In this series, the Last Word on Pro Football department will be selecting the best players in each division by position. This specific article will address the top NFC South All-Division team. Now, it’s time for the defense. This imaginary defense will run a
There will be no rookies in this exercise. This is all based on last year’s production. And don’t worry, players from all four teams will make the list.
2019 NFC South All-Division Team: The Defense
Edge: Cameron Jordan
This is the most dominant force in the NFC South. Cameron Jordan wreaks havoc on opposing offenses week in and out. Over the last two seasons, Jordan has recorded 25 sacks, 17 passes defended, one interception, and three forced fumbles. Six times a year, NFC South offensive coordinators have nightmares about Cam Jordan ruining their plans, and he typically delivers.
Second Team: Vic Beasley Jr.
Defensive Tackle: Grady Jarrett
Nobody talks about this big guy enough. Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett remains a force and had his best season to date last season. The fifth-year pro recorded six sacks and forced three fumbles. That type of dominance in the interior earns you a spot on this team.
Second Team: Gerald McCoy
Defensive Tackle: Kawann Short
This is another name people may not know. Carolina Panthers’ Kawaan Short is a player whose stats don’t show his true impact. Short plus up running lanes and gives players like Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson free lanes to run though because Short occupies double teams. Calling Short an underrated player is an understatement.
Second Team: Ndamukong Suh
Edge: Jason Pierre-Paul
This wily veteran can still get it done on the edge. In an unexpected dominant campaign, Jason Pierre-Paul racked up 12.5 sacks, his most since 2014 when he was still with the Giants. This was the one bright spot of the poor Buccaneers defense. Pierre-Paul can still get to the quarterback despite being advanced in his age.
Second Team: Mario Addison
Linebacker: Luke Kuechly
Best linebacker in football hands down. Luke Kuechly is one of those once in a generation linebackers. Most people argue either Kuechly or Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks is the best, but no one is smarter and runs harder to the football than Luke. We haven’t seen a linebacker take over games single-handledly since Ray Lewis in his prime. Kuechly is certainly the best defensive player in the NFC South.
Second Team: Deion Jones
Linebacker: Demario Davis
Demario Davis‘ presence was felt last season in his first season with the Saints. Davis help engineered one of the best run defenses in the NFL, totaling 74 tackles and five sacks. Along with teammate Cameron Jordan, Demario held down the fort for the second level of the Saints defense and bringing them their most productive linebacker since Jonathan Vilma.
Second Team: Shaq Thompson
Linebacker: Lavonte David
Another stud in this imaginary team I am creating. Lavonte David‘s numbers are astounding, and every single year he has over 100 tackles in a season. David was another bright spot in an otherwise bleak defensive team that was one of the worst in NFL history. The eighth-year pro looks to help his Bucs bounce back after a disappointing 2018 season.
Second Team: Alex Anzalone
Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore
There are few cornerbacks in the NFL you can put on an island and they can hold their own. Marshon Lattimore is one of those players on that list. Lattimore’s smooth technique and excellent ball skills allow him to be one-on-one with Julio Jones and Mike Evans four times a year. Despite a slow start to the 2018 season with conditioning issues, Lattimore finished the season with two interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Lattimore is easily one of the top five defensive backs in the NFL.
Second Team: Donte Jackson
Cornerback: Desmond Trufant
Desmond Trufant is not the same dominant corner he was a few years ago. But in a rather young group of defensive backs within the division, it is hard to put one of the younger guys above him. Trufant can still cover at a high level and is not quite the ball hawk Lattimore is. But the Falcons still depend on him to cover the opposing team’s best receiver and competes at a high level. The Falcons don’t rely on him for turnovers, but with an injury-riddled secondary last year, Trufant had no choice but to step up.
Second Team: Eli Apple
Safety: Damontae Kazee
Demontae Kazee is an absolute force for the Falcons secondary. In just his second year in the league, Kazee recorded seven interceptions and stepped up huge for the Falcons’ defense. The Falcons saw Keanu Neal go down, their hard-hitting safety, so Kazee saw an opportunity and took full advantage. Expect Kazee to continue being a force next season.
Second Team: Eric Reid
Safety: Marcus Williams
Everyone knows Marcus Williams from the Minnesota Miracle and his missed tackle. But we’re past that. After a solid rookie year, Williams regressed a bit in his second year. Williams saw all his stats decrease, including tackles and interceptions. But of all the safeties that were healthy last season, Williams is the one that has shown signs of greatness. Now, consistency will play a huge factor in his success going forward.
Second Team: Vonn Bell
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