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All NFL Team

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With the 2013 NFL season seemingly a lifetime away, who makes the all NFL team? We are not thinking of the future, just simply the best in the business right now.

All NFL Team

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers– Rodgers just became the highest paid player in the NFL and who could say it’s not deserved? Rodgers has everything that you could want of a quarterback in the modern game, a cannon like arm yet with the touch to make even the most difficult of throws, he has the quick release and accuracy required in the short and intermediate passing games yet is the best in the business in the deep vertical passing game. His athleticism is underestimated because he doesn’t run with the ball too often but he is only a notch behind the RG3s and Cam Newtons of the world. A terrific leader of his team and as consistent as any quarterback in the league, Rodgers alone gives any team a shot.

Running Back

Adrian Peterson- I would love to have a versatile do it all running back in the mould of Ray Rice or Arian Foster yet this is the easiest selection in the whole team. Peterson, the reigning NFL MVP is not just the best running back in the NFL but in the argument for best of all time. Coming off a career threatening tear of both his Anterior and Medial Cruciate Ligaments requiring reconstructive surgery, Peterson defied medical belief to be fit for week one. To then rush for 2097 yards, the second most of all time is testament to not only his talent but work ethic and desire. Peterson as a pure rusher is simply in a league of his own, a towering 6 foot 1 inches and 217 pounds of pure athleticism; AP is the thoroughbred in full flight yet with unbridled power and agility which defies his size. The amazing thing about him in the age of running backs by committee and the disposable nature of tailbacks in the modern NFL is that as he gets older he gets better and stronger where so many end up on the street before their 30. Nobody has ever had two career 2000 yard seasons let alone back to back but it would surprise few if AP managed it in 2013.

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski- A broken arm robbed NFL fans of watching ‘Gronk’ in the second half of the 2012 season and losing him was a massive blow to the New England Patriots. He should be back and at 100% come the kickoff of the 2013 season and when he is he borders on unstoppable. A powerhouse, mountain of a man, Gronkowski’s ability to run over defenders in the open field and continue with defenders quite literally hanging off him is something to behold. His combination of size, strength and speed makes him the proverbial matchup nightmare. An underrated blocker, Gronkowski can do it all and is one of the most feared players in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham- Many teams are opting to start with two tight ends rather than the traditional fullback in the pass oriented NFL of today and with talents like Graham and Gronkowski it’s easy to see why. Graham is another of the production line of ex-basketball players who convert to football tight ends. Graham had a slightly disappointing 2012 in line with a team who was rocked by the bounty scandal which cost them their head coach and several starters. In a record breaking 2011 however Graham transitioned to superstar with his unique skillset. At 6 foot 7 and a lean 265 lbs Graham causes defensive coordinators fits. Too big for any defensive back to deal with, too fast for any linebackers it’s little surprise that he already has 25 touchdowns in three years in the league. Graham enters 2013 as a player expected to come right back to his best in a team stacked with offensive talent.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson- ‘Megatron’ is the most feared receiver in the NFL and with good reason. For back to back seasons he has led the NFL in receiving and last year broke the single season record for receiving yards. At 6 feet 5 and able to run 100 metres in 10.23 seconds he is as close to unstoppable as a receiver could be. Physically he may be the most gifted athlete in the entire NFL and he has brilliant natural hands to complement that athleticism. The future hall of famer is the measuring stick for all other NFL receivers although he has set the bar ridiculously high.

A.J. Green- You could go a variety of ways here. Some might say that a possession type like Wes Welker would complement Johnson best, then there’s the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson who despite such stellar career’s remain in the elite category but A.J. Green is the emerging superstar who heads an up and coming class of elite receivers, I’ll go with him. In many ways he is similar to Calvin Johnson, a big bodied, long receiver with the speed to outrun most defensive backs and the height to win balls at their highest point. Green was drafted 4th overall by the Bengals and came with a highlight reel of spectacular catches. Going into this, his third year as a pro he is the most likely player to challenge ‘Megatron’ if not statistically (playing outdoor’s against the staunchest of defences in Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice) then at least from level of performance.

Left Tackle

Joe Thomas- Every team is looking for a franchise left tackle in the NFL today, indeed three of the first four picks in the 2013 NFL draft were spent on the position. The dependable blind side blocker who can protect his quarterback from the best pass rushers around. Thomas sets the standard that others are compared to as the best in the business at protecting the quarterback although he has never had much to protect in a city where the quarterback position is somewhat a revolving door. Nevertheless six straight pro bowls show the regard in which he is held.

Right Tackle

Nate Solder- This pick will be questioned but rather than swing a top class left tackle across to the strong side I’ll have the right tackle I rate as the best around. At 6 feet 8 and 330 lbs, Solder is an aggressive road-grading tackle capable of overwhelming defenders in the run game yet forms a vital part of one of the league’s best pass blocking units protecting Tom Brady; Adrian Peterson would love this selection also.

Guards

Mike Iupati- In Iupati the San Francisco 49ers have arguably the most dominant interior lineman in the NFL today. Iupati is a typically thick, powerfully built Samoan athlete and at 330 lbs is one of the meanest blockers around. Capable of running over would be tacklers in the open field, knocking over defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage and quickly adjusting in pass protection, Iupati is a blue collar blocker but possesses elite athletic ability for his position.

Logan Mankins- A second member of the hugely consistent New England offensive line, Mankins, a five time pro bowler is the kind of player who enables the Patriots to challenge for the superbowl year in, year out. A gritty, nasty blocker, Mankins can deal with the most powerful and athletic defensive tackles in the league due to his polished technique and understanding of the game. The fact that he played all of 2011 with a torn ACL shows the commitment and toughness he possesses and he embodies what Bill Belichick looks for in an offensive lineman.

