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SportingNews: Defensive tackle rankings: Nobody dominates like Haynesworth


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You can find this article at:

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=551297

May 21, 2009

Scheme dictates so much of the success of NFL defensive tackles. Some are dominant players who can excel in any system. Others are versatile athletes who can fill different roles in different situations. But the ability to shut down the run game on some level is key to the performance of any interior lineman.

RealScouts, Sporting News' team of former NFL scouts, rank their top 20 defensive tackles for 2009:

1. Albert Haynesworth, Redskins. The biggest prize of the free-agent season, Haynesworth will be a dominant run defender on a defense that already did a very good job against the run. What will help his new team is his quickness and pass-rush ability from the interior.

2. Kevin Williams, Vikings. Williams uses quickness and a good initial burst off the ball to create penetration and disrupt plays in the backfield. Already a Pro Bowler, he thrived last season with the addition of RE Jared Allen to the Vikings' defensive front.

3. Vince Wilfork, Patriots. Wilfork is a big, physical nose tackle who excels at holding his ground against multiple blockers. He also has the first-step quickness to collapse the pocket from the interior. That versatility makes him the key to New England's defense.

4. Haloti Ngata, Ravens. He's officially listed as an end, and he has the athleticism to play that spot in the Ravens' 3-4 alignment. But he is a wide-bodied run-stuffer who is tough to budge and has the raw power to push blockers into the pocket.

5. Chris Canty, Giants. Canty was an end in the Cowboys' 3-4 scheme, but he will play inside and out in the Giants' four-man fronts. He is equal parts run-stuffer and pass rusher and will be moved around the line depending on the situation. His versatility will give him many opportunities to shine.

6. Shaun Rogers, Browns. Rogers had a big comeback season in 2008 (76 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks), though he didn't get much help from the rest of the Browns' defense. If his issues with Eric Mangini are smoothed over -- it looks like they have been for now -- and Rogers' head is right, he can be a dominating force inside.

7. Casey Hampton, Steelers. Hampton is a hard-nosed player who doesn't put up a big stat line in the Steelers' 3-4, but he is physical and strong and a dominating presence in the middle. The linebackers owe him for their success.

8. Marcus Stroud, Bills. Stroud is coming off a solid season, his best since 2004. As expected, he was a force inside for the Bills and immediately upgraded their run defense. Though he's not the quick penetrating pass rusher he once was, he's still able to get a push and collapse the pocket.

9. Luis Castillo, Chargers. Like Ngata, he is listed as an end but really has the responsibilities of a tackle. Stopping the run is Castillo's first job. He has the size and strength to crash the interior gaps and enough quickness to get to the quarterback on occasion.

10. Tommie Harris, Bears. Chicago's troubles on defense in 2008 started with ineffective line play, and Harris was part of that decline. Look for new line coach Rod Marinelli, who once worked with Warren Sapp, to get Harris back on track. Harris isn't Sapp, but when he is on�and Marinelli will make sure he is�he can be something close.

11. Darnell Dockett, Cardinals. Dockett is a smaller, athletic lineman who uses his quickness and agility to create havoc inside. He's the most disruptive force on the Cardinals' line and has matured into a top-flight player.

12. Jamal Williams, Chargers. At 350 pounds, Williams is an immovable object in the middle of the Chargers' 3-4. Though age and injuries have begun to take their toll, he still has great lower-body strength and is a hard-working run-stuffer who makes the San Diego defense go.

13. John Henderson, Jaguars. He was not the same player last year without Stroud lined up next to him. Henderson is a powerful bull rusher, but at this point in his career, he needs an inside sidekick to alleviate some of the protection attention on him.

14. Pat Williams, Vikings. Williams is an elite run-stuffer who has surprising quickness and power for a man his age (36) and size. As long as he stays healthy and has Kevin Williams and Allen lined up with him, he will continue to be an effective force.

15. Jay Ratliff, Cowboys. Ratliff had a breakout year in 2008, earning Pro Bowl honors for the first time. He was a disruptive pass rusher inside, and despite being relatively light (300 pounds), he has enough strength and lateral mobility to be an effective run-stopper. He's a player on the rise.

16. Amobi Okoye, Texans. Okoye took a slight step back in 2008 after a strong rookie campaign, but he is quick and athletic, and more important, extremely bright. With some added weight and strength, he can be a disruptive interior defender.

17. Rocky Bernard, Giants. Bernard had a career-high 55 tackles for Seattle in 2008, but he has lost the quickness that made him an effective interior pass rusher earlier in his career. However, look for him to thrive in the Giants' impressive rotation. He'll be fresher playing fewer snaps and should benefit from receiving less attention from protection schemes.

18. Brodrick Bunkley, Eagles. Bunkley is extremely quick off the ball and moves well laterally. Equally disruptive against the run and the pass, he is an improving player who excels in the Eagles' system.

19. Jovan Haye, Titans. Haye is a true one-gap player. He's undersized but uses his athleticism to get free on stunts and twists. He is coming off a down season in Tampa Bay, but look for a nice comeback in the Titans' active front under line coach Jim Washburn.

