By Tim Graham
Starks has been one of the NFL's most underrated defensive players. He became a 2011 Pro Bowler as an alternate, but his name seldom comes to mind when talking about the top defensive linemen.
Starks is versatile and can play tackle and end with aplomb. Starks recorded 4.5 sacks last year, second-most of his career. The Dolphins' coaching staff film review credited him with 10 tackles for losses, tying him for second on the team behind Cameron Wake, and 10 quarterback hits.
ProFootballFocus.com rated Starks the NFL's sixth-best 3-4 defensive end. He ranked ninth with 16 quarterback hurries. Starks tied for second in PFF's pass-coverage metric, and -- this isn't the most glowing stat for the Dolphins' 2011 defense -- his two interceptions tied him for second on the team. He was in the top 10 in PFF's pass-rush and run-stopping metrics.
Starks is entering his ninth season, easily making him the most experienced player on this list so far.
Signed as a free agent from the Tennessee Titans in 2008. (Paul, a reader in Beijing, suggested I add this feature to each of the profiles because "a lot of us are focused in on how [a team] acquires such great players." Good idea.)
Hint about No. 19
He is coming off a lackluster season, but his overall defensive talent and body of work keep him in my top 20.
Picks to date
20. Randy Starks, Dolphins defensive lineman
21. Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots right tackle
22. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots tight end
23. Marcell Dareus, Bills defensive tackle
24. Antonio Cromartie, Jets cornerback
25. Eric Wood, Bills center