NFL Mid-Season Rankings: Top 5 Defensive Players

Nathan Terry, III, Staff Writer

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In the National Football League (NFL), offense is exciting, but defense wins championships. In 2018, the league has many strong players on the defensive side of the ball.  The NFL needs to show more love to the defense that’s why I have created a top five list of the defensive players right now.

Coming in at number five on this list Is Ravens strong safety Tony Jefferson. Jefferson has to be one of the top defenders in the league right now.  In only his second year playing with the Ravens, he is already racking up sensational stats. In 2017, Jefferson piled up 56 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles for 79 total. He also had 2.5 sacks and an  interception. This year Jefferson is starting off the season strong. In the six games the Ravens have played, he has already has 27 solo tackles and 9 assisted tackles for a combined total of 36 in the season. If he keeps up this pace, he could be on the way to a Pro Bowl season.

Number four on my list is another safety, second year man Jamal Adams of the New York Jets.  Adams had a monster season last year with 63 solo and 20 assisted tackles for a combined total of 83. Also, he had 6 passes defended in a dominant season. What’s he done for an encore? A lot! In 2018 he has been just as good during the first 6 games the Jets have played. Adams  has already recorded 30 solo and 11 assisted tackles for a combined 41. He also has 5 passes defended, an interception, and has forced two fumbles. It is only his second year in the NFL but his stats are incredible.

Rolling in at number three on the list is a man that needs no introduction: Von Miller, the Denver Broncos’ outstanding pass rusher. Miller, the eighth year man out of Texas A&M, has been dominant each season he has been in the NFL. In his career he already has over 420 combined tackles.  In 2017 Miller had over 51 solo and 6 assisted tackles for a combined total of 57 tackles. Miller has and continues to terrorize quarterbacks for eight years. So far in 2018 he has 25 combined tackles on and it is only the 6th week. That is almost a sack a game for a guy who also causes other problems such as fumbles, which he has done twice this year. These are great stats and there is still a lot of football to be played.

Another great player at comes in number two on the list. He is a man who has done something that hasn’t been done since 1982. Before I get into that – let me introduce you to  Khalil Mack, the Raiders…oops, I mean Bears new Monster of the Midway. In 2017 Mack, with the Raiders, in 16 games had 61 solo and 17 assisted tackles to go along with 10.5 sacks.  He also had one forced fumble. In 2018, in a new city, Mack has done something that hasn’t been done since 1982 and that is record an interception, a touchdown, a forced fumble, and fumble recovery in one half. That’s right – in one half! That is not all, in the six games the Bears have played,  Mack has 15 solo and 4 assisted tackles to go along with 4 forced fumbles. Mack is on his way to rewriting the record books in 2018.

Drum roll please! Coming in at number One spot is a man who has battled with injuries his whole career, J.J Watt. In 2017, due to a plateau fracture in his left, leg his season was cut short. But, in that short period of time, Watt had 11 solo and 4 assisted tackles for a combined 15. Now in 2018, he has  no injuries and he is dominating. Already in the 6 games that he’s played, Watt has recorded 19 solo and 6 assisted tackles. These stats include 7 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.

Any list means debate so you can say what you want about these players and whether they deserve the top 5 spots. However, you cannot say that their stats in the first 6 weeks aren’t incredible. For each of these players they have to be on the pro bowl ballot if they keep up a season like this.

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