20. Brandon Mebane, Seahawks. Mebane is a very good pass rusher for a tackle. This year, he's moving to a 3 technique role in Seattle's attacking scheme, which means he'll be shooting gaps and getting after the quarterback. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Mebane approach double-digit sack numbers.

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I'm a giants fan and while I like the Canty ranking, I'd have to say it might be a little high. He is switching from a 3-4 end to a 4-3 DT so I fail to see how they can project him so high. I know there are similarities between the 3-4 DE and a 4-3 DT, but there are differences to. It is also questionable just how much playing time he is going to get with the giants rotation at DT.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited that Canty is on the giants, but projecting as a top 5 DT might be a bit pre-mature.

Oh, btw you forgot to highlight Rocky Bernard ;)

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So, Canty wasn't as good as Ratliff last year, but now that he's changing positions (and as far as I know, he's never played inside in the 4-3; one of the reasons the pukes were so excited about drafting him was because he played the 3-4 end for Al Groh, right?)...all of a sudden he's 10 spots better than the guy who went to the pro-bowl off the same line last year? Oooooohhhh-kay.

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He's not good.

Yeah, your talent evaluation needs some serious work after that Ware thread, so you're not really saying much when you dismiss Bernard. And I bet he could start for the Redskins whereas he'll be a situational player for the Giants.

As for these rankings and sporting news in general, just awful. I love the Canty signing and I'm excited for his potential, but how can you in good conscience place a guy 5th overall at a position he's basically never played?

That's just dumb, but not as dumb mind you as leaving Corey Webster off the list of the 20 best corner backs in the league, a guy who had a better statistical season than anyone else in the league not named Nnamdi Asomugha, but sporting news hasn't be relevant in years so who really cares?

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Dude...shutup. nah nah nah nah (fingers in ears) I can't hear you.

So tired of Snyderrato. :(

Eh, I blame that selection on Gibbs. When he was here, he had total control of our drafts and our player personnel. Not only did we pass on Canty, but we passed on Kerry Rhodes, Jason Brown, Darren Sproles, and Brady Poppinga. 5 Starters we passed over for a damn FB. :doh:

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I find this thread to be very funny.

TR1's M.O. is that the "pukes" are overrated and overhyped by the media and Cowboys fans.

Yet, he's quick to post an article or media report that clearly overrates former Cowboys players and then support such a report. Last year his favorite player was Fasano. This year I'm curious to see who his favorite player will be. The early leader appears to be Canty.

In regards to the article, no way is Canty the 5th best DT in the NFL. He's never played the position, in college or the NFL. It will be interesting to see him play DT for one of his weaknesses was that at times he gets too upright. If he gets upright against some of the bigger guards in this division, he'll be pushed back 10 yards.

Am I upset we lost Canty? Absolutely, especially to the Giants. But I don't think he's worth what he got nor do I see him as a top 10 let alone top 5 DT in the NFL.

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Eh, I blame that selection on Gibbs. When he was here, he had total control of our drafts and our player personnel. Not only did we pass on Canty, but we passed on Kerry Rhodes, Jason Brown, Darren Sproles, and Brady Poppinga. 5 Starters we passed over for a damn FB. :doh:

And just to reinforce the fact that we wanted a FB, they drafted ANOTHER one a few rounds later who, guess what, yep also didn't make the team.

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Yeah, your talent evaluation needs some serious work after that Ware thread, so you're not really saying much when you dismiss Bernard. And I bet he could start for the Redskins whereas he'll be a situational player for the Giants.

As the article pointed out, he's lost his quickness.

I know he's dressed in blue now, but please, try to be objective.

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I find this thread to be very funny.

TR1's M.O. is that the "pukes" are overrated and overhyped by the media and Cowboys fans.

Well, yes. Yes they are!

Poorly coached, over-paid, under-achieving choking-dogs who own the NFL record for one-and-done in the playoffs.

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Enough said. :chair:

Goddamned Cowpuke fans!

Nice educated response there.

How about adding to the discussion about football instead of resorting to personal attacks. You don't know me or anything about my educational background. If you did, you wouldn't respond in that manner.

Thanks in advance.

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And just to reinforce the fact that we wanted a FB, they drafted ANOTHER one a few rounds later who, guess what, yep also didn't make the team.

Grrrr don't remind me! Out of all the drafts we've had in the past few years, that particular round pisses me off the most. 1 of those 5 guys we passed over in the 4th we could really use today. But noooo, we had to select Manny White! :doh:

Grrr.

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Grrrr don't remind me! Out of all the drafts we've had in the past few years, that particular round pisses me off the most. 1 of those 5 guys we passed over in the 4th we could really use today. But noooo, we had to select Manny White! :doh:

Grrr.

Don't forget about the seventh round. We chose Nemo Broughton over Jay Ratliff. :(

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So, Canty wasn't as good as Ratliff last year, but now that he's changing positions (and as far as I know, he's never played inside in the 4-3; one of the reasons the pukes were so excited about drafting him was because he played the 3-4 end for Al Groh, right?)...all of a sudden he's 10 spots better than the guy who went to the pro-bowl off the same line last year? Oooooohhhh-kay.

Thank you for bringing logic and intelect to this topic.

Simply unbelievable that the Cowboys would have let their "best" DL go without even an offer while think that Igor could fill his role without skipping a beat...

hmmmmm...

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