Continuing my positional rankings for the past decade, defensive tackles are up.
This was a really hard group to separate, as there were 20 very solid choices for the list. To thin things out, I decided to have a 96-game or six full season-minimum to make the list.
This took out the younger guys like Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Tommie Harris, and Darnell Dockett, as well as some of the leftovers from the '90s, like Ted Washington, who played almost till his 40th birthday.
The just misses for the list were John Henderson and Pat Williams.
So here they are: my top 10 for the decade.
(Note: All players are judged only for what they did in the years 2000 through 2009.)
A product of speed, upper body strength, and a never quit attitude, Young is the smallest guy on the list and did actually move to defensive end the last couple years of his career.
But during the decade he was a two-time Pro Bowler at tackle and recorded 263 tackles, 41.5 sacks, and eight forced fumbles.
The true journeyman of the list, Adams played for six teams in his career, including five this decade.
Moving around didn't hurt his performance, though, as he went to three Pro Bowls and started 111 games during the decade.
He also started two Super Bowls for two different teams, winning a ring while with the Ravens.
One of only two full-time nose tackles on the list, Williams' job is to disrupt blocking schemes and penetrate, and few have done it as well as him.
During his time in San Diego, Williams went to three Pro Bowls, twice being voted a first team All-Pro, and recorded 287 tackles.
Along with John Henderson, Stroud was part of one of the most dominant duos at the position. During his six seasons as a full-time player, the Jaguars were in the top 10 in defense every season.
Not coincidentally, they haven't cracked the top 20 in the two years since he left, and the Bills went from the bottom to the middle of the pack in defense since his arrival.
Stroud is a three-time Pro Bowler and has recorded 26.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
As has happened a few times in his career, Rogers is in the news for something other than his play.
But his contribution on the field has been special. There has maybe never been a player with his combination of size and quickness on the inside.
Rogers went to two Pro Bowls as a DT in the 4-3 for Detroit and went to a third as a NT in the 3-4 for Cleveland. He has started 122 games and recorded 35.5 sacks and 344 total tackles.
You could argue that Rogers has easily done all of this with less talent around him than any other player on this list.
The actual talent this guy has is amazing. Just the fact that he made this list after such devastating injuries right in the prime of his career says so much.
It's the tale of two careers really: starting 43 games in his first three years and being voted to two All-Pro teams while helping Carolina to the Super Bowl, then missing most of two full seasons only to get two more Pro Bowl nods in '06 and '08—his first season as the Jets nose tackle.
Jenkins has 24 sacks and 220 total tackles to go with his four Pro Bowl nods and one Super Bowl appearance.
The top nose tackle on the list and exactly the guy you want to have if you're running a 3-4 defense.
Hampton doesn't touch as many ball carriers as most of the players on this list, but he is consistently eating up two blockers and pushing back the line of scrimmage almost every play he is on the field.
Hampton has been to five Pro Bowls and been a starter on two Super Bowl champion teams, while amassing 173 tackles and eight sacks.
Many will say he should be higher, but we can't forget he did a lot of his damage in the '90s. From 1997-2002 there wasn't a better defensive tackle in the NFL.
But he did accomplish a fair share this decade too: a Super Bowl ring as well as four Pro Bowl invitations and one first team All-Pro nod.
During the decade Sapp had 54.5 sacks, 178 tackles, and eight forced fumbles.
Glover is not a name that comes up much in the best players of the decade conversations, but you would have a hard time finding many more consistent players at the position.
Starting the decade off right with 17 sacks in 2000 for the Saints (second most ever by a DT), Glover went to six straight Pro Bowls and had 58.5 sacks, 335 tackles, and 11 FF while starting 134 games for three different teams.
Talk about a special player.
Speed, power, athleticism, height, weight—it's all there.
Williams started at DE and had 10.5 sacks his rookie year. The next season they moved him inside, and he has been to five Pro Bowls and been a five-time first team All-Pro in the six years since.
His stats for the decade are 48.5 sacks, 245 tackles, six forced fumbles, and four interceptions.