Defense Wins championships, so I need to get this one right huh? OK, I struggled with this but I think I got the best guys on our roster.
We have so many good defensive ends coming into this year. Dunlap, Johnson, Gilberry, Geathers, and Hunt are all locks to make the squad.
On inside at defensive tackle, it wasn’t hard to come up with the guys either. Atkins, Peko, Still, and Thompson should all be able to make the team as there is no one behind them that even requires consideration.
Linebacker was much tougher to come up with who starts, who sits, and who stays. I believe the best option right now is to actually keep Mauluga at the Middle linebacker spot. I know some of you are wanting Burfict to start in the middle, but hold on a second and let me explain. Burfict did a wonderful job at the Will spot last year and I only see him getting better. At some point in the season that could change if Emmanuel Lamur keeps progressing and getting better. Rey Mauluga needs to step up and just be better. He has been horrible in open field tackles and takes horrible angles to the ball. He needs to also have a short memory and not dwell on mistakes. He is still a young man and the game may be too much for him to handle. In my opinion this could be his last chance to prove he deserve to be the leader of this team.
James Harrison will start at strong side linebacker and will at least bring some attitude to the defense. I’m not really worried if he is 36 years old because with the progression of the game the SLB doesn’t stay on the field that much do to the multiple receiver sets we see so much in the NFL. He will definitely be a staunch run defender and will be able to coach up our younger guys. Emmanuel Lamur is a very intriguing piece to me. I see him and Burfict playing most of the passing down nickel linebacker spots. He can cover tight ends with ease; he just needs to work on his anticipation when the ball is coming his way. Sean Porter will add depth and will probably play most of his downs on special teams along with Dontay “Migraine” Moch.
Not much to say about our cornerbacks. They will continue to play disciplined pass and run support with the exception of a few bone head plays that Terrence Newman will bring every now and then. Dre’ Kirkpatrick will finally be healthy and ready to break into the starting line-up. Adam Jones should still be able to be an effective cover corner if he can stay on the field. Brandon Ghee was finally showing he could be and effective weapon last year before he went down with an injury. I think that this will finally be the year that he shows us why we selected him in the 3rd round in 2010. Watch out for Shawn Prater too.
Safety….I’m kind of scared that I actually put Taylor Mays in the starting lineup. I’m pretty sure we will see Cris Crocker back in training camp or another veteran who is still on the market (Kerry Rhodes??) We did pick up Shawn Williams this year out of Georgia but I see him more as a free safety than strong safety. Reggie Nelson is still the only viable option on the back end so if he goes down to injury, be afraid, be very afraid.
POS: 1st Team 2nd Team 3Rd Team
LDE: Carlos Dunlap Robert Geathers Margus Hunt
DT: Geno Atkins Devon Still Margus Hunt
NT: Damata Peko Brandon Thompson
RDE: Michael Johnson Wallace Gilberry
SLB: James Harrison Dontay Moch
MLB: Rey Mauluga Vontaze Burfict
WLB: Vontaze Burfict Emmanuel Lamur Sean Porter
LCB: Terrence Newman Adam Jones Brandon Ghee
RCB: Leon Hall Dre’ Kirkpatrick Shawn Prater
FS: Reggie Nelson George Iloka
SS: Taylor Mays Shawn Williams
K: Mike Nugent
P: Kevin Huber
KR: Brandon Tate Giovanni Bernard
PR: Adam Jones Brandon Tate
LS: Bryce Davis