Sunday, June 8, 2008

NFC Defensive Ends

by: Michael Steffes

This is becoming a weekly segment, but the newest positional rankings from the Sporting News are out. They did me a favor and posted the article to the website as an exclusive so I didn't have to buy the magazine this week. Anyway...

This week TSN looks at defensive ends. The Seahawks rank 4th. Following the Giants, Packers, and Vikings. Hate to say it, but this may be another example of Sporting News being influenced by national perception of the team. Click here to

I think the Giants can make a fair claim to one of the top spots, but if Strahan retires, which is looking likely, the will lose their most consistent rusher.

The Packers have no business here. Kampman is a good player, but he is not a defensive player of the year candidate. Plus, Cullen Jenkins and KJB are not on the upswing.

I understand the Vikes now have Jarred Allen, who is the best defensive end in the conference. Fair enough, but the ends who were there did nothing last year. Now they will be better if only because Allen commands so much attention, but that doesn't make them better players.

Having Tapp, a budding star, plus an instant producer in Lawrence Jackson, should make the Hawks a little better, especially when you consider that Kerney is the 2nd best end in the conference. The other guys are just as good as the complementary players on the teams ranked ahead of them.

Behind Allen and Kerney, the top 5 defensive ends look like this: Osi Umenyiora, Trent Cole, and Aaron Kampman.

My list would look like this... Giants, Seahawks, Vikings, Packers, Eagles. But I have been accused of being a homer before. The rest of the NFC West rank low, as do the Falcons who may be a bit underrated, assuming they can ever get a full season out of John Abraham.