Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hugh Green Career Stats

By John Turney

Hugh Green was a highly touted college defensive end and was moved to linebacker in the NFL. He wasn't, in our view, what was expected, a player who was heavy on pass rush and perhaps lacking in coverage. He was not as big as some of the rushbackers and had good mobility and the Buccaneers used him both as a rusher, but plenty in coverage.

As a rookie, in 1981 he was a Pro Bowl alternate and in 1982 he was a consensus All-Pro. The next season, 1983 he was a First-team All-Pro selection by Sporting News. However, he was injured in 1984 and in 1985 traded to the Dolphins who thought he'd be a key piece in improving a defense that could help out Dan Marino and a terrific offense. He played well with the Dolphins in 1985 but it didn't get them over the hump defensively.

The injury bug hit in 1986 and 1987 and when he came back, he was never the player he was from 1981-83.

Here are his career stats, tackle data comes from NFL playbooks

Jerry Robinson Career Stats

By John Turney
Another of the fine complete linebackers of the 1980s era was Jerry Robinson but it seemed his career was derailed when he was asked to play inside linebacker.

He was a young, dynamic player from 1979-82 as an outside linebacker in the Eagles 3-4 defense, but in 1983 he was moved to inside backer in that same scheme. He performed well in his new role  but at 6-2, 224 pounds, he was not the ideal fit for that scheme at from a physical standpoint.

As an outside backer he was getting a few sacks, knocking down passes, picking up fumbles and returning them. Inside he made tackles with the Eagles, but still, it seemed some of big plays that he made earlier in his career were missing.

He went to the Raiders in 1985 and bounced from inside to outside linebacker, in fact, in 1987 he started 6 games at each. By 1988 he was usually not on the field on passing downs, which was his forte, but time apparently caught up.

In 1980 Robinson was an All-Pro on Paul Zimmerman's Sports Illustrated team and in 1981 he was All-Pro again, but not a consensus pick. In 1983 he was a Second-team All-Pro at his new inside linebacker position as he recorded 163 tackles and deflected 10 passes.

It would have been very interesting to see what he might have done as an outside linebacker his whole career, perhaps it would have looked more like Seth Joyner or a player with that skill set, which was the same as Robinson's.

Here are his career stats, with the tackles coming from NFL Gamebooks.

Rod Martin Career Stats

By John Turney

Whenever John Madden announced a television game that involved the Raiders he always seemed to relate the story of how he drafted Rod Martin in the 12th round in 1977. He called his friend, John Robinson then the head coach of the USC Trojans, and asked if there were any good players that may have been overlooked. Robinson said Rod Martin is better than anyone taken in the last few rounds. Madden took his advice and Martin became a Raider. And he became a great one, too.

Martin was a right-side outside linebacker for the Raiders and his skills included playing the run, good coverage, and the ability to blitz well, similar to others we've recently featured here on Pro Football Journal.

He really should have been the Super Bowl MVP in 1980 when he intercepted three Ron Jaworski passes, but that's a post for another day.

In 1981 he was a Second-team All-Pro by NEA (considered the "player's" All-Pro team) and in 1982 he was a First-team All-Pro by the NEA. In 1983 he was voted the UPI AFC Defensive Player of the Year and was named to several All-Pro teams including the NEA and Sporting News.

In 1984 he was a consensus All-Pro and in 1985 he was a Second-team All-AFC selection and an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

He scored six defensive touchdowns and two safeties and had 56.5 sacks.

Here are his defensive stats, coming from the NFL Gamebooks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Greg Lloyd Career Stats

By John Turney

Another of the fine outside linebackers of the late-1980s and 1990s was Greg Lloyd. Certainly, he was a rushbacker (a LB who rushes most of the time) in base defense, but in big portions of his career, starting in 1993, he was the middle linebacker in the dime defense and one of the two linebackers in the nickel. 

In 1991 and 1992 he'd play left defensive end in passing situations after not usually being in the Steelers defensive sub packages before that.

Lloyd was a consensus All-Pro in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

In 1991 he was an All-Pro on the Buffalo News team, selected by Larry Felser. He was also a Pro Bowler that season and in 1992 as well.

