Power Ranking the NFL's Turnover Happy Defenses in 2011
When so many NFL games come down to the final minute of play, is there any single play that can change momentum more in a game, then when the defense creates a turnover and saves the victory. Or the defense creates a turnover in the last minute or two that leads to a comeback win.
Did you ever wonder how really important it was for defenses to create turnovers? Does a defense that consistently create turnovers lead to a winning team or making the playoffs?
We decided to take a look at the last three regular seasons (2008 - 2010) and see which defenses have been creating the most turnovers year in and year out, and see what has that done towards realizing their playoff aspirations. Due to the amount of personnel change on rosters and coordinators being replaced, going back more than three years doesn't seem to hold much water for the purposes of our article.
We will rank the NFL teams for the amount of turnovers that they have produced in the last three years, and take a look into the upcoming 2011 season based on the draft and potential haul in free agency for each team.
Interceptions and the Playoffs
It is probably not a coincidence that the top six defenses that led the NFL in interceptions in 2010 all made the playoffs. New England (25), Green Bay (24), Philadelphia (23), Atlanta (22), Chicago (21) and Pittsburgh (21).
In 2009, four of the top six teams made the playoffs: Green Bay (30), New Orleans (26), Philadelphia (25) and Baltimore (22). The two top intercepting teams that didn't make post season were Buffalo (28) and Carolina (22).
So while you may think that a defense that finds itself in the top tier of interceptions bodes well for the playoffs, let me point out that out of the top five interception teams from the 2008 season, only one team, Baltimore (26) made the playoffs. The other top four were: Cleveland (23), Chicago (22), Green Bay (22) and Tampa Bay (22).
The 2008 season throws mud on our theory. So in the past three years, 11 of the top 17 teams in interceptions made the playoffs, and 6 of the 17 did not.
Fumble Recoveries and the Playoffs
Next we look at turnovers created by recovering a fumble. Does that lead to any higher degree of reaching the playoffs than interceptions did?
In 2010, the teams that led in fumble recoveries were: New York Giants (23), New York Jets (18), New Orleans (16), Detroit (15), Chicago (14) and Pittsburgh (14). From those six teams, four of them made the playoffs, with only the New York Giants and Detroit failing to qualify.
In 2009, Chicago, Carolina and San Francisco tied for the lead with 15, but none made the playoffs. The Jets were next with 14 recoveries, and they made the playoffs. Then there were eight teams with 13.
In 2008, Arizona led the NFL with 17, followed by Detroit, Kansas City and New York Jets with 16. Of those teams, only Arizona reached the playoffs.
From the last three years, out of the 14 teams that led the league in fumble recoveries, only 6 made the playoffs, which is less than half. Again, this leads to no concrete conclusion based on the facts.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars
If you think that Derek Cox led the Jacksonville Jaguars with four interceptions in 2010, and you are thinking to yourself, man that really isn't very many, you aren't alone. That is why the Jacksonville Jaguars are ranked dead last in our power ranking article on creating turnovers.
For the last three seasons, the Jaguars have created the fewest turnovers in the NFL with 60. In 2010, the Jaguars were tied for last in the NFL with 18, slightly more than one per game. Had they stepped up the ability to create turnovers, maybe they would have qualified for the playoffs.
Knowing that they need defensive playmakers, it is curious that the Jaguars drafted Blaine Gabbert, when they already had David Garrard in place.
31) Denver Broncos
With the talents of Champ Bailey in the secondary, you would have thought the Denver Broncos would be higher on the list, but the Broncos have generated only one more turnover, 61, over the past three seasons than did our last place team Jacksonville.
The Broncos were tied for last in the NFL in creating turnovers in 2010 with only 18. Hopefully with the addition of Von Miller, and a healthy Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos can generate a stronger pass rush, which will result in more turnovers.
Sad fact, Renaldo Hill led the Broncos with only two interceptions in 2010. No wonder they were the worst defense in 2010.
30) Washington Redskins
Despite the efforts of DeAngelo Hall leading the Washington Redskins with six interceptions in 2010, this is a team that has underperformed for the past three years running. Duing that time period, the Redskins have only generated 62 turnovers, which is not very impressive.
At least they are headed in the right direction, as they did manage to come up with 27 total turnovers in 2010. But they only had one way to go as they were dead last in 2009 with 17 turnovers for the whole season, and in the bottom five in 2008 with only 18 turnovers.
For all the money that Daniel Snyder apparently has to spend on his team, it is surprising that he can't seem to attract some natural playmakers on defense that will keep his team in more games.
