. Watt, then you get away with lesser talents on the other positions. However, Domata Peko is actually very underrated and should improve the NT from last year. Mercilus should be in for a big year as a merciless pass rusher.
4. Tennessee Titans:
DE: Michael Johnson - NT: Mike DeVito - DT: Mike Martin - DE: Kamerion Wimbley
(Notable Depth: Shea McClellan, Vance Walker, Brandon Jenkins, Devon Still)
Michael Johnson and Shea McClellan adds a much needed boost in the pass rushing department with Kamerion Wimbley. Their defensive interior is underrated with Walker, DeVito, and Martin plugging up the holes. This is a trench that's probably going to be tough to break through since they got both depth and enormous amount of talented rushers.
5. Buffalo Bills:
DE: Cliff Avril - NT: Kyle Williams - DT: Marcell Dareus - DE: Mario Williams
(Notable Depth: Justin Tuck, Bjoern Werner, Corey Williams, Sen'Derrick Marks)
They added a speed rusher in Cliff Avril and drafted the Germanator to go along with their talented front line of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus. The reason why their ranking is capped is that they had three of the four starting trench, but was pushed around and had a disappointing last year. However, with the new depth and some excellent playmakers like Avril and Werner, they should finally live up to their top ten status not on paper, but on the field.
6. New Orleans Saints:
DE: Cameron Jordan - NT: Dan Williams - DT: Nick Fairley - DE: Brandon Graham
(Notable Depth: Jarvis Jones, Carlos Dunlap)
Adding Nick Fairley, who lived up to his 1st Round Status, should make their transition to the 3-4 much better than anticipated. Dan Williams fit the bill for NT and the Saints found plenty of pass rushers with Carlos Dunlap, Brandon Graham, and the number 1 overall pick, Jarvis Jones. This trench has a long way to build up from the open highway status they had last year, but with the talent they have, it's definitely borderline top ten. However, they do need to work on their depth, but the sheer talent on the starting four should mask any weak point.
7. Cincinnati Bengals:
DE: Derrick Morgan - NT: Richard Seymour - DT: Geno Atkins - DE: Barkevious Mingo
(Notable Depth: Brandon Thompson, Devin Taylor, Pat Sims)
I guess the Bengals like to pile through players and try to mix and match whatever they seem fit. They had a top ten DL last year, but with all the trading and signing, they are still left with a top ten DL. With the depth and talent they have on the team, they can play the over-and-under scheme of moving around 4-3 and 3-4 bases. That flexibility adds value and the edge over other trenches. The Bengals had a top five trench last year and they should've kept that roster together. However with the new roster, they have plenty of talent, but have to prove that they can be like last year's DL or better.
8. Miami Dolphins:
DE: Israel Idonije - NT: Jonathan Babineaux - DT: Darnell Dockett - DE: Cameron Wake
(Notable Depth: Olivier Vernon, Justin Bannan, Jordan Hill, Dwan Edwards, Michael Buchanan)
The Dolphins added key players like Idonije, Babineaux, Dockett, and others to support their top ten pass rusher in Cameron Wake. However, all those players are entering the age of decline, but they do have the depth to keep their D-line from getting tired.
9. Minnesota Vikings:
DE: Brian Robison - NT: Kevin Williams - DT: Clinton McDonald - DE: Jared Allen
(Notable Depth: Tank Carradine, Everson Griffen, Robert Geathers)
The Vikings still have a talented and surprisingly deep group at DE with the All-Pro Allen, an effective Robison, a growing Griffen, and a talented Carradine. However, the knock on their D-line is that they don't really have anyone to fill the hole of the other Williams' Wall or the aging Kevin Williams. Still they were a top ten run defense last year due to the overwhelming talents on three positions of the four.
10. Baltimore Ravens:
DE: Arthur Jones - NT: Johnathan Hankins - DT: Haloti Ngata - DE: Terrell Suggs
(Notable Depth: Pernell McPhee, Everett Dawkins, Terrence Cody)
This group was a top ten trench in 2011 when Terrell Suggs was healthy. Their acquisitions of Hankins and Dawkins should improve their ranking from their uncharacteristically mediocrity last season.
