Top 10 DLs in the NFL – Best Defensive Linemen in the NFL in 2012

Last Updated: August 31st, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Suh MonsterDefensive linemen in the trenches always have a tough job, as they know that they are going to get beat up play in and play out in the quest to take down the man with the football. Here’s our list of the Top 10 defensive linemen in the NFL in 2012 that can’t be missed here at Bankroll Sports.

1: Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings: It almost seems like it was really quiet last year when Allen had 22 sacks. It goes without saying that he is one of the best pass rushers in the game, knowing that he can get off the edge with a fury. Knowing how little teams really had to pass against the Vikes last year seeing how bad they were, it is amazing that Allen was able to get this many sacks. He clearly isn’t a one-trick pony either, as he had 66 total tackles, many of which came in the running game.

2: Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens: Being in the middle of a 3-4 is usually not a very sexy position, but Ngata plays it well and feels like he is always in the middle of the action. This is a huge monster of a man, and Ngata is a man that draws all sorts of attention from interior offensive linemen. Quite frequently, at least two of the three interior offensive linemen are thinking about Ngata, and that opens up the rest of the defenders in an aggressive defense to come in for pressure on the quarterback as well.

3: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions: Suh might be overrated, but he is still a beast. He gets to the quarterback, and he has a massive mean streak about him. Sure, it gets him into trouble sometimes, but if he can ever just channel that rage on positives instead of all of the excess stuff, Suh will be the best in the game. He had just four sacks last year, but Suh is a game changer. And heck, he can even kick extra points for Detroit if needed, too!

4: Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants: Remember when George Selvie was considered one of the best pass rushers in the game, yet it was his teammate, Pierre-Paul that ended up being a first round pick in the NFL Draft? The Giants know that they got a steal with JPP, and he has really turned out to be a monster off the edge. Pierre-Paul has size and strength, and he is also a suitable run stopper along the defensive front as well.

5: Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills: For what the Bills are paying Williams, he had better turn out to be one of the best defensive linemen in the league this year. The former Houston Texan suffered a brutal injury after just five games last year and was never heard from again, but he is healthy now and should be as quick as ever off of the line of scrimmage. Williams is a terror in general, and he routinely was amongst the sack leaders in the league before getting hurt. There’s just no reason to think that that is changing any time in the near future.

6: Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers: There are a heck of a lot of great defensive players on the 49ers, but this is one of the best of the bunch. Smith is a defensive tackle that can line up all across the 3-4 front and still be effective. He had 58 tackles last year and tied for the league lead for defensive tackles in sacks with 7.5. Smith is a veteran and knows what he is doing, and he was quietly one of the leaders for what turned out to be a remarkable defense in 2011.

7: Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: Avril doesn’t get a lot of respect on this Detroit defensive line, but perhaps he should. He had 11 sacks last year, but more importantly, he forced six fumbles and had four pass deflections. Avril scored two touchdown as well, proving once again that he has a great nose for the football. Suh is the big name, but Avril gets the stats and is an incredibly talented lineman.

8: Jason Babin, Philadelphia Eagles: Here we do have a one-trick pony, as Babin really is totally useless against the run. However, he can get off the end in a hurry for the Eagles, and quite often, he is the fastest one into the backfield to get after opposing quarterbacks. Babin has been wildly inconsistent over the years, but he turned in a great campaign in 2011 with 18 sacks, and it is hard to leave him off of this list.

9: Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos: When we talk about linebackers, Von Miller’s name will come up for the Broncos, but here, we have a man in Dumervil that really has turned himself into a beast all over the defense. He can be a down linemen or an up man in a 3-4 outside rush and be just as effective either way. Denver knows that it has a real stud on its hands here with Dumervil, as he was the perfect man to start to build this defense around.

10: Chris Long, St. Louis Rams: Howie Long’s little boy had a lot of expectations in his career when he came out of the University of Virginia to the Rams four years ago. He only has 31 sacks for his career, but he had 13 of those last season and nine the year before. Long might finally be in a system in which he can succeed, and he has a nose for the football in general. He has a long way to go to really live up to that No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft that St. Louis spent on him, but Long is at least in the discussion as one of the Top 10 defensive linemen in football right now.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Friday, August 31st, 2012 @ 10:29 am (EST)
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