- Dan Graziano, ESPN New York Giants reporter
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The latest edition of the NFL Power Rankings is up, as I and my seven new colleagues ranked the best defensive players in the league. You'll see if you click that link that DeMarcus Ware is the only NFC East player on the list, ranking No. 2 behind unanimous No. 1 Troy Polamalu. No other player from the division received even one top-10 vote from the panel.
But we don't care whether they play better defense in other divisions than they do in our little overpopulated corner of the NFL world, do we? We do our own poll here, and you guys have been weighing in over the past few days with your picks for the top defensive players in the NFC East. I have been dutifully compiling your opinions and your votes, and here is your list:
1. DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2. Justin Tuck, Giants
3. Trent Cole, Eagles
4. Asante Samuel, Eagles
5. Brian Orakpo, Redskins
6. London Fletcher, Redskins
7. Osi Umenyiora, Giants
8. LaRon Landry, Redskins
9. Jay Ratliff, Cowboys
10. Antrel Rolle, Giants
Not a bad list, I don't think, although it does make you wonder why the Redskins didn't have a better year.
Anyway, a couple of notes on the (very informal) voting:
A couple of people said they wanted to vote for Quintin Mikell but didn't because they felt like he's a sure thing to be gone from the Eagles and is therefore not technically "in the division." I believe Mikell would have fared better (say, seventh or eighth?) if he'd been under contract.
There were 11 players who got votes but didn't crack the top 10. In order, they were Barry Cofield, Albert Haynesworth, Mikell, Corey Webster, DeAngelo Hall, Bradie James, Terrell Thomas, Kenny Phillips, O.J. Atogwe, Aaron Ross and Nate Allen.
It is amazing that Haynesworth barely gets mentioned. His behavior over the past year really has destroyed public opinion of him. I still think he's a guy who gets back on this list pretty quickly if he gets somewhere (such as Philly) where he's happy and motivated. But there's no denying that, in the wake of his 2010 season, he doesn't belong on it now.
The Tuck/Cole vote for the No. 2 spot was very close, as was the Orakpo/Fletcher/Umenyiora race for that No. 5 spot. Fletcher is one of those guys people really want to like. They like how hard he plays, how he leads, how he carries himself, etc. Might be the most overall admired player on this list, on and off the field, based on the comments I received.
Debate away, folks, and enjoy. I'll be seeking your help later on my list for next week's Power Rankings, which will be non-quarterback offensive players. And this will be players who are good at offense, not players who offend you the most. A key distinction, I know, although the latter list might be more fun.
The latest edition of the NFL Power Rankings is up, as I and my seven new colleagues ranked the best defensive players in the league. You'll see if you click that link that DeMarcus Ware is the only NFC East player on the list, ranking No.