NFC South Position Rankings: The Defensive Secondary

Training camp is almost here and the 2015 NFL season is so close that I can almost taste it. Going into the 2015 season the Carolina Panthers will be defending their NFC South title for the second year in a row. Do other teams in the NFC South stand a chance at preventing the Panthers from three-repeating? This question might not get answered until the regular season, but some other questions will be answered during training camp.

I am going to try to answer questions about the defensive secondaries in the NFC South. I will do this by providing you with details about each team's best player, and their current depth chart. You will also find my rankings below.

1. Carolina Panthers

Best Starter - Josh Norman is known for his ability to cover and match up physically with some of the bigger wide receivers in the league. He proved this last season by stepping up for the Panthers, and shutting down some of the best receivers in the NFL. He was the starting cornerback for the Carolina Panthers during their four game winning streak. During that four game stretch he did a great job at covering: Julio Jones (4 rec 58 yards), Josh Gordon (4 rec 45 yards), Mike Evans (2 rec 13 yards 1 TD), and Marques Colston (5 rec 72 yards).

Projected Starters - According to Panthers/Truth:

  • CB - Josh Norman, Melvin White, Charles Tillman
  • CB - Bene' Benwikere/Charles Tillman, Chris Houston
  • Nickle - Bene' Benwikere, Chris Houston, Colin Jones
  • SS - Roman Harper/Kurt Coleman, Colin Jones
  • FS - Tre Boston, Kurt Coleman, Colin Jones

Other defensive backs currently on the roster: Melvin White, Chris Houston, DeAndre Presley, Brian Blechen, Marcus Ball, Dean Marlowe, Tre Boston, Kurt Coleman, Louis Young, Gary Peters, Colin Jones, Teddy Williams, Robert Lester, and Carrington Byndom.

2. New Orleans Saints

Best Starter – Keenan Lewis was a key acquisition for the New Orleans Saints when they brought on Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan. Lewis has been the Saints best corner and is always matched up with the opposing team's best wide receiver. He has the right measurables to be a top cornerback in this league, but he can't keep his mouth shut. This led to some friction in the offseason between Lewis and the Saints, because he wanted a new contract. The deal was done and now Lewis is looking to the future.

Projected Starters:

  • CB Keenan Lewis
  • CB Brandon Browner
  • SS Kenny Vaccaro
  • FS Jarius Byrd

Other defensive backs currently on the roster: PJ Williams, Damian Swann, Brian Dixon, Jamarca Sanford, Delvin Breaux, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Vinnie Sunseri, Rafael Bush, Kyle Wilson, Pierre Warren, Kenny Phillips, and Terrence Frederick.

3. Atlanta Falcons

Best Starter - As of right now, Desmond Trufant is the top player in the Atlanta Falcons defensive secondary. However, rookie cornerback Jalen Collins might be a close second when he takes over the starter role from Robert Alford. The Falcons had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season, but Trufant was one of the few bright spots. Trufant is a great cover corner that can flip his hips, and stay in stride with star wide wide receivers like Josh Gordon, and Larry Fitzgerald.

Projected Starters:

  • CB Desmond Trufant
  • CB Robert Alford
  • FS Charles Godfrey
  • SS William Moore

Other defensive backs currently on the roster: Jalen Collins, Kevin White, Michael Lee, Damian Parms, Therezie Robinson, Dezmen Southward, Akeem King, Phillip Adams, Ricardo Allen, Terrell Floyd, Jonathon Mincy, Sean Baker, and Kemal Ishmael.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best Starter – Jonathan Banks is currently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers number two cornerback. This will only be his third season in the NFL, and I think that Banks has a high ceiling. Jonathan Banks has the six-plus size, and tackling skills that a corner needs to be successful in this league. He took over the number two spot from Mike Jenkins last season, and the Buccaneers never looked back.

Projected Starters:

  • CB Alterraun Verner
  • CB Johnathan Banks
  • SS Bradley McDougald
  • FS Chris Conte

Other defensive backs currently on the roster: Chris Hackett, Derrick Wells, Mike Jenkins, Deshazor Everett, Sterling Moore, CJ Wilson, Major Wright, DJ Swearinger, Brandon Dixon, Leonard Johnson, Keith Tandy, and Isiah Frey.

Overall, the NFC South doesn't look strong in the defensive secondary outside of the Carolina Panthers. The New Orleans Saints have lots of potential, the Atlanta Falcons will need to rely on their young players, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need another season under their belt.

By , Justin Raymond

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