Here are his career stats and as always (when possible) the tackles are from NFL Gamebooks.
He likely had a couple more forced fumbles that were tallied by the Steelers coaches who had the benefit of video that the Gamebook stat keepers missed. But that is another can or worms we will address at some point: Forced fumbles.

Cornelius Bennett Career Stats

By John Turney

In the Bills one-gap 3-4 scheme Cornelius Bennett was, for all intents and purposes, the left defensive end in that defense. Most of the time was on the left side—though in a two-point stance—he was committed to a gap and that is one of the hallmarks of a one-gap 3-4. The so-called defensive end on his side was more akin to a tackle than end. But this is the nature of a hybrid defense what to call players (by technique? by traditional position name?), especially those who played all three downs. 

In a two-gap 3-4 defense, all three defensive linemen have responsibility for two games, one if the play comes to their side, a different one if the play is away. In that scheme, the linebackers flow to the ball, in the one-gap 3-4 they have a responsibility to maintain gap integrity.

Regardless, when the Bills went nickel or dime defense he was the usually left end, with his hand on the ground and rushed the passer, most of the time, anyway. 

However, it was not a single look defense and they could switch things around and have the opposite OLBer Darryl Talley rush and Bennett could cover, which he did very well. A film study would have to be done to see what the percentages were, but if reviewing a few games we'd guess that Bennett was rushing more than 50% to 60% of the time in passing situations and Talley maybe 30-40%, with other backers making up any differences.

His role changed in the early-to-mid-1990s, playing inside linebacker and then left linebacker in 4-3 defenses with his new teams, the Falcons and the Bills. He was simply a good football player with physical qualities that allowed him the ability to play multiple roles.

Bennett's All-Pro resume consisted of him being a consensus All-Pro in 1988 and a Second-team All-AFC selection in 1989. In 1990 he was First-team All-AFC and in 1991 he was a First-team All-Pro, though not a consensus selection. In 1992 he was a First-team All-Pro again.

In 1993 he was a Football News All-AFC selection and in 1994 he was a Second-team All-AFC pick meaning he had post-season honors every year from 1988 through 1994.

Additionally, Bennett was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1988 and 1991.

1988 All-Pro, Pro Bowl, All-AFC
1989 Second-team All-AFC
1990 Pro Bowl, All-AFC
1991 All-Pro, Pro Bowl, All-AFC
1992 All-Pro, Pro Bowl
1993 Pro Bowl, All-AFC (FN)
1994 Second-team All-AFC

Here are his career stats, again with the tackle numbers coming from NFL Gamebooks—
He had 83 stuffs to go with 71.5 sacks and had 32 forced fumbles and recovered 27 fumbles. He scored two defensive touchdowns (one INT and one FR) and started 204 of the 206 games he played and was very durable, missing only six games due to injury.

Bennett was a complete linebacker who excelled at more than one role—he could rush and get to the quarterback when asked and could cover as well and in base defenses, he could hold up his side and play the run well. He moved along the line, rushing from the outside, or dogging from an inside or stacked position. 

It's too bad he does not often get mentioned with the complete linebacker-types or the rushbacker types, but that is what versatility will do sometimes—confuse even the experts as to what you were and leave you out of some discussions and we think that is why he's never gotten much support for the Hall of Fame (He's yet to be a finalist). 

Hopefully, that will change in the near future, he was a helluva player.

Roman Phifer Career Stats

By John Turney
When lists are compiled for the best players never to play in a Pro Bowl or to never garner post-season honors like All-Pro or All-AFC/NFC Roman Phifer should be on them.

He had a fine career, ended with three Super Bowl rings, but he never was named to an All-Pro team or even an All-Conference team. He was a Pro Bowl alternate in 1995 and possibly with the Patriots, but the Pats usually didn't release the names of their alternates.

Phifer was a coverage linebacker who was not asked to blitz much early in his career. He was more valuable in coverage and in an era of the Run and Shoot offenses and others that employed 4- and 5-receivers he was the lone linebacker in the Rams dime package. And when the Rams used their version of the 46 he was one of the linebackers of the line of scrimmage, that is until 1997-1998.

