Monday, July 13, 2009

Saints Nation: Position Rankings on Defense for the NFC South

Defensive Ends:
1. Panthers - It doesn't get any better than Julius Peppers. Beyond that they've got decent role players in Tyler Brayton, Charles Johnson and rookie Everette Brown.
2. Falcons - John Abraham had more sacks last year than Julius Peppers, and as Saints fans I think we all remember him eating Jammal Brown's lunch repeatedly. Beyond that they have an underperforming Jamaal Anderson and a role player in Chauncey Davis. Nothing special but Abraham is that good.
3. Saints - The Saints have by far the most depth, as clearly they are prepared for the absence of Will Smith and Charles Grant during the first 4 games. Once they come back they'll have to prove better than Bobby McCray and Paul Spicer who are good players in their own right.
4. Buccaneers - Gaines Adams is overrated, and they've also got Stylez White and Jimmy Wilkerson. Who? Yeah, exactly.

Defensive Tackles:
1. Panthers - Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis make a beefy and solid pair up front. That's a tough team to run on.
2. Saints - Mark my words, Sedrick Ellis will make the Pro Bowl within the next couple of seasons. Kendrick Clancy is one of the more underrated players out there, and it will be interesting to see how Roderick Coleman rebounds from a year off.
3. Buccaneers - Chris Hovan is washed up and doesn't have many years left. He's not the player he was 3-4 years ago. Ryan Sims is a decent space eater.
4. Falcons - We'll see how rookie Peria Jerry works out for them. I don't think he'll be half as good as Ellis. Jonathan Babineaux is a solid player, but behind him they really have nothing.

Outside Linebackers:
1. Panthers - Thomas Davis hasn't turned into the star some people thought he'd become, but he's a solid and dangerous player. Na'il Diggs isn't flashy but he's a solid player as well.
2. Falcons - The addition of Mike Peterson, who is very solid, helps this team because they don't have much else. Coy Wire, who is mediocre at best, is also slated to start.
3. Saints - Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle are the guys. Dan Morgan retiring again did nothing to help the Saints. Shanle struggles mightily against the run and Fujita while decent is unspectacular.
4. Buccaneers - Angelo Crowell is good but he is hurt and may not be ready by training camp, and behind him are Quincy Black, Geno Hayes and a bunch of other no names.

Inside Linebackers:

1. Saints - This is a bit of a leap of faith because there's a couple other ridiculously good middle linebackers in the NFC South, but the Buccaneers wanted Jonathan Vilma this offseason so obviously they liked him better than what they have. Also, Mark Simoneau is a terrific backup.
2. Panthers - Jon Beason is a tackling machine. He's fast and he is all over the field.
3. Buccaneers - #3 is a little harsh considering how good Barrett Ruud is. He's a playmaker and a monster hitter/tackler.
4. Falcons - The gap between Curtis Lofton and the other 3 starting middle linebackers in the NFC South is severe.


1. Buccaneers - Ronde Barber even at his age still has incredible instincts. He is always making a play. Aqib Talib also had a promising rookie campaign and is only going to get better.
2. Saints - They have the most depth in the division. Promising youngsters in Tracy Porter and Malcolm Jenkins, and solid veterns in Jabari Greer and Randall Gay.
3. Panthers - Chris Gamble is very good, and Dante Wesley and Richard Marshall round out a solid core.
4. Falcons - Von Hutchins and Chris Houston are young and getting better.

1. Panthers - Charles Godfrey and Chris Harris do their jobs very effectively. They won't "wow" anyone but they play sound football.
2. Falcons - Erik Coleman is a very good free safety, but who is going to play next to him? Atlanta better figure that out.
3. Saints - Gregg Williams' new defense is supposed to work wonders for Roman Harper, but I'll believe it when I see it. For the Saints it all depends on how Darren Sharper plays and if he can drink from the fountain of youth.
4. Buccaneers - Somehow Will Allen is behind Tanard Jackson and Sabby Piscitelli on the depth chart. You guys explain that to me. Every time we play them Devery is good for a TD over the top and this year should be no different.