By: Joe Siniscalchi (@Joe_Siniscalchi)
About a month ago, I listed my ultimate offense, where I made a list of what players I would want on my dream offense and what type of scheme it would be. Here is part two of that post, where I will talk about my dream defense.
On defense, I prefer an attacking 4-3, similar to what the Giants run, sprinkled in with some 3-4 looks. For that, I need versatility along the defensive line. I also like corners who are aggressive, are strong in man coverage, and physical at the line of scrimmage. My free safety needs to be a ballhawk, and my strong safety needs to be averse in both pass coverage and lining up in the box to stop the run.
With that, here is my ultimate defense.
LE- J.J. Watt – If you know me, you know I like athletic freaks. Watt is 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds. His long freakish frame gives him the ability to rip the ball out from defenders and bat down passes at the line of scrimmage. He can play just about anywhere along the line, and already has achieved a high level of success. His rookie season was solid, but he really came into his own last season, racking up 20.5 sacks to go along with 4 forced fumbles. He’s a human highlight reel, and in case you forgot, is coming fresh off of his first NFL Defensive Player of the year award.
DT/NT – Haloti Ngata – Here is another freak. Ngata’s unique blend of size, speed, and athleticism make him a moveable chess piece along the defensive line. He can play defensive end, rush the passer from the interior, and clog the middle in 3-4 fronts. Ngata’s game is nearly flawless as he can stop the run and pressure the quarterback. His versatility will also force offenses to account for him no matter where he lines up, or else he is a mismatch nightmare.
DT – Geno Atkins – I also considered Suh and Wilfork here, but Suh’s play has been slipping and Wilfork is also more of a nose tackle. Atkins has been a real stalwart for the unheralded Bengal’s defense, and is becoming a dominant force in the NFL. His sack total has steadily risen from 3, to 7.5, to 12.5 over the past three seasons, along with 6 forced fumbles in his last two seasons. Symmetry along the line is key, and Atkins would be the guy who takes some pressure off the other spots.
RE – Jared Allen – Allen brings consistency to the defensive line. He has missed only three games over his nine year career, and has had fewer than double digit sacks only twice. (7.5 and 9 sacks, still respectable numbers). Jared Allen may be getting up there, but he is a high motor player who gives 110% every play to get to the quarterback. He’s money in the bank essentially. Allen also adds personality to the defense.
OLB – Von Miller – Miller is the best young pass rusher in the NFL, plain and simple. He can line up in the dirt, but is most effective when standing up. In his first two years in the NFL, the young star already has amassed 30 sacks and 8 forced fumbles. The former NFL Defensive Rookie Of the Year is smart and produces.
MLB – Patrick Willis – Now that Ray Lewis has rode off into the sunset, the title of best inside linebacker goes to Patrick Willis. He has a very diverse skill set, and is a tackling machine. He has been at or near the top of the list for tackles since he has entered the league, has 17.5 sacks in six seasons, as well as 14 forced fumbles and 7 interceptions. His game is solid all around, and most importantly, he is an intimidated presence hulking in the middle of the defense.
OLB – Chad Greenway – I would have loved to put T-Sizzle here, but he is best fit for a pass rushing role, not a 4-3 OLB. Chad Greenway is one of the best players in the NFL that nobody talks about. He finally cracked the NFL’s Top 100 Players List this season, coming in at 70. Greenway is a great run defender and plays well in pass coverage. He has led the Vikings in tackles each of the past five seasons, and is coming off of a Pro Bowl season (for whatever its worth). Every defense needs that one guy who just does his job without getting much attention from the media and opposing offenses. Greenway is that guy for me.
FS – Earl Thomas – A good safety needs speed, range, and good instincts. If this were 2005, Ed Reed would be at the top of the list, but clearly he’s lost a step. Earl Thomas can have an Ed Reed like career if he keeps up his current level of play. Thomas is a playmaker who has a knack for being around the ball at all times. A player like Thomas can change the momentum of a drive on any given play.
SS – Eric Berry – Nicknamed “The Fifth Dimension” for his video game like skills, Eric Berry is the next great safety in the NFL. A torn ACL in 2011 set back his rapid ascension to the top of the NFL, but make no mistake, Berry is on his way. His in the box ability, combined with blazing speed and ball hawk abilities make him a great player. He also is a coach’s dream in the film room. Berry is made in a rare mold, a player who has the mental makeup of a star not just the physical skills. Now that he is completely removed from his ACL injury, expect Berry to be a household name at the year’s end.
CB – Darrelle Revis – Do I really need to say anything here? Best corner in the NFL, always is around the ball, great in run support, you know the deal. His ability to shut down one side of the field only makes the defensive line that much better.
CB – Charles Tillman – Peanut is a playmaker who can do it all. While he may be getting old, his level of play has remained the same. I’ve considered Asomugha and Richard Sherman here, but Tillman is a turnover machine. Watch how great he is at forcing fumbles here (sorry for the poor sound quality). If Revis is shadowing the top wideout, quarterbacks would have to force passes to peanut’s side, giving him more opportunities to disrupt plays.