29) Seattle Seahawks
Earl Thomas led the Seattle Seahawks with five interceptions in 2010. Acquiring more talent like Thomas would make for Seattle, as they are the fourth worst defense in creating turnovers (65) over the past three seasons.
True to form the Seahawks failed to draft any secondary help in their first four picks, so don't expect much of a change, unless they land a top player in free agency.
One thing I will hand Seattle is that they are consistent. The turnovers they have generated in the last three years don't vary much; 22, 23 and 20. It's just that they need to bump those up into the 30's to be a top unit.
28) Houston Texans
Another team with a very suspect secondary is the Houston Texans. Glover Quin led the team with three interceptions in 2010. Not a very high total, but that is a typical issue for the Texans team, in that they just don't generate many interceptions. In the last three years running, the totals have been 13, 14 and 12.
From 2008 - 2010, the Texans have only generated a total of 67 turnovers, which is in the bottom five of the NFL. For a team with playoff aspirations, that is just not a high enough total.
But, better days could be ahead. The Texans invested their first five draft picks to improve the defensive line and their secondary, when they selected J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed, Brandon Harris, Rashad Carmichael and Shiloh Keo. Plus, if the Texans can land a quality secondary member in free agency, they will be moving up on the turnover charts.
27) Oakland Raiders
Another team that has struggled to come up with interceptions in the past several years is the Oakland Raiders. The team only had eight picks in 2009, and then upped that total to 12 in 2010, but that is still not enough. The team leader in interceptions was Michael Huff with only three.
Now, the Raiders are faced with the prospect of losing top corner Nnamdi Asomugha. That will be a big blow to the Raiders defense, and I just don't know how you can easily replace a talent like that.
The Raiders defense has only generated 68 turnovers in the past three years. Their totals in the last three years are 24, 20 and 24. If they have aspirations of getting back to the playoffs, they need to start creating more turnovers for their offense. Maybe the draft picks invested in Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa will help, as would a top corner via free agency.
26) San Diego Chargers
With the number one ranked defense in the NFL in 2010, you would think that the San Diego Chargers would be loaded with turnovers. Not necessarily the case. The team leader in interceptions in 2010 was Antoine Cason with four. The Chargers managed 16 interceptions and six fumble recoveries for 22 total turnovers. That is two down from reeling off 24 in 2009 and 2008.
Two of the Chargers draft picks were meant to add some talent to the secondary, as the Chargers selected Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright. The off-season signing of Bob Sanders, (if he can stay healthy) might also cause the turnovers to rise this season.
The Chargers have averaged three defensive touchdowns per year over the last three years. But a few more turnovers might have been sufficient to have propelled the Chargers to the playoffs last year.
25) Miami Dolphins
From 18, to 15, to 11, the Miami Dolphins interception totals over the past three years appear to be in a free fall pattern. Jason Allen led the Dolphins with three interceptions in 2010, which is another small figure. Where are all the interception totals in a pass-happy league?
For the past three years, the Dolphins have only manufactured 70 turnovers, which places them as the 25th best defense in creating turnovers. The Dolphins failed to draft any secondary help over their first five draft picks, so maybe they have some players they will target in free agency.
As it stands now the Dolphins defense just doesn't do that much in handing over great field position to the offense.
24) Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are on the rise. Their defensive line is an up and coming unit. Now they just need the rest of their defense to follow suit. Over the past three years, the Lions have only generated 71 turnovers, which puts them at 24th in the NFL over that time period.
Alphonso Smith led the Lions with five interceptions in 2010. At least the interceptions are going in the right direction. The Lions had an anemic four interceptions for the entire 2008 season. The total went up to 9 in 2009, and then 14 in 2010. If the Lions defensive line can continue their improvement, it is not out of the question that the secondary will have a chance to step in front of more hurried passes in 2011.
The Lions should be a player in free agency to land a veteran corner. The Lions did not add any top corner in the draft, as they addressed other areas of the team with their first five draft picks. This is a defense that could jump up the list based on what they do in free agency, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.
23) St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams created 26 turnovers in 2010, which was an improvement over the 19 they had in 2009. In the past three years the Rams have created 71 turnovers, which is good for 23rd on our list.
In 2010, Bradley Fletcher led the Rams with four interceptions. While the Rams were most focused in trying to add offensive weapons for Sam Bradford at the draft, they did select Robert Quinn in the first round, hoping that he can apply more pressure to the quarterback, and some hurried throws that might result in a few more turnovers.
