Best defensive player in the NFL?
Who is the best defensive player in the NFL right now? We asked our experts to answer that question.
San Diego Chargers
In my opinion that player is Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. He can play on the right and left side. He is a dominating pass rusher who has to be double teamed on a consistent basis. What makes Peppers special though is that he is equally effective against the run. He is excellent playing the run at the point of attack and can also chase laterally and make plays down the line of scrimmage.
Peppers is a player that you have to build your game plan around. He can line up all over the defensive front and needs constant attention. That attention frees up other players. He is a player that dominates on a weekly basis and makes everyone around him better. To me that defines being the best defensive player in the NFL.
Len Pasquarelli: Because quarterbacks generally avoid throwing in the direction of Champ Bailey, no defender in the NFL gets fewer chances for big plays than the Denver Broncos' seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback. And no defender takes advantage of more of his chances to alter a game. Bailey is the closest thing to a true shutdown corner the league has seen since Deion Sanders was in his prime. At a position where it's difficult to dominate, Bailey does. Blessed with incredible instincts and great hands, Bailey tied for the NFL high in 2006 with 10 interceptions and has 18 of his 39 career pickoffs the last two seasons. How good is that? There are eight modern-era cornerbacks in the Hall of Fame and none ever had more than 17 interceptions over a two-season stretch.
Joe Theismann: The best defensive player in the league is Merriman. His stats are straight out of a video game and he has quickly become the most feared defensive player in the league. He's done a great job of combining his intelligence with his amazing physical gifts to become as close to the perfect linebacker as you can get. He's going to dominate for years to come and may end up with the sack record before it's all over.
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April 2: Best defensive player (current)
April 3: Best defensive player (ever)
April 4: Defensive trend
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