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nitey

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: June 15, 2013, 01:12:13 PM

Ranking the NFC South defensive position groups.

Okay so here's the discussion, how would you rank the four teams based upon the players at each defensive player group and why? Here's my list:

Defensive Cornerbacks:

1. Tampa - Revis, Wright, Banks, Johnson
2. Saints - Greer, Carr, Lewis, Robinson
3. Falcons - Samuel, Trufant, Alford, Franks
4. Carolina - Florence, Munnerlyn, Norman, Moore

Revis, healthy or not makes the Bucs the top of the division. A healthy Revis makes this a top 5 unit. I actually like the make up of the Falcons secondary, but they are depending on a aging Samuel and rookies so the Saints corners are more likely to be evenly better. Carolina is in worse shape than we were going into last season.

Safety:

1. Atlanta - DeCoud, Moore
2. Tampa - Goldson, Barron
3. Saints - Harper, Vaccaro
4. Carolina - Nakamura, Godfrey

I actually think that Atlanta and Tampa are about even, but the Falcons have two pro bowlers to our one so they get the nod for the division top spot. The Saints safety play was suspect last year but I'm thinking that Ryan is going to fix that and Vaccaro is every bit as good as Barron. Carolina's safety's are undecided, I just picked the two that played the most last season.

Linebackers:

1. Carolina - Kuechly, Davis, Beason, Blackburn
2. Tampa - David, Foster, Watson, Casillas
3. Saints - Lofton, Vilma, Smith, Galette
4. Falcons - Weatherspoon, Nicholas, Dent, James

This is pretty subjective here, as I'm basing my ranking on Carolina being the best on two players that have had a lot of injury history. However, Davis came back and played all 16 games last season and Kuechly played very well in the middle after Beason went down. If their 3 linebackers stay healthy, they should be the best in the division. I think Tampa's no worse than the second best and could be the best if David continues his improvement and either Watson or Casillas plays well on the strong side. The Saints might have been higher if Butler hadn't gone down with injury and they weren't also changing defensive scheme's to one that Vilma didn't do so well in New York. As to the Falcons, they have one very good linebacker in Weatherspoon, and some potential.

Defensive Ends:

1. Carolina - Hardy, Johnson, Edwards
2. Tampa - Clayborn, Bowers, Te'o-Nesheim
3. Falcons - Biermann, Umenyiora, Massaquoi
4. Saints - Jordan, Wilson, Richardson

With Carolina having two ends with double digit sacks, they have to be ranked as the best going into the next season. The other three teams all have question marks so the ranking is subjective on my part. I have Tampa next because of the Potential of Clayborn and Bowers. Clayborn did have 7.5 sacks in his rookie year and Bowers was once considered to be the best defensive player in the draft. The Falcons come in at #3, but could easily be the worse of the four teams as Umenyiora is the only proven sackmaster on the team, the Saints, like Tampa has a lot of players with potential.

Defensive Tackles:

1. Tampa - McCoy, Spence, Landri
2. Falcons - Peters, Babineaux, Jerry
3. Carolina - Lotulelei, Short, Edwards
4. Saints - Bunkley, Hicks, Collins

Tampa having the only Pro Bowl DT, gets the nod for the top ranked interior line. I almost made Carolina the second ranked unit, but whether they are good or not depends mostly on two rookies, so I dropped them to #3. The Falcons get the #2 rank because Peters and Badineaux are very solid, if unspectaular in the middle and the Saints rank last but that could really be unfair since they are switching to a 3-4 alignment, Bunkley and Hicks may do very well in that unit.

So that's my defensive rankings. What do you think? Where do you disagree and why?

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Benchwarmer#1

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#1 : June 15, 2013, 01:19:06 PM

Tampa has clear advantage over all of them except LB and DE.

Carolina has a solid LB core and I think the falcons should be bumped up one on the DE chart just because of the OSI effect.

ingey1968

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#2 : June 15, 2013, 01:45:18 PM

Sorry but Tampa actually should be last in this category.   Potential gets you nothing, its all about production



Defensive Ends:

1. Carolina - Hardy, Johnson, Edwards
2. Tampa - Clayborn, Bowers, Te'o-Nesheim
3. Falcons - Biermann, Umenyiora, Massaquoi
4. Saints - Jordan, Wilson, Richardson

nitey

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#3 : June 15, 2013, 02:05:43 PM

>> Sorry but Tampa actually should be last in this category.   Potential gets you nothing, its all about production <<

Where is the Saints production? None of those 3 have as many sacks as Clayborn did in his rookie season and Bowers did get 4 in a half season's work last year. What did Osi have last year, 6 sacks in 16 games and 9 the year before? Heck, Te'o had 4 sacks in part time play. I'm not worried at all about Osi. None of the three teams behind Carolina as a track record of success. However, based upon what I've seen, I'd still keep them #2. YMMV.

Success is when Skill meets OpportunityFailure is when Fantasy meets Reality

NotDeadYet

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#4 : June 15, 2013, 06:06:17 PM

    The Bucs LB play needs a boost from either Casillas or FOSTER. Then we could be #2... Carolina is clearly #1, as they are at DE, and COULD become #1 at DT. It will be interesting to track our DT production vs Carolina's...
    Otherwise, you are right-on, sir!

Sim

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#5 : June 15, 2013, 10:56:32 PM

If the two rookie tackles ball out this year and Beason and Davis stay healthy, that's a scary looking front 7 that Carolina has....

Alot of "if's" though...
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