In an effort to decide which team will win the NFC South in 2013, I’ve decided to rank the four players in the division at each of the 11 positions on offense, 11 on defense, punter, place kicker, and one specialist. Each team will have one representative at each position and will be given points based on where their player lands in relation to the others who play the same position in the division. The best player in the division will receive four points while the worst will receive just one. We will then tally the points up, and come up with the a ranking of the four teams in the NFC South.
Next up are the right defensive ends.
#1 - Charles Johnson - Carolina Panthers – 4 points
Jordan is one of the more under appreciated defensive ends in the NFL. This guy has been posting mega numbers for the past three years and outside of the Carolinas, not many people know how dominant he truly is. He’s never made a Pro Bowl despite having nine or more sacks in each season since 2010. Expect another good year out of Charles Johnson, and expect no one beside the myriad of quarterbacks he’s slinging to the ground to remember him.
#2 - Cameron Jordan - New Orleans Saints – 3 points
The former first round selection proved why he deserved that honor last year. In somewhat of a coming out party for the then 23 year old, Jordan registered 40 tackles including eight sacks. He went from a rookie trying to figure it out, to a second year player who gets it. The new 3-4 will be a change for Jordan, but I’m sure the defensive scheme will try to create lanes for him to get to the passer.
Tie #3 - Adrian Clayborn - Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1.5 points
Clayborn was finally starting to come into his own when he went down to injury. He’s a high motor guy that seems to be in on the action on almost every play ending near the line of scrimmage. This is a big year for Clayborn as the Bucs are relying on him and Da’Quan Bowers to ramp up what was a miserable pass rush. The Buccaneers blitz with the secondary a lot, which often leaves DE’s unblocked. A healthy Clayborn, and a free shot at the QB, look out.
Tie #3 - Osi Umenyiora - Atlanta Falcons – 1.5 points
Age, age, age. What once was the best pass rusher in the league, is now in a tie for third in his new division with a guy who’s still trying to prove himself. The time came for Osi in New York, which should be quite telling about what’s left in the tank. However, his $8.5 million two-year deal indicates the Falcons think he’s still got it. If he can be half of what he used to be, this ranking will look like a joke, but if he’s the shell of himself I think he is you’ll be wondering why I even gave him the benefit of the tie.
The rankings are now complete. Be sure to check out the NFC South Position Rankings roundup to see point totals and observations based on the rankings.