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'14 Player Rankings, Defense: 80-71

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.

Last season, the Raiders recorded a sack on 7.0 percent of pass attempts with Houston on the field compared with 4.5 percent of attempts with Houston on the sideline.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

79

6.55*

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie | Team Twitter: @Giants
New York Giants | CB | Age: 28 | NFL experience: 7th year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, NYG D17

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie led the Broncos with 13 passes either broken up or intercepted last season. He was the only Broncos defender with multiple ones last postseason.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

78

6.55*

Terrance Knighton | @MrKnighton2u
Denver Broncos | DT | Age: 28 | NFL experience: 6th year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, DEN D24

Broncos opponents averaged 3.3 yards on 274 rushes with Terrence Knighton on field last season. With Knighton off field, opponents averaged 5.1 yards on 143 rushes against the Broncos.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

77

6.55*

Lawrence Timmons | @lawrencetimmons
Pittsburgh Steelers | LB | Age: 28 | NFL experience: 8th year
2013 #NFLRank: 62
ESPN Fantasy rank: LB16, overall 34

Last season, Timmons recorded multiple sacks and interceptions for the third time in his past four seasons. Since 2010, Timmons is the only player with at least 10 sacks and eight interceptions.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

76

6.55*

Trent Cole | @Pro_Hunt58
Philadelphia Eagles | LB | Age: 31 | NFL experience: 10th year
2013 #NFLRank: 78
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, PHI D18

With eight more sacks last season, Cole moved into second place on the Eagles all-time sack list with 79, trailing only Reggie White (124). Last season, the Eagles recorded a sack on 6 percent of pass attempts with Cole on the field compared with 3 percent of snaps with Cole on the bench.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

75

6.57

Lardarius Webb | @LWebb21
Baltimore Ravens | CB | Age: 28 | NFL experience: 6th year
2013 #NFLRank: 50
ESPN Fantasy rank: DB34, BAL D119

Last season, Webb led the league with 18 passes defended, the most in a season by a Raven in franchise history. Since 2010, Webb is third in the NFL in pass breakups per game.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

74

6.64

Ahmad Brooks | @AhmadBrooks55
San Francisco 49ers | LB | Age: 30 | NFL experience: 9th year
2013 #NFLRank: 56
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, SF D3

Brooks recorded a postseason-best 4.5 sacks last year, the most in a postseason since 2010 (Terrell Suggs, five). During the regular season, Brooks also set a career high with 8.5 sacks.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

73

6.65*

Donte Whitner | @DonteWhitner
Cleveland Browns | SS | Age: 29 | NFL experience: 9th year
2013 #NFLRank: 64
ESPN Fantasy rank: DB37, overall 126

Whitner is one of 11 safeties with an interception in each of the past five seasons. He played 96.2 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps in the previous two years, the third-highest percentage on the team.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

72

6.65*

Karlos Dansby | @Browns
Cleveland Browns | LB| Age: 32 | NFL experience: 11th year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: LB9, overall 12

Last season, Dansby led the league with 24.5 disrupted dropbacks (sacks + interceptions + passes defended + batted balls), the most by a linebacker in a season since 2009. Over the past 10 years, Dansby leads all linebackers with 30 pass breakups.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

71

6.65*

Eric Reid | @E_Reid35
San Francisco 49ers | S | Age: 22| NFL experience: 2nd year
2013 #NFLRank: NR
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR, SF D3

Eric Reid intercepted four passes in 2013, second-most among rookies last season.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)