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'13 Player Rankings, Defense: 50-41

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 on Friday, Aug. 30.

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 here: @ESPNNFL (NFL on ESPN) and on Facebook.

How did we rank the players?

We polled 63 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 highest number. (If players were tied, the player with three 10s was ranked higher than the player with two 10s. If the tied players had the same amount of the highest number -- each with two 10s -- we moved to the next number; three 9s beat two 9s).

Here is the full list of voters from ESPN.com, ESPN TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider (including Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus), ESPN Fantasy, ESPN Boston, ESPN Chicago, ESPN Dallas, ESPN New York and ESPN Stats & Information.

Goldson defended the most passes (10) when lined up as a safety in 2012. Eight of them were thrown less than 20 yards downfield, which also led all safeties.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

42

7.21*

Ed Reed | @TwentyER
Houston Texans | S | Age: 34 | NFL experience: 12th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; HOU D3

Reed has 16 interceptions since 2008 on throws at least 15 yards downfield, most in the league during that span. The Texans had two such interceptions last season, tied for fewest in the league.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

43

7.16

Johnathan Joseph | Team Twitter: @HoustonTexans
Houston Texans | CB | Age: 29 | NFL experience: 8th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; HOU D3

The Texans' defense allowed an 82.8 Total QBR on passes outside the painted numbers in 2010, third-worst in the league. Since signing Joseph in 2011, the Texans' defense has allowed a 58.0 QBR to that area of the field, the second-highest improvement in the league during that span.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

44

7.15*

Antonio Cromartie | Team Twitter: @nyjets
New York Jets | CB | Age: 29 | NFL experience: 8th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; NYJ D22

Since joining the Jets in 2010, Cromartie has intercepted or broken up 24 passes thrown outside the painted numbers, tied for fourth-most during that span.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

You don't often hear Antonio Cromartie's name in the discussion of top corners, but the numbers prove he's in the conversation.
-- Football OutsidersInsider

45

7.15*

B.J. Raji | @rajifreezer90
Green Bay Packers | DT | Age: 27 | NFL experience: 5th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; GB D10

Raji has an NFL-high 7.5 sacks when lined up as the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense over the last three seasons. The Packers' defense has allowed exactly one fewer yard per rush inside the tackles with Raji on the field over that span.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

46

7.13

Brandon Browner | @bbrowner27
Seattle Seahawks | CB | Age: 29 | NFL experience: 3rd year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; SEA D1

Despite missing four games in 2012, Browner has broken up the 10th-most passes thrown to wide receivers (17) during the last two seasons.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

47

7.10

Kevin Williams | Team Twitter: @Vikings
Minnesota Vikings | DT | Age: 33 | NFL experience: 11th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; MIN D19

Since the start of 2008, Williams has been on the field for 4,131 snaps, most in the league among defensive tackles.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

48

7.08

Derrick Johnson | @superdj56
Kansas City Chiefs | LB | Age: 30 | NFL experience: 9th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: LB7; overall 9

Since the start of 2010, Johnson has broken up 19 passes, tied with Brian Urlacher for most among linebackers during that span.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

49

7.04

Kam Chancellor | @Kam_Chancellor
Seattle Seahawks | S | Age: 25 | NFL experience: 4th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: DB16; overall 62

Chancellor has 189 tackles over the last two season, 10th-most in the league among defensive backs. The contract extension he signed in the offseason pays him $22 million in guaranteed money, the fifth-most in the NFL among safeties.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)

50

6.97

Lardarius Webb | @LWebb21
Baltimore Ravens | CB | Age: 27 | NFL experience: 5th year
ESPN Fantasy rank: NR; BAL D11

During the last three seasons, the Ravens' defense has allowed a 48.6 QBR on throws outside the painted numbers with Webb on the field compared to a 63.9 QBR to that location with Webb off the field. When Webb has been on the field, quarterbacks have a minus-2 touchdown-to-interception differential on sideline throws, compared to a plus-10 when he is off the field.
-- ESPN Stats & Information (@ESPNStatsInfo)