Since Darnell Dockett came into the NFL in 2004, he has become one of the more dominant defensive tackles in the league, and has become a fan favorite amongst Cardinal fans. However, over the last three seasons, Dockett’s production has continued to decline. However, with the hiring of new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Dockett has made no secret of his excitement heading into the season. He has also come out and said that he hated how former defensive coordinator Ray Horton used him in his scheme, and that’s why his production declined. So, where does Darnell Dockett rank among NFL defensive tackles in the league today? In my opinion the top three defensive tackles are as follows:
1. Geno Atkins- Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)
2. Haloti Ngata- Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
3. Vince Wilfork- New England Patriots (3-4)
After those three, there is room for debate. A lot of people would put Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh next, with some arguing for Kyle Williams from the Buffalo Bills, or even Kevin Williams from the Minnesota Vikings.
So where does Darnell Dockett fit? Based on his production over the past three seasons, some will say that he does not even belong in the top ten. However, as a 3-4 defensive tackle Dockett was often times used in a roll that opened holes for the Cardinals linebackers to fly around and make plays. Dockett has stated multiple times how excited he is to play in Todd Bowles system, and how excited he is for how Bowles is going to use him. If this is true, then Cardinal fans can expect Dockett to become the dominant force that fans have come to know and love once again.
Because of what Dockett has said about Bowles system, and his physical talent that we all know he has, I would say that Darnell Dockett belongs in the top ten as far as defensive tackles in the league, and if he has the big year that he is expecting, can put himself back into that top five discussion. But right now, I would list my top five defensive tackles like this:
1. Geno Atkins- Cin
2. Haloti Ngata- Bal
3. Vince Wilfork- NE
4. Ndamokung Suh- Det
5. Kevin Williams- Min