22) Indianapolis Colts
After coming up with 31 interceptions from 2008 and 2009, the Colts dropped down to only 10 picks in 2010. Kelvin Hayden led the Colts with two interceptions last year. The 21 turnovers the defense created was their lowest total in the last three years.
So, what can the Colts do to turn things around in 2011? The Colts did invest their fifth draft choice on corner Chris Rucker, so hopefully he can come in and help. The Colts lost Bob Sanders to the San Diego Chargers so they will need to replace him in free agency.
If Peyton Manning struggles at all in 2011 due to his neck injury, it will be paramount for the defense to step up their ability to create turnovers again. They have the pass rushers they need in Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, so the secondary has to improve.
21) San Francisco 49ers
When one of your linebackers has three interceptions for the year, that is pretty good production. When he is tied for the team lead in the category, it means that the secondary didn't do very well. Such is the case with the San Francisco 49ers, where Takeo Spikes, Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer all tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 2010.
The 49ers defense generated 22 turnovers in 2010. That was down from the 33 they created in 2009, but up from the 18 they had in 2008. Looking at those numbers, the first thing you think of is inconsistent. The 33 turnovers in 2009 were tied for sixth best in the league. But the 18 the year before were tied for third worst in the NFL.
For the 2011 season, the 49ers drafted Aldon Smith to help out with the pass rush, and got a quality corner in Chris Culliver. We will see who the 49ers add in free agency, but if Nate Clements is a salary cap victim, the 49ers will have to do some work in free agency to replace him.
20) Dallas Cowboys
Gerald Sensabaugh and Terence Newman tied for the team lead in 2010 with five interceptions apiece. As a team, Dallas had 20 interceptions, making them one of only seven teams to reach that plateau. That is a sharp increase from what they did in the previous two years, as they combined for only 19 interceptions in 2008 and 2009. Those lower totals are why they are ranked where they are.
The Cowboys were able to create 10 fumble recoveries in 2010 and in 2009 as well. If they can maintain the 30 turnovers every year, they will undoubtedly move up this list. But the question is, if they have to release some veteran players like Terence Newman, due to salary cap issues, will the turnovers leave with him?
For 2011, the Cowboys drafted Joshua Thomas, a solid corner from the University of Buffalo. Thomas showed well at the NFL Scouting Combines. If the Cowboys are to add any other playmakers on defense in free agency, it was because they chopped a bunch of veterans off the roster to create cap space.
19) Minnesota Vikings
Just like linebacker Takeo Spikes tied for the San Francisco 49ers team lead in interceptions in 2010, we also have linebacker E.J. Henderson tied for the team lead in picks for the Minnesota Vikings. Henderson and safety Husain Abdullah each came up with three picks in 2010.
The Vikings defense has created 74 turnovers in the past three years, which places them at 19th best on our list. Their defense has been one of the most consistent of all the NFL defenses when you consider that they have generated 25 turnovers in 2010, 24 in 2009 and 25 again in 2008. That is about as consistent as you could want. Of course, nobody would be complaining if they consistently pushed that total in to the 30's, but that is wishful thinking.
The Vikings are hoping that draft pick Christian Ballard will help to generate some better pressure and that defensive back Brandon Burton will contribute with his share of turnovers. From a veteran standpoint, there is some concern that safety Madieu Williams could be a salary cap victim due to his expensive contract. Antoine Winfield should be solid for the Vikings this season again.
18) Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have come up with 75 turnovers over the past three years. They find a way to add one more turnover per year, as they have steadily grown from 24 in 2008, to 25 in 2009 to 26 in 2010. If they hit 27 in 2011, that would be rather spooky.
The team leader in interceptions last year was Leon Hall with four picks. The Bengals defense has scored at least two touchdowns a year for the past three years running, so any time that you can take a turnover and create a touchdown out of it, that is a huge momentum changer.
For 2011, the Bengals have to be crossing their fingers that they can keep talented defensive back Jonathan Joseph in house. He is going to be somebody that a number of teams will try to grab, so the Bengals should be prepared to step up if they want to keep him. The Bengals helped their pass rush with the drafting of Dontay Moch, and gained a big safety in Robert Sands. Now we have to see what transpires in free agency.
17) Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have seen some strange patterns in their turnover production over the past three years. There was two low seasons of 10 picks (2008) and 11 picks (2010) that sandwiched the big total of 28 interceptions (2009) when the Bills were second overall in the NFL.
