Ryan Van Bibber of the national football page for SB Nation has been breaking down each position by team and ranking them accordingly. He assessed that the Arizona Cardinals have the third best safety tandem in the NFL and the 20th best linebacker corps.
Now, he has given the team's defensive line a placement as well. By his estimation, the Cardinals' defensive line places as the eighth most effective group in the nation. But is this an accurate determination?
Something tells me that they should be little higher up the charts.
When your team boasts names such as Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell, you know they are going to have a better than decent defensive line. Not always adept at playing the run, the Cardinals' D-Line makes their money by rushing the passer.
The crazy part is, they play in a 3-4 defense that centers around the linebackers making plays. Five of the seven teams in front of the Cards on Van Bibber's list play in 4-3 schemes, which asks the defensive line to create plays on the quarterback more often.
Also, in Ray Horton's scheme, the defensive end (where Dockett and Campbell play) has an entirely different role than a defensive end on a team such as the 49ers. They are utilized as 'space holders', trying to gobble up offensive linemen while their teammates make the plays. Basically, the numbers for other defensive line players may be more inflated, causing them to rise up the list.
It becomes very difficult to move the Cardinals any higher on the list, though. Each of the teams ahead of them have more talented lines, regardless if the numbers are there or not.
As Van Bibber notes, if Dan Williams can stay healthy at the nose tackle position and Dockett and Campbell can continue to wreak havoc, this team's front three can be very effective. With another year in their current scheme, I have no doubt that they'll be showing everyone just how good they are.