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Thursday, July 19, 2012
NFC South top 25: No. 2

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

We continue our series of my projected top 25 players in the NFC South for the 2012 season with No. 2:

Carl Nicks, guard, Tampa Bay

What he did in 2011: Nicks played for the New Orleans Saints, who set all sorts of offensive records. He was an All-Pro selection and many scouts say he became the NFL’s best guard last year. Nicks signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in the offseason.

Why he’s No. 2 in 2012: I know that putting a guard at No. 2 on this list isn’t sexy. But I feel very strongly he belongs in this spot.  This guy is the dominant player at his position and he is only 27. In Tampa Bay, he’ll be paired with Davin Joseph, who made the Pro Bowl last season. When Nicks was in New Orleans, he and Jahri Evans were universally recognized as the NFL’s best guard tandem. With Nicks and Joseph together, that title now could move to Tampa Bay. Nicks is the best player in the league at his position. You can't definitively say that about any other player in the division, not even the guy that will be unveiled as No. 1 on Friday.