Those seasons he was usually on the outside, playing essentially the rush end position on the right side, moreso in 1998 than 1997, but with the arrival of Bud Carson and a new scheme his role changed. He spent a couple of seasons with the Jets and in 2001 signed with the Patriots who found ways to use his versatility, still able to cover well and able to blitz and be effective at it when he did.

Here are his career statistics. Gamebooks are the source for the tackles.

Carl Banks Career Statistics

By John Turney

One more of the 1980s/90s complete linebackers we are featuring today is Carl Banks. He is a bit different in that he spent most of his time in a 3-4 defense. He was on the opposite side of the defense to Lawrence Taylor throughout his career, so he didn't need to rush much, but when he did, he was effective, with 6.5 sacks in 1986 and 9.0 sacks in 1987.

He got his first selection to an All-Pro team in 1986 when USA Today's Gordon Forbes chose him as one of the linebackers on his team, reflecting that he was a big part of the Giants defense in his first season as a starter.

In 1987 he was a consensus All-Pro. In 1988 he was an honorable mention, likely getting a vote or two in the AP poll. In 1989, when he had 7 fumbles forced he was named All-Pro by the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon. That was the last time he was mentioned in the "Alls". He was a solid player the rest of his career, doing the tough things a strong-side linebacker has to do. In 1994 he joined Bill Belichick in Cleveland.

Here are his statistics, the tackle totals come from NFL Gamebooks.

Wilber Marshall Career Statistics

By John Turney
Another of the 1980s complete linebackers we are featuring today is Wilber Marshall. He began with the Bears and was a key player in the Buddy Ryan defenses and also starred after Ryan left.

He was signed by the Redskins as a free agent and played well there, as well, though it was reported there was some differences in the schemes that took Marshall some time to adjust to. In 1991 he moved from the right linebacker (Buck in the Richie Petitbon terminology) to the left linebacker (Stub) and had two fabulous seasons. He rejoined Buddy Ryan in 1993 with the Oilers and again in 1994 with the Cardinals as Ryan installed the 46 defense in those two places. He finished with the Jets in 1995.

His honors were as follows: He was a consensus All-Pro in 1986 and then in 1987 he made the Gannett News Service All-Pro team which was selected by writer Joel Buchsbaum, a writer and researcher we revere. In 1991 Marshall was a consensus Second-team All-Pro by the "major" teams but Gordon Forbes of USA Today placed him on that paper's All-Pro team.

In 1992 Marshall was again a consensus All-Pro—making the vast majority of teams that were selected.

Here are his career statistics, the source for tackles is NFL Gamebooks.

Marshall didn't get many accolades after his 1990 season but that year he had a career-high 12 stuffs and five sacks—17 plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Seth Joyner Career Statistics

By John Turney
Seth Joyner was one of the complete linebackers of his era, spending most of his time as a left linebacker in a 4-3 defense, though it was a Buddy Ryan defense, meaning he plays plenty in a 46 defense and due to his coverage skills was often the only linebacker in the game if the Eagels went to a dime defense. He could also blitz effectively as well.

His post-season honors spanned from 1990 through 1996. In 1990 he was named to Paul Zimmerman's Sports Illustrated All-Pro team. The following year Zim named Joyner as the NFL Player of the Year, and most of the other organizations and All-Pro "choosers" put Joyner on their teams as he was a consensus All-Pro.

In 1992 the Buffalo News and Ft. Worth Star-Telegram named him to their All-Pro teams and the next season it was the PFWA who named him All-Pro. Additionally, in 1993 the Milwaukee Journal (selected by staff writer Bob McGinn with input from various NFL personnel).

In 1994 and 1996 he was a UPI Second-team All-NFC selection and the season between, 1995, he was a Pro Bowl alternate.

