Dallas Cowboys: Top 5 Defensive Players

Last week I did an offseason feature on the Dallas Cowboys, and their top five offensive threats. Now we are changing sides of the ball, and discussing Dallas’ top five defensive players. DeMarco Murray got my number one slot on the offensive end, who will grab those honors on defense? SBRForum.com continues with this series of articles covering Dallas Cowboys, their different angles and the 2012 NFL Odds.

5. Gerald Sensabaugh, Safety

The 28 year-old from Oakland, CA had another good season for the Cowboys, and he gets my nod for number five. Sensabaugh had 75 tackles last season, good for second on the team. He also had two forced and recovered fumbles, along with two interceptions. With the exception of his 5-interception season in 2010, it was his best season as a pro.

The Cowboys drafted Matt Johnson, a safety out of Eastern Washington in the fourth round of the draft. They also moved up to draft Morris Claiborne with the 6th overall pick. Claiborne is of course a corner from LSU. With Sensabaugh and the new additions, the Cowboys should improve from their 23rd ranked pass defense from 2011.

4. Anthony Spencer, Linebacker

Spencer is one of three Dallas linebackers to make my list for the offseason, and Spencer did everything he could to get on my list! Spencer had 66 tackles last season, good for third on the team, but he really made his money last season rushing the passer. Spencer had 6 sacks and four forced fumbles last season.

Along with the other two linebackers I’m about to mention in this article, the Cowboys’ future is bright among their front seven, considering that every guy in the top four of this article play linebacker or defensive line.

3. Sean Lee, Middle Linebacker

The sophomore just continued to improve from his rookie season; Lee played in 15 games last season and led the team in tackles with 105 (71 solo). Although he didn’t have any sacks, he recovered two fumbles and had four interceptions and a touchdown. The Penn State prodigy didn’t have the best statistical season on this list, but his impact and upside lands him third on the list.

This guy is key for the Cowboys in stopping the run. He also has to match up against opposing teams tight ends on occasion, and he does well with it. He utilizes his 6’2 245 pound frame well, and when he reaches his ceiling, he could be a Pro Bowl caliber player (that is if they keep the Pro Bowl).

 2. Jay Ratliff, Defensive Tackle

What else can be said about this guy, other then he is one of the best d-tackles in the league. In 2009, he was a 1st Team All Pro, and he is a four-time Pro Bowler. Last season, Ratliff didn’t have his best statistical season in 2011, but he did end the season with 2 sacks and one fumble recovery.

It’s hard for guys on the Cowboys to get sacks, but we’ll get into that with number one. Ratliff is a double-team demanding machine, and a run stopping giant. Between he and Lee, these two are key for the Cowboys defending opposing running backs.

1. DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker

This one should come at no surprise, as Ware had one of the greatest season a Cowboy has ever had last season. He finished with 19.5 sacks; good for second in the NFL last season. Ware also had 58 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery for Dallas’ defense.

2012 should be no different for Ware, and I expect him to have another stellar season giving quarterbacks nightmares. The Cowboys added five defensive players with their seven draft picks, and their first four selections were on defense. Ware’s sack numbers might go down, but everything else is going to stay the same or go up.

0 replies
  1. Beserker
    Beserker says:

    how is Sensabaugh and Spencer on this list? They are liabilities on this defense. They should’ve been replaced on this offseason. whoever is responsible for them being onthis list should be fired!!!!
    Jenkins shouyld be in the top 5 and either Carr or Claiborne should make it this list

  2. Beserker gone BeserkerER
    Beserker gone BeserkerER says:

    Ummmm… are you talking about Mike “I’m afraid of contact so I won’t even pretend to tackle” Jenkins? He sums up EVERYthing that has been wrong with the Cowboys over the past few years. No heart. No guts.

    • Beserker
      Beserker says:

      I disagree my friend, Jerry Jones, Bradie james, Spencer, Sensabaugh, scandrick, newman and spears sums up everything thatas wrong with the defense. Jenkins had one bad year out of 3, the money spent on newman was down right baffling and how did scandrick and sensabaugh reeive contract extensions again? why hasnt jerry drafted anyone from the University of Miami since Jimmy left, and i am the one that is beserkerer, not quite

  3. Fred
    Fred says:

    R U A IDIOT or what. D-Ware has one job and one job only get the QB. Sean Lee is the heart and soul of the Defense he is the number one defender for Dallas. Then D-Ware number 2 and the Ratt number three with the option of moving up to number two if they would move him to Defense end. They do not have a number four and five they will and have changed weekly. This year Carr and Claiborne will have to be number 5 and 6 with Scandrick and Jenkins being number 4. For this years defense to work Scandrick and Jenkins will have to standup big time. Carr and Claiborne will have to be good but the other two will have to be great.

  4. Mattb1981
    Mattb1981 says:

    1. DeMarcus Ware
    2. Sean Lee
    3. Anthony Spencer
    4. Jay Ratliff
    5. Mike Jenkins
    6. Orlando Scandrick
    7. Gerald Sensabaugh
    8. Jason Hatcher
    9. Marcus Spears

    Bruce Carter
    Dan Conner
    Morris Claiborne
    Brandon Carr
    Sean Lissemore

    Some of these guys will be in the list next year!!!

  5. Roger
    Roger says:

    Tony Romo, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, disagreeing recently with Jerry Jones and how he sees the window closing on opportunities on the field:
    “It’s not closing. I think there’s a sense of urgency every year that you play, whether it’s your first year in the league or your 22nd. You never know when all that stuff is going to happen, so you just play every year as if it’s an urgent day.”

  6. Rick
    Rick says:

    If you can’t get to the QB you better have a good secondary… Last year this was our weakest link…
    We couldn’t even knock down a throw away ball ….


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