A week after Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was ranked as the fifth best running back in the NFL by a batch of ESPN.com writers, Tamba Hali earned the same position among pass-rushers.
1. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
2. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
3. Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts
3. Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings
5. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
6. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
7. John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons
8. Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears
9. LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Paint me a homer all you want, and maybe it’s because I watch him every week, but Hali belongs firmly behind Ware and Matthews. Truth be told, I would put Matthews ahead of everyone, simply because he is the best defensive player in the game right now.
There is no one on this list that receives less respect from game officials than Hali and yet he was still just one sack behind Ware for the league lead. Not to mention that unlike everyone else in the Top 10 other than maybe Wake, Hali had little to no help rushing the passer, with the most help coming from a young, but promising, nickel defensive end in Wallace Gilberry.
More proof that Hali gets the job done without much attention? He may have placed fifth, but in the over 800 word explanation of the results, Hali’s name wasn’t mentioned once. Even Denver’s Elvis Dumervil, who placed in the “others receiving votes” category, was talked about more than the Chiefs outside linebacker.