Dansby vs. Wilson: Who's More Valuable?

LB Karlos Dansby and SS Adrian Wilson are two of the biggest fixtures on the Cardinals defense. Both players have developed into tremendous playmakers and will be frequently utilized this season by defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Brad Wilbricht breaks down the talented duo in this AZRedReport.com ongoing series.

With LB Karlos Dansby's long-term future still unknown and SS Adrian Wilson's contract nearing its expiration, GM Rod Graves may have his hands full keeping both players in Arizona. The Cardinals defense is poised for a dramatic turnaround this year, and both Dansby and Wilson will be heavily relied upon.

Dansby, entering his sixth season in the NFL, was tagged as the Cardinals franchise player last April. The team has until July 15 to work out a long-term deal for the standout linebacker. Dansby has been extremely consistent up to this point in his career. He's racked up 332 tackles, 20.5 sacks and seven interceptions. Since arriving in the desert, Dansby has been the foundation of the Cardinals line backing corps.

Although his commitment and work-ethic have been questioned, Dansby boasts unmatched skills on the field. Dansby (6'4", 250 pounds) possesses ideal size for an inside linebacker while maintaining excellent athleticism and speed. He demonstrates tremendous explosion and natural instincts. Furthermore, Dansby's blitzing ability is well suited for the Cardinals aggressive defensive scheme.

SS Adrian Wilson
(Al Messerschmidt/Getty)

Wilson (6'3", 230 pounds) features linebacker size and strength at the safety position. However, his sideline-to-sideline speed allows him excel in the secondary. Throughout his NFL career, Wilson has been a tackling machine. He totaled back-to-back seasons of 100-plus tackles in 2004 and 2005. Over the course of his career, he's made 544 tackles while adding 16 interceptions.

Like Dansby, Wilson is an outstanding weapon in pass-rushing situations. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast disguises Wilson in numerous different blitzing formations. Although he struggles to wrap-up in space, Wilson's hard-hitting ability strikes fear into opposing receivers. At times, Wilson can be exposed in zone coverage, but he should benefit from former cornerback Antrel Rolle moving to free safety.

At 26 years of age, GM Rod Graves would be wise to lock up Dansby with a multi-year contract. Given the Cardinals thin depth at the linebacker position, the team can not afford to lose a player of Dansby's ability. If Dansby and the Cardinals front office can strike a deal, the combination of Dansby and LB Gerald Hayes could be a dominant force for years to come.

Wilson, 28 years old, is also an important cog of the Cardinals defense. His toughness and versatility sets the tone for his fellow defenders. Wilson's current contract is up after the 2009 season, making him an additional top priority for Graves.

While both players have been extremely productive during their time in the desert, Dansby is the heart and soul of the Cardinals defense. With fewer years in the NFL and more tread left on his tires, Dansby has a slight edge as the more valuable of the two players.

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