We list all the teams for completeness, though we think the proper way to handle All-Pro teams is to use Total Football:  The Official Encylopedia of the NFL as the definitive and authoritative source for All-Pro teams. We also list the esoteric teams because they are often selected by fine writers, many of whom were or are on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

Here are his career stats, as per the NFL Gamebooks.
 As can be seen, he was credited with quite a few passes defensed, one of the higher totals we've seen for linebackers and also had 52 sacks and 24 interceptions and 28 forced fumbles. We think 1991 was his best season, but there were others that were almost the same, at least statistically.

Darryl Talley Career Statistics

By John Turney

Spiderman Oil Painting by Michael Biondo - Portrait of Darryl Talley

Darryl Talley spent his rookie season as a pass rusher in nickel/dime situations and then secured a starting spot in 1984. He shared time in 1985 and in 1986, again was the starter at strong backer for the Bills. In 1987 he moved to the right side, usually lining up in Bruce Smith's hip pocket as it were.

He only garnered honors in 1990 and 1993 when he was All-Pro according to Sporting News.  In 1989 he was All-AFC by his hometown paper the Buffalo News. In 1990 he was a picked to the All-Pro teams of Paul Zimmerman, Peter King, and Gordon Forbes.

In 1991, perhaps his best season he was not on anyone's All-Pro team but he did play in his second consecutive Pro Bowl. The following season he was again an All-Pro choice of Gordon Forbes (USA Today). 

In 1993, in addition to the Sporting News he was an All-Pro pick by Don Pierson (Chicago Tribune) and Dave Goldberg of the AP and All-AFC (Pro Football Weekly). In 1994 he was an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

So, his "All" honors were from 1989-94, a six-year peak, if you will. Talley played in an era where lots of the post-season "Alls" went to rushbackers like Lawrence Taylor and Andre Tippett and Derrick Thomas. Talley could blitz, but he could also cover backs in man coverage or drop and take a zone and defend it well, he was a complete linebacker.

Here are his career stats, as per the NFL Gamebooks.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Rams Drop Nose Tackle on Final Play Versus Bucs

By John Turney

On the final play of the Rams at Buccaneers game last Sunday the Rams dropped shade/nose tackle Michael Brockers and rushed only three players.

Brockers is 6-5 and maybe 305 pounds and he took the third receiver essentially man-to-man to the goal line on the play in question and in doing so made the likely easiest throw impossible for Jameis Winston near impossible.

Winston admitted he should have thrown the ball at the 15-yard line, but it's clear no one is open as Brockers and the other defenders had good coverage on the four Bucs receivers in the pattern.

Winston drifted across the line of scrimmage and was tackled by defensive end Robert Quinn as time expired
Fair Use Claim. Credit: NFL Replay

This spy drop by Brockers is not unusual in Gregg Williams's scheme, but in this case it paid high dividends in that it took away one option for Winston. Had Brockers rushed the passer he may have been able to affect the play behind the line of scrimmage, perhaps forcing a throw or not allowing Winston to run the ball for a 10-yard game, but he trailed the the Bucs #3 receiver to the top side to the 2-yard line and prevented a throw then reversed his direction and stayed with that receiver.

Now, this was not a zone blitz where a replacement rusher gave chase to Winston while Brockers covered a short zone for an instant. He had the #3 receiver man-to-man for, essentially. He had the #3 receiver to just past the goal line before that receiver went into the endzone on what was likely his scramble rules and the other deeper defenders picked him up. There may not be another nose tackle in the NFL that could do what Brockers did.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Philadelphia Eagles All Career-Year Team

By John Turney

At Pro Football Journal we are trying to pick the best individual seasons in the history of each franchise, which we will continue today with the Eagles. By "Career-year" we mean the best performances at each position, with the following rule: Only one season per player per position. For example, here, we cannot pick Reggie White’s best two seasons and use all DE slots.

Here is the team, First-teams on left, Second-teams on right:
Norm Van Brocklin, 1960, gets the top spot and Tommy Thompson, 1948, takes the Second-team spot. They were both Champs and Van Brocklin was the MVP.

