The Best Defensive Tackle in the NFC South?

Demondre' WileyContributor ISeptember 2, 2009

Atlanta Falcons  defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux  at the 2005 American Bowl  Aug. 6    at the Tokyo Dome  in Japan.  The  Falcons defeated the Indianapolis  Colts 27 - 21.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Jonathan Babineaux is the most underrated defensive player in the National Football League.

Babineaux, a 6'2" 288 lb. defensive tackle, was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. In 2008 Babineaux had 40 tackles (32 solo) and 3.5 sacks. But the most-overlooked stat is tackles for loss.

Babineaux led all defensive tackles in the NFL with 11 tackles for loss (also tied for fourth most in the league). When people think of the NFC South's best defensive players, they think of Julius Peppers, John Abraham, Jon Beason, Jonathon Vilma, or Barret Ruud. Babineaux has to be in that conversation.

Babineaux is the best defensive tackle in the NFC South. Yes, he's better than Sedrick Ellis (for now) and Maake Kemoeatu.

Babineaux consistently penetrates the opposing offensive line and even if he doesn't get a sack or tackle behind the line, he disrupts plays. Babineaux has already taken a leadership role. He acts as a mentor to Peria Jerry and Trey Lewis despite being only 27-years-old.

With Babineaux entering his second year in this defensive system, he will potentially have an even bigger season. That means John Abraham will finally get the help he needs.

Expect a near Pro Bowl season from Babineaux. I'm guessing 50 tackles, six sacks, and 15 tackles for loss.

Now my question to you: Do you think Jonathan Babineaux is the best defensive tackle in the NFC South?