Rewind'10: Little rest for three D-linemen

I came across some interesting NFC North information Tuesday while putting together this post on Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji. In passing along Raji's playing time statistics for the 2010 regular season, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus (PFF) noted that a few other divisional player ranked high on the list for NFL defensive tackles as well.

The result is the chart you see accompanying this post. Based on PFF's charting system, the NFC North had the three most-durable defensive tackles in the NFL this season. The percentage figure is based on how often the player was on the field relative to the total number of plays for his defense, including those nullified by penalty.

I suppose it's not surprising that two youngsters, Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions and Raji, are among the top three. So the most interesting name on the list is Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who turned 30 in August and whose conditioning was suspect earlier in this career.

The most important element of being an elite player is staying on the field, and that's what all three of these linemen did in 2010. They were the definition of three-down defensive linemen. Suh was named both a Pro Bowl starter and a first-team All-Pro, while both Williams and Raji were alternates.