To finish the division up....much more murky and difficult that the offense. I was actually surprised at how much Denver dominated the defensive groups.
1. Denver - Demarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Terrence Knighton, Kevin Vickerson, Sylvester Williams, Quanterrus Smith
2. Oakland - Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Pat Sims, Jack Crawford, Stacy Mcgee, Justin Ellis, CJ Wilson
3. San Diego - Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes, Sean Lissemore, Lawrence Guy, Kwame Geathers, Ryan Carrethers, Domik Scafe
4. Kansas City - Dontari Poe , Vance Walker, Mike Devito, Mike Catapano, Allen Bailey, Kyle Love, Jaye Howard
- An interesting mix here. Denver has the best combination of size, strength and athleticism as well as depth. If Wolfe returns after his illness and Ware is as good as early reports...this could be a runaway for Denver. So much ability here for Denver. The remaining 3 all need guys to step-up but they have talent. It must be said that all 4 groups here have alot of moving parts(Von Miller, Tamba/Houston, Freeney, Mack, etc) will be listed as LBers but will see time on the line. Oakland's stating 4 should be solid against the pass but they also have the potential to completely bomb. San Diego has the most raw talent IMO as Liuget/Reyes could take the step from good to great. Lissemore is solid but they really need Geathers or Carrethers to step up. This could easily jump past Oakland. Kansas City has the best DT in the division in Dontari Poe but nothing else that is special. Divito and Walker are solid but they need production(not just talk) from Allen Bailey and Mike Catapano.
1. Kansas City - Justin Houston, Tamba Hali , Derrick Johnson, Nico Johnson , Dee Ford, Zombo/Mays
2. Denver - Von Miller, Danny Trevathan, Nate Irving, Lerentee McCray, Jamar Chaney, Lamin Barrow
3. Oakland - Kevin Burnett, Khalil Mack, Nick Roach, Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava, Miles Burris
4. San Diego - Donald Butler, Manti Te'o, Dwight Freeney, Jarrett Johnson, Melvin Ingram/ Larry English
- Another tough spot to judge as many of the players are so different. Kansas City gets the nod here because of the trio of Houston, Hali and Johnson but they need poduction from Nico Johnson or Joe Mays. Dee Ford gives them a future partner with Houston. If Miller returns to form, he is the best defensive player in the division. Trevathan is the top WLB in the division IMO. The problem comes with MLB. Can Irving raise his game at MLB? Can Barrow adjust so early? McCray could add quality depth. Burnett and Roach should be solid for Oakland and Mack has Von Miller like potential. Sio Moore has talent here as well. San Diego is long on talent but needs production. Butler is a stud and Te'o...while overrated in college can still be solid. Freeney is a question at this point and Ingram/English look like busts. Jarrett Johnson has long been steady against the run.
1. Denver - Aqib Talib , Chris Harris , Brandon Roby , Kayvon Webster , Tony Carter
2. Oakland - Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, DJ Hayden, Chimdi Chekwa, Keith McGill
3. San Diego - Shareece Wright, Jason Verrett, Richard Marshall, Crezdon Butler, Steve Williams
4. Kansas City - Sean Smith, Chris Owens, Marcus Cooper, Phillip Gaines, Ron Parker, (Sanders Commings)
- Denver boasts the top 2 CBs in the division(assuming health). If Brandon Roby is as good as Denver thinks he could be...holy cow. Carter is who who is and Webster represents another potential quality asset. Past Denver...it is alot of projection. Oakland has 2 solid vetetans in Brown and Rogers and alot of potential in DJ Hayden. Chekwa and McGill give them a pair of plus sized guys who have developmental potential. San Diego and Kansas City are both "eh". Shareece Wright is an ok 2 or 3 CB but needs to continue to develop. Richard Marshall is a good tackler but the next play he makes might be his first. They desperately need Verrett to step in early and be effective. Kansas City needs Smith to be a #1 corner but he is not proving to be reliable on or off the field. Parker and Cooper have great size but need continued polish. Gaines has starting CB talent but it is questionable if that will be this year.
1. Denver - TJ Ward, Rahim Moore , Quinton Carter, David Bruton, Duke Ihenacho
2. San Diego - Eric Weddle, Marcus Gilchrist, Brandon Taylor, Darrell Stuckey
3. Kansas City - Eric Berry, Husain Abdullah, Sanders Commings, Malcom Bronson, Daniel Sorenson
4. Oakland - Tyvon Branch, Charles Woodson, Brandian Ross, Usama Young
- Ward, Weddle and Berry are all 3 weapons. Branch, when healthy, is solid as well. The difference in this grouping is that Rahim Moore, if healthy, is superior to Gilchrist, Abdullah and Woodson. Kansas City has to be hoping for Sanders Commings to take the FS spot. San Diego is likely hoping for the same from Brandon Taylor. Oakland lags behind the rest of the division in quality and in hopes for the future.