Yesterday was all about offense and today is now defense. There is a reason teams are selecting defensive line and corners earlier on in the draft, with a offense friendly league you need shut down players on defense to win games. Again this list is made up of active players 30 and older who make the biggest impact.
1)Kyle Williams, 32, Buffalo Bills
“Rex Ryan must be licking his chops using Big Kyle and 3-4 DE, where he’ll flourish as he did in 2013.”-Antonio D’ Arcangelis(Fantasy Football Articles) Williams is one of the best in the league and in a great spot to be the leader of a top 5 defense this year. With Rex coming into town the defense might actually get even better than it was before(if possible).There is no doubt to the skill of Williams and the Bills defense and with Tom Brady possibly serving his full 4 game suspension they could very well be in the mix for the division crown. If the Bills get good quarterback play this could be a team to watch this year and maybe end the NFL’s longest active streak of not making the playoffs.
2) Cameron Wake, 33, Miami Dolphins
Coming off an impressive 11.5 sack and 3 forced fumbles season Wake keeps proving that he’s one of the best. He may not be as fast as he was coming into this league but he has a knack for getting after the quarterback and thats what puts him on this list. The Dolphins are another team thats starting to get better and all of a sudden the AFC East may be an exciting division to watch this season.
Honorable Mention: R. Ninkovich, D. Ware, J. Tuck
1) Paul Posluszny, 30, Jacksonville Jaguars
PP came from linebacker U and has been around this league for awhile and has made a name for himself. On one of the worst teams in the NFL his defense gets a lot more playing time on the field than wanted but he’s done everything he can to help his team win games. Since being with the Jags he has over 100 tackles each season except when getting injured. Paul is one of the few players in this league who can reach 150 tackles and chances are this next season that he does.
2) Derrick Johnson, 32, Kansas City Chiefs
Johnson had his 2014 campaign robbed from him when he got injured at the beginning of last year, however sources have said he looks sharp and will be good to game come week 1. In 2013 he had 95 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions and looked great over there in Arrowhead. Along with others on this list Johnson may not quite be what he was coming into the league however he is still one of the best at his position even being 32 years old. Heading into 2015 the AFC West could be up for grabs with Manning turning 39 and a new coach and several key players leaving including more than 50 percent of the line from 2014. This might give Johnson a chance to get Manning on the ground and help his team aim for a division crown.
Honorable Mention: K. Dansby, AJ Hawk, T. Hali
1) D. Revis, 30, New York JetsBeing the cornerstone of the Super Bowl champion Patriots secondary last season Revis did what he seems to do year in and year out. Talk trash, back it up, win games. Now after landing back as a Jet for the second time only time will tell if Revis Island is still the same. He won’t have the same help that he did while up north in New England and by that I’m not saying the Jets defense is bad, but I’m saying he will be on the field possibly twice as much as last year with Geno being his quarterback and not Tom Brady. Revis had 14 pass breakups last season along with 41 tackles and 2 interceptions which is a very good season. Lets hope that Revis lets his game do his talking and see if he can bring leadership to that locker room and take his team to the next level, or at least to a .500 season.
2) Brent Grimes, 31, Miami Dolphins
Since landing in Miami at the beginning of 2013 Grimes has shown that he’s a shutdown corner in this league. He is the leader of the Dolphins secondary and last year had 57 tackles and 13 pass deflections. Last year Grimes had one of the top plays of the year when he had a one handed interception in the end zone and he is on record saying he believes it was the top play of the year over OBJ one handed touchdown against the Cowboys. They say defense wins championships and Grimes and Miami are headed in the right direction.
Honorable Mention: T. Newman, W. Gay
1) Eric Weddle, 30, San Diego Chargers
Last season Weddle was the rock of the Chargers defense and finished 6th in tackles amongst all players along with 8 pass deflections and 1 interception according to NFL.com player stats.He plays with the best of them, is a leader, and a fan favorite and is just a hustle guy which is what every team wants. Not only is he on the over-30 team but he’s a top 5 safety in the league if not higher. Phillip Rivers and Eric Weddle are the faces of this San Diego franchise and are both in contract years and neither have a deal coming into OTA’s and while Rivers publicly states he won’t bother till the season is over, Weddle has been very outspoken about the Chargers not respecting him and thinks that he is not in the teams long term plans. Only time will tell what can happen here, but with Los Angeles creeping ever so close for this team the faces and location of this franchise could look very different come next offseason.
2) Antrel Rolle, 32, Chicago Bears
Freshly landed in Chicago Rolle hopes to continue his success there as he did while in New York. 87 tackles and 3 interceptions last year landed him as one of the better safeties in the league. Rolle doesn’t stand out with lightning fast speed or aggressive coverage but his game is well rounded as he plays excellent pass coverage, and solid run support and ran the teams defensive backfield last year quite successfully. Now on the back half of his career Rolle hopes to play a significant role in getting the Bears defense back to what it used to be.
*Stats provided by: Pro Football Focus, NFL.com*