Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/18/12

 

Let’s keep the ball rolling on the defensive side of the ball with a look at the top five defensive ends in the NFL. It was difficult to determine the top five because so many players move from linebackers to ends, vis versa, and because of the 3-4 scheme. Some people might consider a player like Terrell Suggs an end, I on the other hand consider him a linebacker. And some consider Mario Williams a linebacker, while I consider him a defensive end. We might agree on certain players, and we might disagree on the placement of others because of their skills or positions.

5. Justin Tuck – New York Giants

Justin Tuck is a member of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. That Giants defensive line, specifically at the end position, is stacked from top to bottom. You have the likes of Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. The latter of the three could start on any other team in the NFL. The Giants defensive ends are as good as it gets in terms of depth and skill level. Justin posses elite level strength and speed that allows him to use either a bull or speed rush. He is also able to spot the ball carrier and provide run support. He just needs to remain healthy, but the team did not miss him too much with all of the depth that they have at the position.

4. Jason Pierre – Paul – New York Giants

Jason Pierre – Paul joins his teammate Justin Tuck on the top five list of defensive ends. With all of the talent on this defensive line, there aren’t enough people left to block. But if you had to choose someone to block, it would have to be JPP. JPP is one of the quickest and fastest pound-for-pound players in the league. He is an aggressive pass rusher that utilizes a bull and speed rush to get to the quarterback. That being said, he will run by the ball carrier on occasion and will also get fooled on screen plays, but he will learn as he heads into his third season. If he doesn’t get to the quarterback, he does a great job getting his hands up and deflecting the pass. Expect the third year end to improve greatly with a full offseason in hand.

3. Julius Peppers – Chicago Bears

Julius Peppers is one of the most athletic players in the NFL pound-for-pound. Not only is he a freakish 6’7” 287 lbs. strong monster, he is also extremely quick and fast. The former North Carolina basketball player is the ideal defensive end. He can shed a block with his strength and hand technique, and he can also blow by just about any offensive lineman. Once he identifies where the ball is, he can chase it down with his tremendous speed. He is also the best at his position at deflecting passes and grabbing them before they hit the ground. The only knock is that he plays on defensive line that drew no attention away from him. The Bears hoped to change that with their first round pick, Shea McClellin. No one else on that line draws double teams away from Peppers, putting the offensive line’s focus solely on stopping him.

2. Jared Allen – Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings might be in a rebuilding process, but they still have one of the best defensive ends in the league in Jared Allen. He consistently puts up gaudy numbers, especially for being on a team that is the worst in the NFC North. He has a high motor to accompany his exceptional blend of strength, quickness and speed. He is usually looping around the offensive line to get the quarterback, so he is susceptible to runs to the edge. But when he has his sights on you, there will not be a harder hitter than Allen.

1. Mario Williams – Buffalo Bills

When Mario Williams decided not to return to the Houston Texans and become a free agent I did not expect him to go to the Buffalo Bills. I did expect him to yield a lot of offers, and to strongly consider the Chicago Bears, but his choice was to join the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. Mario will be after one of the games best quarterbacks, Tom Brady, twice a year now. He is a freak of an athlete, reminding me of a younger Julius Peppers. He is a great bull and speed rusher, and I expect him to continue his reign in Buffalo. He has face health issues throughout his career though. Even then, Mario has all of the athleticism, speed, strength, quickness, and intelligence that is needed to begin building a dominant defense.

As I said before, some of these players could change, depending if you consider them a defensive end or linebacker. All five players are elite players, but certainly a few had to be dismissed in order to create a list of five.

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Online Sport Freaks.

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