For honorable mentions, we picked Sonny Jurgensen, 1961, Roman Gabriel, 1973, Ron Jaworski, 1980, Randall Cunningham, 1990, Donovan McNabb, 2004, and Michael Vick, 2010. All of those players were some sort of Player of the Year or All-Pro. We also need to add Nick Foles, 2013, as a statistically great season. There were a few other "stat seasons" we left off, though they were good, they didn't rise to the level of the All-Pro/Player of the Year level of some of the ones we picked.

The modern-type fullback is Kevin Turner, 1997, First-team and Leonard Weaver, 2009, the Second-teamer. The two honorable mentions are Jon Ritchie, 2003, and Owen Schmitt, 2010.

Steve Van Buren, 1949, and LeSean McCoy, 2013, were easy choices as the top two running backs. Van Buren is one of the all-time greats who does not seem to get his due and Shady McCoy's 2013 season was his best.

Wilbert Montgomery, 1979, and Swede Hanson, 1934, are next. Montogomery was a fine back who rushed for over 1500 yards in 1979. Hanson was one of the top two or three backs in the NFL of his era and was a powerful runner.

A healthy group of honorables is led by Timmy Brown, 1965, Ricky Watters, 1996, Tom Woodeshick 1968, Herschel Walker, 1992, Brian Westbrook, 2007, Duce Staley, 1999, and Tom Sullivan 1973,.

Darren Sproles, 2014,  is the 3rd down back and his backup is Correll Buckhalter, 2008. For the honorables we chose Billy Campfield, 1981,  Po James, 1975,  and James Joseph 1994.

Terrell Owens, 2004, and Tommy McDonald, 1961 are the receivers. McDonald was terrific in the intermediate area where he could break on a dime and had enough speed to beat the good corners deep and he had hands every bit as good as Raymond Berry.

Mike Quick, 1983, and Harold Carmichael, 1973. Both were All-Pros and among the best in the NFL for those seasons, ranking high in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

A strong list of honorable mentions includes DeSean Jackson, 2009, Joe Carter, 1938, Irving Fryar 1996  Don Looney, 1940, Ben Hawkins, 1967, Harold Jackson, 1969, Bud Grant, 1952,  Jeremy Maclin, 2014

Jason Avant, 2011 is the slot receiver backed up by Antonio Freeman, 2002. Hank Baskett, 2006, gets an honorable mention.

Pete Pihos, 1953, was an end and played tight, but it's a bit of a cop-out in that all ends played tight a lot in that era. Pete Retzlaff, 1965, is the Second-team pick. Like wide receiver the tight end list of honorables is formidable. It starts with Keith Jackson, 1988, Charle Young, 1973, Chad Lewis, 2000, Brent Celek, 2009, John Spagnola, 1985, Keith Krepfle, 1979, and though he's not there yet Zach Ertz should join in 2016. 
Chuck Bednarik, 1960, is the First-team center and the guards are Shawn Andrews, 2006, and 
Evan Mathis, 2013, and the tackles are Al Wistert, 1945, and Bob Brown, 1966.
Bednarik played both ways, but his career breaks down as more of a linebacker early, then more of a center in the late-1950s. In 1960 and 1961 he had long stretches where he was playing both. Andrews was a powerful drive blocker and Mathis more of the technician-type. Wistert was the best blocker for the best running back of his time. Bob "Boomer" Brown just simply frightened people with his 300 pounds and, 4.9 forty speed.

The Second-team line is composed of Jim Ringo, 1964, center, Jermane Mayberry, 2002, and 
Bucko Kilroy, 1948, as guards and tackles Jason Peters, 2011, and Tra Thomas, 2002

The center honorables are Jason Kelce, 2014, and Guy Morriss, 1981. The HM guards are Dick Bassi, 1940, Buck Lansford, 1956, Enio Conti, 1942.

The honorable mention tackles are Jerry Sisemore, 1979, Stan Walters, 1979, J.D. Smith, 1961,
Jon Runyan, 2002, Lum Snyder, 1954, and Lane Johnson, 2014.

David Akers, 2011, is the top kicker. He is followed by Tony Franklin, 1979. The honorables are Cody Parkey, 2014, Bobby Walston, 1960, Paul McFadden, 1984, and Sam Baker 1966.