The 2009 season marked the arrival of rookie sensation safety Jairus Byrd, who came up with a nine interception season. He followed that up with the sophomore slump by only having one pick in 2010.The team leader in 2010 was corner Drayton Florence with three. Florence may or may not be back in 2010, as he is a free agent that may be in demand throughout the league.
The Bills total of 77 turnovers in the last three years is good for 17th on our list. To improve that number, the Bills have strengthened their pass rush with the drafting of Marcell Dareus and a supposedly healthy Shawne Merriman. The Bills added some talent to their secondary with the selection of Aaron Williams, Da'Norris Searcy and sleeper Justin Rogers. The Bills appear to be prepared to let safety Donte Whitner walk via free agency.
16) Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons defense has continually generated more turnovers in the past three years to the point that they are now creating some serious numbers. From 18 turnovers in 2008, to 28 in 2009, and then to 31 in 2010, that demonstrates solid growth.
That can be attributed to more interceptions. The team totals went from 10 in 2008 to 15 in 2009 to 22 in 2010. Brent Grimes and William Moore shared the team lead with five interceptions each in 2010.
The Falcons needed to shore up their defense, as evidence by their home playoff loss. What they do in free agency will dictate how strong the defense will be, and if they will continue their path towards generating additional turnovers in the new season.
15) Cleveland Browns
In the past three years, the Cleveland Browns have generated 78 turnovers, which brings them in at 15 on our list. The Browns defense came up with 31 turnovers in 2008, which was a very solid total. That number dipped down to 19 in 2009, and then they improved in 2010 to 28.
From an interceptions standpoint, they have gone from 23 (2008), 10 (2009) and 19 (2010). Pretty drastic swings in production. With regards to forcing fumbles, it has been steady production; nine, nine and eight over the past three years.
The leading interceptor for the Browns last year was Joe Haden with six picks. For 2011, the Browns look like they will be able to produce more pressure on the quarterback due to adding Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard to the defensive line. That pressure will hopefully add to a higher number of turnovers.
14) Kansas City Chiefs
Rookie Eric Berry led the Kansas City Chiefs in interceptions in 2010 with four picks, one of which he returned for a touchdown. The Chiefs defense will need more from Berry in 2011 as they attempt to reverse the current direction that they are headed in regards to turnovers.
Looking at the past three seasons, the Chiefs are seeing their turnovers steadily diminish. They have gone from 29 in 2008, to 28 in 2009, to 23 in 2010. If that number goes down in 2011, it would be difficult to imagine that they could repeat as AFC West Champions again.
The Chiefs addressed their pass rush with the drafting of Justin Houston and Allen Bailey. They also added Jalil Brown in the secondary so hopefully these additions will end the turnover slide.
13) Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have created a very respectable 83 turnovers over the past three seasons, averaging just under 28 turnovers a season. That amount means that they are giving the offense pretty good field position more often than not.
In 2010, the Titans were led by safety Michael Griffin who came up with four interceptions. The defense had 17 total, which was slightly less than the 20 they created in both 2008 and 2009.
In 2011, with a new head coach and a new quarterback, one thing that can help out the team is to have the defense create at least 20 or more interceptions again. In the draft the Titans used their first five picks to address the front seven and not the secondary. They took Akeem Ayers, Jurrell Casey and Colin McCarthy. It would not be a surprise to see the Titans add some more depth to the secondary in free agency.
12) New York Giants
The New York Giants were able to secure nine interceptions from their cornerback duo of Terrell Thomas (5) and Corey Webster (4) in 2010. As a team the Giants had 16 interceptions last year, but that is not the complete story by any means.
In 2010 the Giants caused opponents to cough up the ball that led to 23 fumble recoveries !! That is a huge number. The 23 fumble recoveries is the highest amount that any team has created in the three years that we are examining in this study. The next highest total was the New York Jets 18 last season. Something about defenses in New York City that causes opponents to lose control of the ball.
For the past three seasons, the Giants have come up with 85 turnovers in total. Their total of 39 last season was the most in the NFL and it also means that they really took to new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. The prior two years had 24 and 22 turnovers, respectively. In 2011, expect more of the same, as Fewell now has Prince Amukamara, Marvin Austin and Greg Jones to work with.
11) Pittsburgh Steelers
A great photo of Troy Polamalu making a great interception along the sideline and hanging on to the ball. That scenario happened often enough last year to keep Steelers fans happy, as Polamalu led the team with seven interceptions in 2010. As a defense, the Steelers had 21 interceptions, which is a very healthy total, in addition to to 14 fumble recoveries, so that equals 35 total turnovers. Very nice jump from the 22 they managed the year before.
