Dec. 4, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker (94) DeMarcus Ware battles Arizona Cardinals tackle (75) Levi Brown at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 Player Countdown: #9 Levi Brown

Levi Brown didn’t play a game in 2012, but his past performance helped him earn a spot in our top-10 countdown.

Bobby Massie checked in as the 10th-best Cardinal, and another massive offensive lineman earned the ninth spot. Despite tearing his triceps and missing the 2012 season, the former top-five draft pick was voted as the ninth-best Cardinals player by our staff. The 324-pound tackle has 75 starts under his belt, including 64 from 2008-2011.

In other words, the Cardinals trusted him to start every game for four consecutive years.

Brown is 29 years old, and he has the experience and the size to be a key contributor for the team in 2013. While Brown wasn’t dominant in 2011, the line suffered from his injury. Coach Bruce Arians thinks Brown can be an elite player, and Arians isn’t alone. Arizona spent the fifth pick of the 2007 NFL draft on Brown, and they are counting on him to step up and live up to his expectations.

The line gave up 58 sacks in 2012, and with Brown, who had finally started to live up to expectations at the end of the 2012 season, missing, the unit couldn’t recover. Brown has the potential to live up to expectations with no injuries, as he is hungrier than ever to succeed. Arians has praised him, and Brown is out to live up to the praise.

Brown was dead last among tackles in 2012 (he ranked 78th), and he was off to another horrible start in 2011. However, he left much to be desired in 2012 by ending the 2011 season with a bang. Unfortunately for the versatile tackle, he suffered a devastating preseason injury.

While Brown missed the season, he had the whole season to rehab and will benefit from more time to heal and improve. Expect Brown to come out ready to play in 2013, and expect him to fulfill or come closing to fulfilling the lofty expectations that come with being drafted so high. Brown’s career production doesn’t exactly match this ranking, but he has shown flashes of dominance. If Brown can put that all together in 2013, he will be one of the NFL’s best tackles.

And the way Brown can do that is by coming out hungry.

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