Borderline Top Ten (11-15):
B10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
DE: Michael Bennett - NT: Casey Hampton - DT: Gerald McCoy - DE: John Abraham
(Notable Depth: Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers)
This trench has hold its line against the run and continue to do so by keeping their best run-defending DE Michael Bennett and adding an aging, yet still effective Casey Hampton. The signing of John Abraham should boost their pass rush considerable, if he doesn't decline too much. The depth of Clayborn and Bowers should provide some relief.
B10. Arizona Cardinals:
DE: Jurrell Casey - NT: Brodrick Bunkley - DT: Calais Campbell - DE: Dion Jordan
(Notable Depth: Martez Wilson , Antonio Garay, Amobi Okoye, Corey Lemonier)
Jurrell Casey is a very underrated run-blocker that goes well with their stud Campbell. Bunkley is solid as usual, but his spot at NT is somewhat questionable, but his effectiveness is not. Martez Wilson can be a serviceable pass rusher, but the jury is still out. The wild card here is Dion Jordan and his development as a pass rusher for a team that is in need of a solid pass rusher. However, we know for sure this D-line will be tough to run on.
B10: Pittsburgh Steelers:
DE: Cameron Heyward - NT: Steve McLendon - DT: Brett Keisel - DE: LaMarr Woodley
(Notable Depth: Ziggy Hood, Isaac Sopoaga, Damontre Moore)
Steve McLendon is the new heir for Casey Hampton's NT spot. This top ten unit is just reloading their D-line by moving their young players up the ranks. However, the production of these young players (Hood, Heyward, McLendon, and Moore) has to be proven and their anchor has to be healthy to certify their top ten status.
B10. Cleveland Browns:
DE: Shariff Floyd - NT: Phil Taylor - DT: Ahtyba Rubin - DE: Anthony Spencer
(Notable Depth: Jabaal Sheard, Billy Winn)
Cleveland made their money's worth by successfully changing their D-line from 4-3 to 3-4.
Floyd should bring a meaner and more physical presence as their pass rushers can be hidden by their big bodies in Taylor and Rubin. The acquisition of Anthony Spencer completes their 3-4 Defensive Front. However, the performance of Taylor and Rubin definitely needs to improve.
B10. St. Louis Rams:
DE: Robert Quinn - NT: Glenn Dorsey - DT: Michael Brockers - DE: Chris Long
(Notable Depth: Tyson Jackson, Sedrick Ellis, Greg Romeus)
Chris Long and Robert Quinn are proven pass-rushers. However, the knock on them is that their DEs aren't the best against the run and considered one dimensional. As for the interior, a rotation of Brocker, Jackson, Dorsey, Ellis is nothing to complain about, but there might be a potential that Dorsey fares better in a 4-3 system than the 3-4 system.
Notable Missed Cuts:
16. Kansas City Chiefs:
DE: Chris Canty - NT: Alan Branch - DT: Sheldon Richardson - DE: Tamba Hali
(Notable Depth: Justin Houston, Dontari Powe, William Gholston, Jarius Wynn)
They exchanged their underwhelming Defensive Interiors for Sheldon Richardson, Chris Canty, and Alan Branch, which surprising makes them more formidable than before. However, they still have to prove their worth as a top ten because Canty is a serviceable player, Branch is coming from a down year, Richardson is a rookie.
17. New York Jets:
DE: Quinton Coples - NT: Aubrayo Franklin - DT: Muhammad Wilkerson - DE: Ezekiel Ansah
(Notable Depth: Kenrick Ellis, Victor Butler, Kenyon Coleman)
Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the top 3-4 DE and his supporting cast has gotten better with the improvements of Quinton Coples, acquisitions of Aubrayo Franklin, and the draft of Ezekiel Ansah. However, Coples and Ansah have to prove their worth as 1st rounders, now that they will be thrown into the fire. This group is young and will only get better as they play more together. I decided to place them in the borderline top ten because Wilkerson and Franklin will man the line as their young 1st Round DEs wreck havoc sooner than later.