Jeff Feagles, 1992 is the punter and his backup is Joe Muha, 1948 (38.6 net) The honorables are Donnie Jones, 2014 (38.9 net), and Adrian Burk, 1955 (39.2 net).

The punt returners are Darren Sproles, 2014, and DeSean Jackson, 2009, Brian Westbrook, 2003, Vai Sikahema, 1992, both merit honorable mentions

Timmy Brown, 1966 is the kick returner and Brian Mitchell, 2000, backs him up. Wally Henry, 1979, and Quintin Demps, 2008, are the special mentions.

Vince Papale, 1976, is the First-team selection. The Second-team pick is Chris Maragos, 2014. A fine group of honorable mentions is led by Ken Rose, 1992, Major Everett, 1985, John Sciarra, 1979, Al Chesley1979, Mike Caldwell, 2000, Ike Reese, 2003, Quintin Mikell, 2006, and Colt Anderson, 2012.

Papale had several good years, we went with his first when he had 14 tackles, a forced fumble, and a recovery.

Claude Humphrey, 1980 (45 tackles, 7 PD, 15½ sacks, 2 FF) is the First-team designated pass rusher, and backing him up is Vinny Curry, 2014 (21 tackles, 9 sacks, 4 FF). The honorable mentions are Len Burnam, 1977 (9½ sacks), Darren Howard, 2008 (26 tackles, 10 sacks),  N.D. Kalu, 2002 (31 tackles, 8 sacks),  Riley Gunnels, 1961, Ken Clarke, 1980, and Brandon Graham, 2014 (46 tackles, 5.5 sacks 4 ff). Designated pass rusher is a deep position for the Eagles.

Terry Hoage, 1988 is the extra defensive back, he came into the game and played safety and intercepted 8 passes in no starts. The more traditional nickel backs tied for the Second-team, they are  Al Harris, 2001, and Brandon Boykin, 2013. Joselio Hanson, 2008, is an honorable mention.
The First-team secondary is made up of corners Eric Allen, 1993 (Second-team All-Pro, 6 picks, 4 of them pick 6s, and Troy Vincent, 2002 (All-Pro), along with strong safety Malcolm Jenkins, 2015 (104 tackles, 10.5 were stuffs, 3 FF and 2 interceptions one he returned for 99 yards and a touchdown), and free safety Bill Bradley, 1971 (NFL-leading 11 intrceptions, consensus All-Pro). Bradley's 9-INT 1972 season would also be a good fit here.

The Second-team defensive backfield is Asante Samuel, 2009 (Second-team All-Pro, NFL leading 9 picks), and Tom Brookshier, 1960 (All-Pro), at corner and left safety Don Burroughs, 1960 (Second-team All-Pro, 7 picks), and free safety Brian Dawkins, 2004 (69 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 picks and was consensus All-Pro).

Honorable mention corners are Bobby Taylor, 2002, Herm Edwards, 1980, Lito Sheppard, 2004   Roynell Young, 1981, and Irv Cross, 1964. 
Honorable mention strong safeties are Quintin Mikell, 2010, Randy Logan, 1980, Andre Waters, 1991, Jerry Norton, 1958, and Ray Ellis, 1984.  And the HM free safeties are Wes Hopkins, 1985 and Joe Scarpati, 1966 (8 int).

Bill Bergey, 1974, is the First-team middle linebacker. The outside linebackers are Seth Joyner, 1991 (55 tackles, 12 passes defensed, 6.5 sacks, 3 INT, 6 FF, 4 FR two for a TDs) and Chuck Bednarik, 1953, Bednarik was part of a 5-2 defense in 1953. Bednarik was always around the ball that year, he had 6 interceptions and four fumbles recovered. Joyner was a consensus All-Pro and was a linebacker who was on the field on all three downs and could cover and blitz. 1992 was almost a twin season, and it was considered, but it's like splitting hairs, but since Paul Zimmerman chose Joyner as his Player of the Year for 1991, we went with that season. For the record, in 1992 Joyner had 72 tackles, 15 passes defensed, 6.5 sacks 4 picks, 2 for touchdowns, 4 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Bergey was a consensus All-Pro in 1974 and intercepted 5 passes, in 1978, the season we almost went with he had 167 tackles, 4 picks, 5½ sacks, forced 2 fumbles and recovered 4. In 1974 he was a middle linebacker in 1978 he was an inside backer in a 3-4 defense. But he was very high in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year and that was the difference-maker, so we chose 1974.

