Bring in The New Guys: The Future NFL All-Decade Team, Defensive Edition
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Happy New Year!!!! Many people don't know this, but it is also the start of a new decade.
In the past 10 years, defensive players like Ray Lewis, Dwight Freeney, Richard Seymour, Champ Bailey, Ed Reed and the whole Steelers defense have been terrorizing opposing offenses.
These players aren't getting any younger, and in the next few years, the NFL could lose them to retirement.
Well, who's going to take these players spots as household names? These guys!!!
Defensive Ends: Jason Pierre-Paul and Mario Williams
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Both of these defensive ends are physical freaks. Mario Williams, at 6'6 and close to 300 pounds, was drafted first overall out of North Carolina State by the Houston Texans.
Many people thought that the Texans should have drafted Vince Young, Matt Leinart or Reggie Bush instead, but Williams has failed to disappoint. He is only 25 years old and is thought of as one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.
What is truly amazing is how productive he is, even though he receives constant double-teams thanks to the lack of defensive weapons in Houston. In 2007, he broke the Texans single-season sack record with 14, and he has already made three Pro Bowl rosters.
Jason Pierre-Paul is only 21 and really has not proven himself like Mario Williams. Like Williams, he is huge at 6'5 and 270 pounds. The former USF Bull was drafted by the New York Giants last year and really has had limited opportunity to shine.
He plays behind two of the best defensive ends in the country and I believe this is really helping him out because he is learning to be effective at the NFL level. When he did have the chance to shine, he recorded four sacks in two games against the Jaguars and Redskins.
Defensive Tackle: Ndamukong Suh
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Ndamukong Suh is the best defensive tackle in the NFL hands down. He is strong, athletic, a leader, and can even kick field goals.
The craziest thing is he is only 24 years old. I believe by the end of his career he will be the best DT ever to play the game. He has no flaws in his game and has completely turned around the Lions' defense.
Outside Linebackers: Clay Matthews and Tamba Hali
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Clay Matthews and Tamba Hali are the two of the most under-rated players in the NFL. Rarely do you hear ordinary people put these two in the best linebacker conversation.
Clay Matthews is a fighter as he did not even get a scholarship to go to any Division 1 schools. In fact, he did not even start on his own high school football team until his senior year.
He decided to become a walk-on for USC. Once at USC his career took off. He was extremely successful as an outside linebacker and was drafted by Green Bay in the first round.
Many people looked down on this pick, but the Matthews failed to disappoint and now is a two time Pro-Bowler and an All-Pro.
The story of Tamba Hali is truly inspirational. Like Matthews he did not become successful in football till later in his career. Hali was born in Liberia and decided to escape the war-torn country at age ten to live with his father in the United States.
He has been motivated to become an NFL player because of his desire to reunite with his mom that he has not seen in 12 years.
Also like Matthews, he did not have much pre-draft hype surrounding him. He was selected by the Chiefs with the twentieth overall pick in the 2006 draft. He has been an extremely effective pass-rusher and has been pretty good in pass-coverage.
Also, he is only 24 years old and was the AFC sack champion this year. One problem he has is that he lets a lot of sacks get away from him and if he corrected this habit, he would become a household name.
Middle Linebacker: James Laurinaitis
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James Laurinaitis is to the Rams' defense as Bradford is to the Rams' offense.
If you don't understand my analogy, I am trying to say how important James Laurinaitis is to the Rams' defense. He is a proven leader, as he led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the BCS championships, and he has tons of skill and potential to match it.
Also, he is an extremely aggressive player, which is evident when you find out that he almost got drafted into the NHL.
He has completely turned the Rams' defense around into "above-average" status. His style of play reminds me of Brian Urlacher's, but he has much more maturing to do.
Cornerbacks: Devin McCourty and Joe Haden
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YES!!! I am jumping on the bandwagon of these two as the sky is the limit for them. They have both proven doubters wrong this season and have showed immense potential.
Joe Haden was drafted with the seventh overall pick in last years draft, but many people thought that he should have been drafted later thanks to his poor combine performance.
Many people were questioning his speed as he ran a 4.57 second time in the 40 yard dash, which is slow for a NFL cornerback. However, he has failed to disappoint in his first season. Actually, he put up close to Pro-Bowl stats.
Devin McCourty was thought of as a solid, but not spectacular, pick by the Patriots. The former Scarlet Knight had an impressive combine, which translated into complete dominance for the Patriots.
Thanks to Leigh Bodden going down with an injury, McCourty was moved into the starting line-up and never looked back.
He became a force to be reckoned with, compiling 82 tackles with 7 interceptions on the season. He was named a Pro-Bowl reserve in his first season and could be the next all-time great corner.
Free Safety: Earl Thomas
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Earl Thomas was drafted out of Texas by the Seahawks with the 14th overall pick. Many people could not believe that he fell all the way into Seattle's lap.
The former Longhorn is a talented playmaker with tons of potential, as he is only 21 years old. Thomas eliminated some of the big plays that occurred the season before.
His stat line was very impressive for his first season in the NFL, as he recorded 5 interceptions to go along with 76 tackles.
Strong Safety: Eric Berry
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Eric Berry is the highest paid safety in NFL history!!! Let that sink in, because that includes Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Ronnie Lott and Paul Krause. He received this deal before he even played a game.
Teams must see something in him because he is being paid $10 million a year. The former Tennessee Volunteer was drafted with the fifth pick by the Kansas City Chiefs.
This season he put up impressive numbers with 92 tackles and 4 interceptions.
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Please check out the first part of the Future NFL All-Decade Team, Offensive Edition!!
Which could be found right here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/569951-bring-in-the-new-guys-the-future-nfl-all-decade-team-offensive-edition
If the hyperlink is not working, you can find it at my channel!!
Thanks for reading!!