18. San Francisco 49ers:
DE: Ray McDonald - NT: Will Tukuafu - DT: Justin Smith - DE: Aldon Smith
(Notable Depth: Cam Johnson)
The 49ers have a stud D-line with All-Pros Smith Tandem. However they have no one to man their NT position and the lack of depth could be a problem. The problem was exposed during the playoffs, when Aldon Smith was neutalized due to the absence of Justin Smith.
19. Carolina Panthers:
DE: William Hayes - NT: Ricky Jean-Francois - DT: Jason Hatcher - DE: Charles Johnson
(Notable Depth: Jesse Williams, Corey Peters, Wallace Gilberry)
Panthers had only two studs on their D-line in Johnson and Hardy last year. Now with a revamped line with Hatcher, Jean-Francois, Williams, Gilberry, and Hayes should negate the loss of Hardy and improve the defense's imagine.
20. Green Bay Packers:
DE: Datone Jones - NT: B.J. Raji - DT: Ryan Pickett - DE: Clay Matthews
(Notable Depth: Brandon Williams, Jerel Worthy)
The addition of Datone Jones could his bring the much-needed physical presence as their whole D-line played poorly last year.
21. Chicago Bears:
DE: Corey Wootton - NT: Sione Pouha - DT: Sylvester Williams - DE: Julius Peppers
(Notable Depth: Kyle Moore, Stephen Paea, Karl Klug, Cheta Ozugwu)
There will be a lot of question marks for this group since they lost two of their starters in Henry Melton and Israel Idonije. Also, giving away Shea McClellan, who was suppose to be their next DE in line could be a set-back. Anyways, the addition of Sylvester Williams, Kyle Moore, and Karl Klug gives them some support for their aging ringleader Peppers. This group could be better depending on the developments of their young players, but until then the verdict is to be seen.
22. Oakland Raiders:
DE: Lamarr Houston - NT: Terrance Knighton - DT: Desmond Bryant - DE: Greg Hardy
(Notable Depth: Derek Landri, Antwan Barnes)
This is an under-the-radar group due to the acquisition of a top ten 4-3 DE in Greg Hardy and signing of a NT-sized Terrence Knighton. The important part was to keep one of their better playmakers in Desmond Bryant to pair with their young and talented Lamarr Houston. This starting four might be relatively unknown throughout the league, but their impacts won't be if they produce better than last year.
23. New England Patriots:
DE: Rob Ninkovich - NT: Vince Wilfork - DT: Kyle Love - DE: Chandler Jones
(Notable Depth: Brandon Deaderick)
This is trench knows how to stop the run with man eating duo Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love, but rushing the passer might be a different story. Rob Ninkovich is a serviceable pass rusher, but the Patriots need Chandler Jones to live up to his 1st Round status for this trench to move up the ranks.
24. San Diego Chargers:
DE: Kendall Reyes - NT: Corey Liuget - DT: Cullen Jenkins - DE: Melvin Ingram
(Notable Depth: Cam Thomas, Shaun Phillips, Larry English)
This group is one of the best running-stuffing group, but their downfall is the lack of a reliable pass rusher. Until that is addressed, their ranking seems fair.
25. Philadelphia Eagles:
DE: Dwight Freeney - NT: Sammie Lee Hill - DT: Fletcher Cox - DE: Trent Cole
(Notable Depth: Vinny Curry, Jason Jones, Osi Umenyiora)
The Eagles are rebuilding their defense that was terribly misused. They have core players like Fletcher and Cole, but the effectiveness of older and less-effective players like Umenyiora and Freeney is questionable
26. Atlanta Falcons:
DE: Jared Odrick - NT: Paul Soliai - DT: Jarvis Jenkins - DE: Connor Barwin
(Notable Depth: Jaye Howard, Jerrell Powe, Jamie Collins)
They had a huge make-over by exchaning their 4-3 players for 3-4 pieces. The verdict is out on how this group will form and produce since their pass rushing corps is lacking.
Edited by Corvus Amplus, 15 April 2013 - 01:14 AM.