Jeremiah Trotter, 2000 (All-Pro 120 tackles, 3 sacks and a pick-six), backs up Bergey and Jerry Robinson, 1980, and Maxie Baughan, 1964, take the Second-team outside linebacker spots. Baughan was a consensus All-Pro and had a good pass-rushing year with six sacks. Robinson had 114 tackles, 7 passes defended, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 FF, 4 FR, one for a TD. His 1981 season had very similar numbers and either would have been a good choice for this slot.

Byron Evans, 1992, Dave Lloyd, 1969 are honorables, as are 3-4 inside backers Frank LeMaster, 1981 and Jerry Robinson, 1983 (163 tackles, 10 PD, 2 FF, 2 FR, and a sack).

Connor Barwin, 2014 (Second-team All-Pro, 64 tackles, 14.5 sacks), William Thomas, 1995 (Second-team All-Pro, 74 tackles, 7 interceptions, 2 sacks), Wayne Robinson, 1954, and Lee Roy Caffey, 1963 get honorable mention status.

Charlie Johnson, 1980 is the top nose tackle, and he's backed up by Ken Clarke, 1984 (92 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 2 FF).  Johnson averaged almost 100 tackles per season from 1977 through 1981. He was an All-Pro in 1979-81. We chose 1980 because he was a consensus All-Pro, had 108 tackles and picked off three passes. The year before he didn't pick any off (not expected) but had 3 sacks to go with his 114 tackles. Benny Logan, 2015, is an honorable mention, he had 55 tackles (9.5 were stuffs) and a sack.
Jerome Brown, 1989, and Fletcher Cox, 2015 are the First-team defensive tackles. Brown had 65 tackles, 17 of them stuffs, 10.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Last year, Cox had 71 tackles ad 9.5 sacks and was a Second-team All-Pro.

Floyd Peters, 1966 (Pro Bowl, All-Conference, 8.5 sacks) and Al Wistert, 1948, back those two up. George Allen called Wistert one of the first really great inside rushers. Peters went on to be one of the great defensive line coaches in the history of the NFL.

Jess Richardson, 1959, Andy Harmon, 1995 (Second-team All-Pro, 63 tackles, 11 sacks, 3 FF), Corey Simon, 2003 (Pro Bowl, 40 tackles, 7.5 sacks), Vic Sears, 1949, and Marion Campbell, 1959 are all honorables.

Reggie White, 1987 (All-Pro, 64 tackles, 21 sacks, 4 FF), and  Clyde Simmons, 1991 (67 tackles, 19 sacks). White was the Defensive Player of the Year and Simmons was a consensus All-Pro selection and both had several seasons considered.

Pete Pihos, 1952, Carl Hairston, 1979 (100 tackles, 15.5 sacks) are the Second-team defensive ends. Hairston was a 3-4 end in the base defense and played defensive tackle in the nickel defense that year, though later years with the Eagles, he preferred to stay as the right end in nickel situations.

The long list of honorables begins with  William Fuller, 1995 (46 tackles, 13 sacks, 5 FF), Hugh Douglas, 2000 (56 tackles, 15 sacks) Jason Babin, 2011 (40 tackles, 18 sacks), Norm Willey, 1954 Dennis Harrison, 1982 (Pro Bowl, 47 tackles, 10.5 sacks in 9 games), Claude Humphrey, 1979 (72 tackles, 10 sacks), Trent Cole, 2009 (56 tackles, 12.5 sacks), and Greg Brown, 1984 (85 tackles, 16 sacks). Trent Colt's 2010 (10 sacks, 9 stuffs and tons of hurries) would also be good and 2007 (12.5 sacks, 10.5 stuffs but fewer hurries.

Agree or disagree? Post in comments sections below.