NFL Quarter Pole: All-NFL Team

10 of 15

Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) celebrates after sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (not pictured) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

4-3 Defensive Line

Defensive End: Ziggy Ansah, Carlos Dunlap

Defensive Tackle: Geno Atkins, Aaron Donald

Sep 20, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) looks on before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated San Diego 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Ziggy Ansah and Carlos Dunlap have quietly become the NFL’s best edge-rushing 4-3 ends. Ansah, the Detroit Lions’ right end, has an impressive four sacks, three stuffs and a forced fumble on the season, while Dunlap has 3.5 sacks and three stuffs in the run game at left end in Cincinnati. These two guys have both consistently pressured opposing quarterbacks, and Ansah has become the best player on Detroit’s line after the departure of Ndamukong Suh.

Geno Atkins has finally re-emerged as a dominant interior player after dealing with and recovering from the impact of his 2013 ACL injury for over a year. Atkins has 12 tackles, three sacks, three stuffs and a forced fumble on the season, but his presence on the Bengals’ defensive line is much greater than his numbers on the stat sheet can possibly indicate. Aaron Donald is essentially the same player as Geno Atkins; he’s an undersized defensive tackle who has quickly become a dominant pass-rushing force. Like Atkins, Donald is also strong against the run. Donald has recorded 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks; he has also recorded six stuffs in the run game.


Defensive End: Everson Griffen, Robert Quinn

Defensive Tackle: Kawann Short, Gerald McCoy