Jason Pierre-Paul and the 5 Best Defensive Ends in the NFL

Geoffrey MortonCorrespondent IIDecember 24, 2011

Jason Pierre-Paul and the 5 Best Defensive Ends in the NFL

0 of 5

    Jason Pierre-Paul, the second-year player out of South Florida, had a breath-taking performance against the Dallas Cowboys which was key in helping the Giants secure a win.

    JPP recorded six tackles, two assists, two sacks (one for a safety), a forced fumble and a blocked kick which sealed the win. The freakishly athletic defensive end has had a dominant season this year, and many are starting to ask: is Pierre-Paul a top-five defensive end?

    Well, this slideshow answers those questions with a countdown of the top-five defensive ends in the league.

5. Jason Babin

1 of 5

    Jason Babin has been absolutely dominant this year as a pass-rusher. He has recorded 18.0 sacks and needs 4.5 sacks over his last two games to tie Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 sacks in a season.

    Babin leads the league in sacks and is feared by quarterbacks all over the NFL. Though he played with four different teams in his first seven NFL seasons, Babin has finally figured things out as a pass-rusher and is now one of the league's best.

    Babin has recorded 18.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, two pass deflections and 38 tackles this year, but the only knock on him is his poor run defense. He tends to over pursue runners and really doesn't offer the Eagles much as a run defender. Fellow defensive end Trent Cole does a much better job against the run.

    However, Babin has still been able to get by on his nonstop motor and unbelievable pass-rushing skills, and he just cracks the top-five defensive ends.

4. Jason Pierre-Paul

2 of 5

    Jason Pierre-Paul just cracks this list as the fifth-best defensive end in the league. Though it's only his second year, JPP has already made a huge impact on the Giants defense.

    Going into 2011, it looked like Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck would be starting as usual with JPP adding depth, but they have both missed time due to injury, and in their place, Pierre-Paul has had easily a Pro Bowl season.

    JPP has racked up 76 tackles, 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a safety, a blocked kick and six pass deflections and is a phenomenal athlete. The defense can take a lot of the blame for New York's late-season failures, but none of it can be put on Pierre-Paul.

    He may be young, but he's already hitting his stride as a dominant pass-rusher and run stuffer. He deserves his place among the top-five defensive ends and looks like almost like a poor man's Julius Peppers from his prime.

3. Julius Peppers

3 of 5

    Julius Peppers has been a little quieter this year, but that doesn't mean he isn't still dominating on the Bears. It means teams are doing more to stop him.

    Last year, Peppers did wonders for Chicago's defense, and this year, he's still a key part of their pass and run defense. Peppers has recorded 36 tackles, 10.0 sacks, four pass deflections and three forced fumbles this year.

    Though he's slowly declining over the years, this year, Peppers has still proven to be a force at defensive end, and he's still very valuable as a defensive end.

    Peppers is an incredible athlete who never gives up, and his stats and status as a top-five defensive end reflect both of those.

2. Haloti Ngata

4 of 5

    As a 3-4 defensive end, Haloti Ngata doesn't rack up stats like some of the other defensive ends on this countdown. However, he has proven himself to be an elite player in the NFL.

    With Terrence Cody playing nose tackle for the Ravens, Ngata has been moved to defensive end, and his production has improved. Despite Ngata's size (6'4", 330 pounds), he's extremely athletic and possesses great hustle.

    Ngata keeps going at full speed until a play is over, and his intensity is what makes him so effective. He has recorded 56 tackles, five sacks, four pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and in Week 3 against the Rams, he scooped up a fumble and took it 28 yards for a score.

    The Ravens can boast one of the best defenses in the league, and they have Ngata to thank for a lot of it. He has shown his excellence as a run stopper and a pass-rusher this season, and at 27 years old, will continue to give it all on the field for many more years.

1. Jared Allen

5 of 5

    Critics like to call him a one-trick pony, and that may be true to an extent, but that certainly doesn't bother Vikings fans; Jared Allen is currently second in the league in sacks with 17.5.

    In addition to his incredible number of sacks, Allen has also recorded 57 tackles, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, three pass deflections, a safety and an interception. Long story short, the man is a quarterback's nightmare.

    However, facing Allen is no vacation for running backs either. Allen plays with a ferocity matched by few, and he's still no pushover against the run even though his pass-rushing earns him his recognition.

    Allen is dominating this year, and he will absolutely be a top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. He has definitely earned his place as best defensive end in the league.

    The scary part is that the stats he's putting up this year are nothing out of the ordinary for him.