What counts as great defense? There are so many factors when anyone is ranking defense and defensive players. Do you rank on sacks, tackles, interceptions, passes defended, or the overall value that the player brings from their respectable position and the value to the NFL winning team
they play with?
So many players, younger and veteran, who have had exceptional defensive play in their careers. Some more recently, some a few years back, but I will look at and rank, who is the best playing in the league right now. Unfortunately, this will mean we will not be including some really good players, like underrated Shaquil Barrett, the 27 year old LB from the Bucs – with 15.5 sacks and 2 passes defended in his 2019 campaign.
I am also moving passed Matt Judon – who is having a career year with 8.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He brings a great future to the team and should remain the core and the foundation of a strong defense for the organization.
But he won’t be on the list.
The talented Minkah Fitzpatrick – who is by far one of the league’s better pass defenders with 5 picks and 9 passes defended, and steady active hands in a very solid young career, he also brings a lot of talent to the tackling in Pittsburgh – and will be terrorizing QBs for years in Pennsylvania. But none of these men will not be making this list.
So let’s get to it, let’s take a look at the best of the best. The absolute cream of the crop, the peak of the big top.
Here are your elite 5 playing right now in the NFL
5. Za’Darius Smith – the 27 year old DE formerly from the Ravens, has been terrorizing QBs with 10 sacks on the year, which is very good – but it doesn’t show just how much he is in the backfield of teams. He has been such a menacing force with attacking QBs – he carries a league leading 18 QB knockdowns and is 4th in QB pressures this year, and also has gotten the Packers 12 tackles for loss, putting him tops on the team. He has great ability with size at 6-4 and 275lbs – his natural strength keeps opposing teams unprepared for when he gets moving against the Oline. His relentless QB attacking has been more than enough to shake teams to the core.
4. TreDavious White – the 195lb DB from Buffalo – who has racked up 10 passes intercepted and astonishing 41 passes defended over the last 3 seasons, he is a highly valuable asset for Buffalo. At only 24 years old, he has shown excellent patience and skills that typically only vets show, he has been able to read coverages with meticulousness and will continue to do so. He has great control of his body – an incredible ability to read QBs eyes and feel the body of the WR he is lined up against – helping the Bills to their very highly ranked defensive pass team this year, giving up just 12 TDs in the air.
3. T.J. Watt – the 3rd year, 6-4 LB for the Steelers – T.J. Watt is one of the names that doesn’t always comes to mind when someone thinks of one of the elite defensive players in the NFL.
They would be wrong.
Here is why he is on the list, his instincts, and simply put, he has been an outstanding QB attacking machine for the last 2 seasons, in particular – and he has been the one guy who has always shown up, getting 13 sacks in 2018 and 12.5 already this season, with still 3 games left. His quick eyes also has gotten the Steelers 41 combined tackles and a never ending motor on a regular basis. He will be the heart of this teams defense for years to come.
2. Stephon Gilmore – has had 105 passes defended in 8 years and has been the tops in the NFL for many seasons. Gilmore is the real deal, and when anyone thinks of the top DBs in the NFL, his name is typically what comes up. He shuts down teams, and takes away elite talent, each and every game. With teams only completing 50% of their attempts vs him – he takes guys out of the game – every team knows very well what they are going to be dealing with when they look to go up vs his brilliant physical tenacity. He has helped to carry the Pats in pass coverage with his ferocity and ball hawking ability, he means an awful lot to the success of the team.
1. Cameron Jordan – has pounded teams for 85 sacks in 9 seasons.
His sack total is something that greats are made of. He has had a career best season with 13.5 sacks – he will likely hit the 100+ mark when all is said and done, probably ending up with around 115 or so for his career. There should be no question as to why this guy is at the top of the list for his play this year. He has been one of the best defensive ends for his entire career, and once he got full time snaps in 2012 – he quickly showed why he was drafted 24th overall the NFL by the Saints. Jordan brings a mindset to a team the minute he steps on the field, he is a sure tackler, and brings leadership on the field with an incredible instinct for where the play is going. There is no team in the NFL who wouldn’t love having this guy on their team.
So any way you slice it, dice it or dissect it, those are the guys that you absolutely cannot go wrong with. You know what you’re getting with anyone of them. You are getting a top of the line player; you’re getting pressure on enemies QBs and making plays across the field.