Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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 are some big time playmakers in the middle of the defense, the weak side linebackers.
#1 – Lavonte David – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4 points
The rookie from Nebraska burst onto the scene last season and became a major impact player for the Buccaneers. He recorded 112 tackles and an incredibly impressive 20 tackles for loss. David had such a good rookie season that he’s going to have a hard time repeating it and keeping up with the expectations. Either he does, and the Buccaneers have the best linebacker in the division, or he can’t and he falls back into the pack with the rest of this group.
#2 – Sean Weatherspoon – Atlanta Falcons – 3 points
Weatherspoon is a demonstrative player while on the field. His improved play last year allowed him to reveal his personality even more as he made a number of splash plays. He has a chance to keep getting better and looks like he’s going to become the leader of the Falcons defense. I originally had him tied with David, but the stats just weren’t there, that’s an area of improvement for Weatherspoon in 2013.
#3 – Jon Beason – Carolina Panthers – 2 points
This guy used to be the clear-cut number one player in this group. But then age and injuries got in the way. He’s only played five games over the past two years. He appears to be healthy entering the 2013 season, but he’ll have to stay on the field for more than a few weeks before anyone can trust him again. He’s used to be a great linebacker, we’ll have to wait and see if he can get back there.
Rex Ryan’s “Jack” linebacker is expected to pile up sacks. Victor Butler was supposed to be that guy. But his injury leaves a huge question mark on the position to start the year. Martez Wilson seems to be the likely replacement. The Illinois LB hasn’t ever really gotten the chance to prove himself. He now looks like he’ll have that shot. He’s got to excel if the 3-4 is going to work in New Orleans.
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.