But there's a young gun on the NFL's top defense who has entered the conversation -- Dashon Goldson. San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has a unique perspective on the matter after being on the Baltimore Ravens' staff from 2006 to 2009.
"Ed's got tremendous instincts and a great feel for the ball, tremendous ball skills," Fangio told The Sacramento Bee. "And Ed's one of the best safeties in this era the last 10, 15 years, for sure.
"But Dashon (Goldson), I think, is right up there with him."
Goldson will be a free agent in 2012 after the 49ers franchised him for this season.
"He's made little strides in all areas," Fangio said. "And like I said before, little strides in a lot of areas equals a big difference."
Goldson was disappointed in the free-agent market before he signed his franchise tender. A second consecutive Pro Bowl for a veteran from the NFL's best defense should make the money right in 2013.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.