A couple of weeks ago we took a look at the Sporting News rankings of the top offensive players at each position and where the Arizona Cardinals rank amongst their peers. The Sporting News has extended their rankings to the defensive side of the ball and the Cardinals had a solid showing. As you'd probably expect the leaders of the defense both headlined the class but several positions were unrepresented. The Cardinals didn't have any players ranked at defensive end (Dockett was listed as a tackle) and outside linebacker, but who did make the list?
- #11 - Darnell Dockett: Dockett is a smaller, athletic lineman who uses his quickness and agility to create havoc inside. He's the most disruptive force on the Cardinals' line and has matured into a top-flight player.
#3 - Karlos Dansby: Defensive coordinator Bill Davis is talking about using a straight 3-4 scheme this season, but the Cardinals might not have the personnel to do it. Dansby aligns inside at times in 3-4 alignments, but that's only about 30-40 percent of the time. His best asset is versatility, an ability to line up anywhere on the field and make plays in every facet of the game.
- #17 - Bryant McFadden: McFadden has some serious big-game experience to go with excellent ball skills and tackling ability. Best of all, he's only 27. A broken arm in 2008 hurt his free-agent value, but he is a good all-around player and will be a good fit in a much-improved Arizona secondary.
- #19 - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: As a rookie, Rodgers-Cromartie flashed impressive athletic ability and rare ball skills. He has a unique combination of size and speed and adjusts well to the ball in the air. With McFadden in the lineup and a year of experience under his belt, Rodgers-Cromartie should be better in 2009. He just has to prove 2008 wasn't a fluke.
#3 - Adrian Wilson: Wilson is not quite as dominant as he was earlier in his career, but he can still excel in most aspects of the game. Wilson is at his best playing close to the line, but he also makes plays on the ball in coverage. He has great size and can deliver big hits with the best of them.
Now granted, all of these rankings are nothing more than one man's, or perhaps a group of men's, opinion but it's still interesting to see where they would rank some of the best players in the game today. What do you guys think? How would you tweak the rankings?