Any time you are averaging more than two turnovers a game, you have a fighting chance to win. In the past three seasons, the Steelers defense has come up with 86 turnovers, good for 11th on our list.
In 2011, the Steelers invested in their defense by using four of their first five selections on the following defenders: Cam Heyward, Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen and Chris Carter. The draft picks will help if the Steelers lose any key free agents, such as Ike Taylor. But as long as Polamalu is healthy and patrolling in the secondary, the Steelers will be a threat to take the ball away at any time.
10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Aqib Talib had a healthy total of six interceptions in 2010. That might be hard to duplicate in 2011, if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to suspend Talib for his off-field legal problems during the 2011 offseason.
As it was, the Bucs came up with 19 interceptions as a defensive unit in 2010, which is a good total. They came up with the same exact total in 2009 and had 22 in 2008. So that is what I would refer to as steady production. The Bucs have 87 turnovers in the past three years. making our top 10 list at number 10.
For 2011, the Bucs have loads of money to spend under the cap, so they could be smart and prepare for Talib going away, by signing Nnamdi Asomugha to a deal in free agency. The Bucs improved their defensive line by drafting Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers, so the pass rush should be strong. They also drafted Ahmad Black, who will help out in the secondary. They have to replace Talib with a strong option if they want to stay at these kind of turnover levels.
9) New England Patriots
Despite a pass rush that is thought to need much improvement, the Patriots still find a way to create a good amount of turnovers. In 2010, the Patriots came up with 38, which was good for second in the NFL, trailing the New York Giants by only one. That is because the Patriots led the NFL with 25 interceptions, as they have been increasing their picks very nicely over the past three seasons (14, to 18, to 25).
In the past three seasons, the Patriots have generated 88 turnovers. Their totals have been rising over the past three years from 22 to 28 to 38. In 2010, the Patriots were paced by rookie corner Devin McCourty, who came up with seven interceptions.
In 2011, the Patriots will get a healthy Leigh Bodden back and released Tully Banta-Cain to free up salary cap space. The Patriots could then go after free agents like Matt Roth and Mathias Kiwanuka to try to beef up the pass rush. The Patriots also landed a solid corner in the draft when they took corner Ras-I Dowling to start off day two at the NFL Draft.
8) New Orleans Saints
What a difference a year makes. After finishing second in the NFL in turnovers in 2009, and winning the Super Bowl in the process, the New Orleans Saints dropped from 39 turnovers to 27 last year. The most shocking drop was in their interceptions, as the Saints went from 26 in 2009, to only 9 in 2010. That is a huge drop off. What happened?
We can probably start with Darren Sharper, who went from nine interceptions in the Saints Super Bowl year, to none in 2010 and getting beat often in coverage assignments. He has now been replaced by Malcolm Jenkins, and may not even return to the team in 2011 as he is a free agent. The only Saints player that maintained his level of production was Jabari Greer, who had two interceptions in each of the last two seasons. Every other member of the defense saw their interception total drop across the board.
So for 2011, the Saints hope to crank things up again. They have created 88 turnovers over the past three seasons. The 2011 version saw a number of additions to the defense in the draft, including: Cam Jordan, Martez Wilson, Johnny Patrick and Greg Romeus. Those players should help the Saints get closer to where they were in 2009.
7) Arizona Cardinals
The ball must have been bouncing the right way for the Arizona Cardinals in 2010, as they wound up with an amazing seven touchdowns scored due to returning fumbles. Not sure what the clever name for that play is. Since it can't be pick six, how about "pick up six"?
For the record, the Cardinals have created 89 turnovers in the last three years. They have been about as consistent as you can imagine in that regard, with 30 in 2008, 29 in 2009 and 30 again in 2010. That is consistent.
The Cardinals were led in 2010 by Kerry Rhodes, with four interceptions. The 2011 season should see the Cardinals performing at a high level once more, if not even higher with the addition of first-round pick Patrick Peterson. It would not surprise many people if he took over the interception lead next year, due to his strong ball skills. Then again, how long will it take for NFL teams to stop testing him?
6) Carolina Panthers
As bad as the Carolina Panthers were in 2010, seeing the Carolina Panthers at number six may surprise a lot of people. But consider that the Panthers have generated 91 turnovers over the past three seasons, averaging just under two turnovers a game.
