Kevin C. Cox
Only one inside linebacker made Pro Football Focus' top 10 defensive players list and it wasn't Daryl Washington.
Whenever I see an interesting article on Pro Football Focus that pertains to the Cardinals, I always try and share it with the rest of you. Their site is full of a plethora of valuable info that can be looked at in a variety of ways. So when I came across their recently created top 10 defensive players list, I knew there would be interest here on ROTB.
Despite leading the league in sacks from the inside linebacker position, Daryl Washington only received one top 10 defensive player vote from PFF.
Of course, this is all subjective. Even though players' stats are tracked down to the pressure they put on opposing quarterbacks and the way they tie their shoes before the game (okay, I made that one up), that doesn't mean these rankings are an exact science.
Do you put more weight on 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith because he is not an every down player? He leads the league in sacks and is obviously a pass rusher every team would covet. Still, he only came in at #7 on PFF's list. For anyone else, he could easily be in the top 3 justifiably.
For Washington, we know about the missed tackles and that he perhaps goes "unblocked" on many of his sacks, but can we truly fault him for that? He has a rare burst of speed from the linebacker position that allows him to slither through the offensive line unscathed. It's also not his fault that his defensive coordinator, Ray Horton knows how to use him properly.
To me, Washington is a top 10 defensive player in the league. He is not as heralded as some of these other players because he does not play on a team that is winning right now. PFF at least acknowledges players on losing teams (such as the Bills' Kyle Williams or Justin Houston from the Chiefs), but I think they made a mistake in passing over D-Wash. Luckily for Cardinals fans and Washington, this list is not necessarily made up of players who will be receiving Pro Bowl invites this year.
What do you think? Is Washington a top 10 defensive player in the league? Try and not be too biased and, if you want, create a list in the comments section to share with everyone else.