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
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.