In 2010, safety Charles Godfrey led the Panthers with five interceptions. The Panthers had 25 turnovers in 2008, 37 in 2009 and 29 in 2010. The Panthers may have a long road ahead of them to get back into contention, but they still have some talent on defense that will keep them in some games.
The Panthers drafted three players that should contribute on defense this year, when they selected Terrrell McClain, Sione Fua and Brandon Hogan. They might be adding more talent via free agency. It still might be a long year, but the defense should be gaining some valuable experience for the future.
5) New York Jets
The New York Jets have a dominating defense, as we all know. But, the Jets are also capable of coming up with some solid turnover results as well, as they have been credited with 91 turnovers in the last three seasons. In fact, the Jets have created at least 30 turnovers for the last three years running, 30, 31 and 30. In 2008 and 2010 they came up with more fumble recoveries than interceptions, but when you have that many turnovers, who is going to argue or complain about how they were created.
The Jets were led in 2010 by Antonio Cromartie and Dwight Lowery, who both had three interceptions for the year. With Cromartie expected to depart due to free agency, someone else will have to step up and take over his duties in coverage.
For the 2011 season, the Jets have a number of free agent issues. They may be inclined to want to extend an offer to Nnamdi Asomugha, but that remains to be seen. We do know that they drafted some defensive linemen to keep the pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Jets selected Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis. What happens in free agency for now is anyone's guess.
4) Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens defense occupies our number four position. The Ravens have managed to take the ball away 93 times over the past three years, averaging an impressive 31 turnovers a season over that time span.The direction of the turnovers is headed in the wrong way however, as the Ravens have seen their totals drop from 34 to 32 to 27 during the last three years.
In 2010, the Ravens were led by Ed Reed, who continues to amaze with his skills around the ball. Reed came up with eight interceptions in 2010. In fact, over the past five years, he has turned in seasons of five, seven, nine, three and eight interceptions, which is playing at an extremely high level.
In 2011, the Ravens will be breaking in talented corner Jimmy Smith. They also added Chykie Brown, who might also turn out to be a player to contend with in the future. The Ravens might turn out to be players for Nnamdi Asomugha as well, and if he goes there, their defense would probably improve even better than they are now. Hard to imagine.
3) Chicago Bears
The "Monsters of the Midway" are still a team and a defense to be reckoned with. The Chicago Bears come in at number three on our list. The Bears defense has come up with 95 turnovers in the last three years, which is one turnover shy of averaging two per game, for every game in the last three years. That is very impressive.
The Bears turnovers have gone from 32 to to 28 to a recent high of 35. The Bears were led in 2010 by Charles Tillman and Chris Harris with five picks each, and D.J. Moore with four interceptions.
For 2011, the Bears added one rookie for each unit on defense, as they drafted Stephen Paea, Chris Conte and J.T. Thomas. The Bears may be active in free agency on defense, as it appears that the Bears will not bring safety free agent Danieal Manning back to the team.
2) Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are the number two team on our list. The Eagles have been averaging 33 turnovers a year for the past three years running. The Eagles had 23 interceptions in 2010, which followed an impressive 25 picks in 2009.
The Eagles bring heavy pressure at the quarterback, and the constant pressure forces the quarterback in to making bad decisions with the football. That is where the Eagles secondary comes in. In 2010, corner Asante Samuel came through with seven interceptions to lead the team.
For 2011, the Eagles addressed their back seven with draft picks Jaiquawn Jarrett, Curtis Marsh and Casey Matthews. Expect the Eagles to be players in free agency as they have freed up some salary cap space by letting their free agents walk, such as Dmitri Patterson, Quintin Mikell and Stewart Bradley. Maybe saving so much cap space would clear the way for Nnamdi Asomugha to land in Philadelphia. Stay tuned.
1) Green Bay Packers
There is only one team in the NFL that has been able to reach 100 turnovers in the last three years, and that is worthy of our number one spot. The Green Bay Packers are not only Super Bowl Champions, but are also turnover champions. In the last three years the Packers had 28 turnovers (2008), 40 (2009) and then 32 in 2010.
The Packers in fact are the only team that was able to reach the 40 plateau by any team in the last three years. That is averaging two and a half turnovers every game. That kind of production gives the offense hope that they are never out of a game.
In 2010, the Packers were led by corner Tramon Williams with six interceptions. In 2011, the Packers drafted Davon House to help bolster the secondary. The Packers will probably part ways with Nick Barnett and Cullen Jenkins from their Super Bowl team, but have the depth to absorb the losses.