Top 5 defensive tackle tandems in the NFL


Nick Fairley said the Detroit Lions already have the best defensive tackle duo in the NFL. This sounds more outlandish than it truly is.

Even though Fairley is only in his second season, we're inclined to agree with him. Ndamukong Suh quietly might have enjoyed his best NFL season last year. Fairley was a big playmaker in the second half of the year. Keep in mind that we left 3-4 teams out of the mix. Here are our top five tandems:

1. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, Detroit Lions: Even if you disagree, it's hard to argue that the Lions don't have the NFL's best pass-rushing interior tandem.

2. Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills: Like the Lions' duo, they are better at disrupting plays rather than stuffing the run. Look for Buffalo to show more 3-4 looks this year under new coordinator Mike Pettine.

3. Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins: There's a reason why both players have received franchise tags in recent years. Starks' versatility is especially impressive. This is a tough duo to run on.

4. Geno Atkins and Domata Peko, Cincinnati Bengals: Atkins is the very best at his position in the league, while Peko is a solid run stopper.

5. Henry Melton and Stephen Paea, Chicago Bears: Paea still has room to grow; you get a sense he doesn't use his incredible strength just yet. Melton emerged as one of the NFL's best interior pass rushers.

Notes: Haloti Ngata needs a tag-team partner with the Baltimore Ravens. Terrence Cody has only been so-so. ... Ahtyba Rubin and Phillip Taylor merited consideration, though the Cleveland Browns are moving to a 3-4 defense. ... J.J. Watt plays defensive end, so the Houston Texans didn't count here.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.