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Eric Berry, Tamba Hali Listed As Top 2 Defensive Players In AFC West

The Kansas City Chiefs might have their naysayers in terms of winning the division in 2012, but there's no doubting that they have the playmakers to come through if everyone is healthy after a season to forget last year. Eric Berry was among the many Chiefs lost for the season -- a list that also included All Pro running back Jamaal Charles, tight end Tony Moeaki and starting quarterback Matt Cassel. But getting a player like Berry back is akin to getting the AFC West's best defensive player back on the field, per ESPN's Matt Williamson.

In fact, Williamson says the Chiefs have the two best defenders in the AFC West along with Tamba Hali, at least according to the order that they're posted. He loves Berry in particular if the impact safety is going to return from injury on time:

If we knew Berry was going to be the same physical specimen in terms of his movement skills as he was when he entered the league, I might just pull the trigger on making Berry my selection as the best defensive player in the division for 2012. I couldn't be higher on this young man overall, and from all reports he is back to full health. Still, I want to see it for myself. With that being said, I can't wait to scout him this preseason. Berry is special.

As for Hali, he's the best pass rusher in the division and among the best in the entire NFL. Williamson admits as much directly when he writes, "Hali is one of the very best -- and chronically underrated -- defensive players in the entire league. And he seems to get better every season. Hali is truly an elite edge pass-rusher." He goes on to note:

As quarterbacks around the league and especially those in the AFC West know all too well, Hali closes on his prey about as well as any upfield player in the league. As you can see from the players I have listed -- not to mention Romeo Crennel's defensive mind -- I am expecting Kansas City to have one of the very best defenses in football this season.