4 James ANDERSON LB PANTHERS
In his first full year as a starter, Anderson's numbers (126 tackles, 98 solo) benefited from Jon Beason's move to the weak side to fill in for an injured Thomas Davis. Beason moves back to the middle this year and will swallow up many of those tackles that went to Anderson on the strong side.
5 Gerald SENSABAUGH DB COWBOYS
His career year (69 tackles, five interceptions) came in part because he had to pick up the slack for the struggling Alan Ball. With Abram Elam coming over from Cleveland, expect Elam to make a lot of the plays that used to go to Sensabaugh.
6 Donte WHITNER DB 49ERS
Last year Whitner led all defensive backs in tackles (138) in large part because he served as essentially an extra linebacker for a Bills team that couldn't stop the run. There will be no need for that behind Patrick Willis in San Francisco.
7 Jared ALLEN DL VIKINGS
He finished strong in 2010 (10 sacks in the final nine games), but Allen will draw even more attention from opposing offenses. End Ray Edwards signed with Atlanta, and tackle Kevin Williams could be facing a four-game suspension.
8 Craig DAHL DB RAMS
He emerged as an in-the-box force after becoming St. Louis's full-time strong safety last October (61 tackles, 55 solo in nine games), but the addition of former Eagle Quintin Mikell means Dahl will play more centerfield, eliminating a lot of chances for tackles against the run.