NFC South All-Star Squad: Defense

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We started this project last week and had the readers decide the final three positions over the course of the weekend. Now, we have the team. The best the NFC South has to offer. At least according to the lead bloggers who cover the teams: Cat Crave, Who Dat Dish, The Pewter Plank and, of course, Blogging Dirty.

Yesterday we recapped the offense. Today we’ll review the defensive side of the ball. Hit the jump to see which players, and more importantly, which Falcons made the team.


The Defensive Line

Left Defensive End
John Abraham, FALCONS

In his career, Abe has made three Pro Bowl trips and earned one All-Pro nod. Despite his down-year in 2009, he’s still a feared pass rusher as evidenced by his inclusion on this list. He’s the only player capable of preventing a Saints defensive line sweep.

Others receiving votes: None



Left Defensive Tackle
Sedrick Ellis, SAINTS

Ellis was second on the Saints with four sacks last year and take the defensive tackle position away from my personal vote, Jonathan Babineaux.

Others receiving votes: Jonathan Babineaux



Right Defensive Tackle
Anthony Hargrove, SAINTS

Hargrove overcame substance abuse issues, which had him suspended for the entire 2008 season, to deliver a terrific 2009 campaign. His selection was unanimous.

Others receiving votes: None



Right Defensive End
Will Smith, SAINTS

In 2009, Smith had his best season since the Pro Bowl year of 2006. He had a career-high 13 sacks playing in Gregg Williams’ defense.

Others receiving votes: None



The Linebackers

Weakside Linebacker
Mike Peterson, FALCONS

Peterson reunited with Mike Smith after falling out of favor in Jacksonville. While I like Peterson’s fire, it says something about the NFC South’s linebacking corp when he gets voted in without opposition.

Others receiving votes: None.



Middle Linebacker
Jonathan Vilma, SAINTS

Vilma had the best season of his career under Gregg Williams and has been a consistent producer since he arrived in New Orleans. My gut tells me we’ll see Curtis Lofton in this spot before too long.

Others receiving votes: Jon Beason



Strongside Linebacker
Stephen Nicholas, FALCONS

Nicholas isn’t a lock to keep his job this year, but he’s done enough to secure the SAM position at linebacker for our division all-star team.

Others receiving votes: JoLonn Dunbar



The Secondary

Right Cornerback
Tracy Porter, SAINTS

The Saints are piling a lot of people on this list thanks to their Super Bowl exposure and there wasn’t a bigger moment that Porter sealing the deal against the Colts.

Others receiving votes: Brian Williams



Free Safety
Darren Sharper, SAINTS

Sharper re-signing with the Saints is a huge move for that team. A fierce leader – he makes you gameplan around him.

Others receiving votes: None



Strong Safety
Roman Harper, SAINTS

My vote went for Erik Coleman but Harper is building an impressive resume. He set a career high in tackles in 2009.

Others receiving votes: Erik Coleman



Left Cornerback
Chris Gamble, PANTHERS

A perfect last name for a cornerback. Gamble has been remarkable consistent for six seasons despite never making the Pro Bowl.

Others receiving votes: Jabari Greer



The Specialists

Nickelback
Dunta Robinson, FALCONS

Robinson just misses the starting cut but he’ll provide exceptional cover ability in nickel situations.

Others receiving votes: None



Kicker
John Kasay, PANTHERS

The NFC South is lacking in the kicker department so old man Kasay gets the nod on experience and veteran-savvy.

Others receiving votes: Garrett Hartley



Punter
Michael Koenen, FALCONS

The Fan Vote pulled Koenen onto this team.

Others receiving votes: Jason Baker, Thomas Morstead



Returner
Reggie Bush, SAINTS

Bush is a dangerous returner with four touchdowns on special teams in his career.

Others receiving votes: Captain Munnerlyn


Well there you have it. The NFC South’s Defensive All-Star Team. The Saints led the way with eight players on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons had five players and the Panthers garnered two bids. The Buccaneers were left out in the cold with zero.

Offense and Defense Recap

The Saints put 12 players on the team, accounting for 44% of the roster. The Falcons came in at second with eight players. The Panthers brought seven players to the party and in a surprising result, the Buccaneers went 0 for 27.

What’s Next

Remember to visit Fansided.com beginning Monday, July 19th to vote for the NFC South against the rest of the division all-star teams.

The contest will be held on the FanSided Network homepage. In a classic winner-take-all playoff bracket, two teams will face off each round until a “Super Bowl” champion is decided just before the start of training camps.

While it’s normal to have vehement hatred towards our division rivals, when we reach this stage, we want to represent the NFC South and vote early and often.

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Tags: Anthony Hargrove Atlanta Falcons Chris Gamble Darren Sharper FanSided John Abraham Jonathan Vilma Mike Peterson NFC South Roman Harper Sedrick Ellis Stephen Nicholas Tracy Porter Will Smith

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