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'14 Player Rankings, Defense: 60-51

ESPN.com is ranking NFL players and counting them down (follow on Twitter @ESPNNFL) from No. 100 to No. 1 on offense and on defense, 10 per day for 10 days. The top 10 on both sides of the ball will be revealed Friday, Aug. 29.

What is #NFLRank?

#NFLRank is the Twitter hashtag to use if you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along. You can also follow along @ESPNNFL and on Facebook.

How did we rank the players?

We polled 85 experts to rate each player on a 0-to-10 scale, with 10 being the best regardless of position in the NFL. Ties, as denoted by an asterisk, were broken by determining which player had more ballots with the higher number (if players are tied, the player with three 10s is ranked higher than the player with two 10s; if the tied players had the same amount of highest numbers -- each with two 10s -- we moved to the next number: three 9s beats two 9s).

Here is the full list of voters from ESPN.com, ESPN TV, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider (including Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus), ESPN fantasy, ESPN locals and ESPN Stats & Information.

Grimes had 13 pass breakups last season, tied for the sixth most in the NFL. Grimes' four interceptions in 2013 were tied for the most by a Dolphins player in the past five seasons.

-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

59

6.88

T.J. Ward | @BossWard43
Denver Broncos | SS | Age: 27 | NFL experience: 5th year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: DB2, overall 24

Last season, Ward led all defensive backs with 11 tackles for loss. Ward also led all strong safeties last season with 112 total tackles. Ward became the first Browns safety to earn a Pro Bowl selection since 1996 (Eric Turner).
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

58

6.95

Tyrann Mathieu | @Mathieu_Era
Arizona Cardinals | FS | Age: 22 | NFL experience: 2nd year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: DB21, overall 81

Last season, the Cardinals held opponents to 3.3 yards per rush with Mathieu on the field, which would have been the lowest average in the league. Without Mathieu, the Cardinals allowed 4.3 yards per rush.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

57 

6.96

Cliff Avril | @cliffavril
Seattle Seahawks | DE | Age: 28 | NFL experience: 7th year
2013 #NFLRank: 74
ESPN Fantasy rank: DL30, overall 100

In his first season in Seattle, Avril was one of two defensive ends with at least five sacks and five forced fumbles last season (Robert Quinn). Including the postseason, the only player with more forced fumbles over the past three seasons than Avril (15) is Charles Tillman (17).
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

56

7.01

Lance Briggs | @LanceBriggs
Chicago Bears | LB | Age: 33 | NFL experience: 12th year
2013 #NFLRank: 27
ESPN Fantasy rank: LB37, overall 83

Briggs has been to seven Pro Bowls in his career. The only Bears defenders with more Pro Bowl nods since the merger are Mike Singletary (10) and Brian Urlacher (eight).
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

55

7.02

Kenny Vaccaro | @KennyVaccaro4
New Orleans Saints | SS | Age: 23 | NFL experience: 2nd year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: DB12, overall 52

Vaccaro had 79 tackles last season, the second most among all rookie safeties. His six pass breakups in 2013 were tied for the ninth most among rookies.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

54

7.04

Alterraun Verner | @Alvern_1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | CB | Age: 25 | NFL experience: 5th year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, TB D11

Last season, Verner defended or intercepted 22 passes, the most in the league and tied with Richard Sherman for the most in a season since 2010. Verner finished the 2013 season with the highest disrupted dropback (sacks + interceptions + passes defended + batted balls) percentage in the league.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

53

7.05*

Elvis Dumervil | @EKD92
Baltimore Ravens | LB | Age: 30 | NFL experience: 9th year
2013 #NFLRank: 29
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, BAL D14

Since he entered the league in 2006, Dumervil has at least five sacks in each season he played (missed 2010 due to injury). The only other players to do so during that span are Jared Allen, Robert Mathis and DeMarcus Ware.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

52

7.05*

Calais Campbell | @Campbell93
Arizona Cardinals | LB | Age: 27 | NFL experience: 7th year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: DL11, overall 32

Campbell is one of three defensive linemen with at least 20 sacks and 20 passes defended in the past five seasons (J.J. Watt, Kevin Williams).
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

51

7.12*

Charles Johnson | @randywattson
Carolina Panthers | DE | Age: 28 | NFL experience: 8th year
2013 #NFLRank: 49
ESPN Fantasy rank: DL17, overall 53

In 2013, Johnson recorded 11 sacks for the third time in his past four seasons. Since 2010, the only other players with at least nine sacks in each season are John Abraham, Jared Allen and Tamba Hali.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)