Center

Maurkice Pouncey- Pouncey like all of our other four offensive linemen here was a first round pick and whilst a center is never going to set the pulse racing was the kind of smart pick typical of the consistently successful Pittsburgh Steelers organisation. From day one the former Florida Gator stepped in to start and became the Steelers best lineman, indeed such was his impact that the injury which kept him out of the 2011 Superbowl was named as a big reason for the Steelers loss. In an offense no longer based on running the ball and with a quarterback renowned for keeping plays alive the Steelers line are put under immense pressure but Pouncey can be relied on to sustain blocks and take on double teams to give Ben Roethlisberger the extra couple of seconds he loves.

Nose Tackle

Haloti Ngata- Traditionally any such lists are based on a 4-3 defensive alignment with four defensive linemen and three linebackers, indeed the pro bowl defense always is aligned in the 4-3 but just as many teams now use the 3-4 and my defense will be likewise. Ngata is regularly a defensive end in the Ravens 3-4 but switches inside to nose tackle with just as great effect and at 344 lbs you could argue it suits him even better. A thick, powerful athlete whose non-stop motor belies his size and bulk, Ngata is amongst the most dominant and feared defenders in the league. One of just a handful of players able to consistently take on and beat double teams, Ngata is a nightmare for defensive coordinators and offensive linemen alike and has been a huge part of the Ravens consistently excellent defense in recent years.

Defensive Ends

J.J. Watt- Ends in the 3-4 defense are there to clog up running lanes and create openings for pass rushing linebackers but in just two years in the league Watt has transcended his position. The reigning defensive player of the year has showed that as a 3-4 end you can be a consistent pass rusher, notching 26 sacks in his first two years and in 2012 his play truly was at a level we haven’t seen before at the position. Watt at just under 300 lbs has the speed and agility of the 4-3 defensive end who generally plays at 30-40 lbs lighter but the power of the defensive tackle at 30-40 lbs heavier. He is the driving force in a Texans defense that has been turned around from one who couldn’t stop anyone and seemingly got in a shootout every week to one of the league’s best all round units. At such a young age he could have even more to come and even at a very early stage looks a future hall of famer.

Justin Smith- Smith was underestimated for far too long but as the 49ers have returned to prominence under Jim Harbaugh, Smith’s dominant play has been recognised league wide. A nasty, aggressive presence on the line he is the only 3-4 lineman who dominates like his would be teammate here in J.J Watt. In 11 seasons in the league Smith has notched nearly 800 tackles and 75 career sacks, starting off in Cincinnati before joining San Francisco back in 2008. He is one of the most respected defensive linemen in the league and his strength and non-stop motor play a huge part in allowing the 49ers much lauded linebackers to wreak havoc both around the line of scrimmage in the run game and in the backfield in the passing game.

Outside Linebackers

DeMarcus Ware- Ware is about to return to the defensive end position he played in college but as an outside linebacker in his NFL career he has been consistently the best. The NFL’s most feared pass rusher yet underrated against the run, Ware commands double teams on virtually every play, not that even that stops him. With 111 sacks in 8 seasons and seven pro bowls his record speaks for itself. His dynamic skill set of power, speed, agility and vast array of pass moves has made him the gold standard at the position, one which a new, talented generation of pass rushers are all pushing hard to get to.

Von Miller- Splitting Aldon Smith and Von Miller for this position is basically impossible and whichever one you go for you have a heck of a player. Smith is slightly bigger and stronger, Miller faster and leaner. With three behemoths upfront the smaller, quicker Miller would thrive (as of course would Smith). Miller, the defensive rookie of the year in 2011 and an all pro in 2012 certainly warranted being the second overall pick in the ’11 draft, he has 30 sacks in two years and is a key member of a Broncos defense which has been amongst the league’s best the past two years. Denver’s defensive scheme is complex and attacks the opposing quarterback from various different fronts, Miller’s abilities are key to its success and he will again be a vital member of a team expected to be serious Super Bowl contenders in 2013.

Inside Linebackers

Patrick Willis- Willis is widely considered the league’s best inside linebacker and the 49ers are widely considered to have the best linebacking corps in the NFL. Willis, the 11th overall pick in the 2007 draft has been an all-pro six straight years and has already amassed a staggering 812 tackles. At just 28, he has the potential to near double that total and will hope to go one better and win the superbowl in 2013. His sideline to sideline speed, supreme tackling ability and vision to see what is unfolding infront of him mark him out as a one off and he is already worthy of discussion with the best ever to play the position.

Sean Lee- The only none pro-bowler on this list, Lee’s health has held him back from any such accolades through his first three years in the league but he has quickly built a reputation within the NFL as one of the smartest players in football. In his rookie year of 2010 he was hampered by injuries but intercepting Peyton Manning for a game tying pick six late in the 4th quarter and then again in overtime to set up a chip shot winner was the highlight. In 2011 he had a breakout year, 131 tackles led the team, four interceptions was tied for the team lead and again eight tackles for a loss tied a team high. In 2012 he started where he left off, 10 tackles and a forced fumble in the opener followed by a franchise record 14 in the following game at Seattle. His season was cut short by a toe injury and the Cowboys defense without him allowed 160 yards per game more than when he was in the lineup. The first and last into the film room (coaches included), a leader on the field, with terrific instincts and a knack for the ball, expect a healthy Lee to be amongst the league’s best again in 2013.

Cornerbacks

Darrelle Revis- Revis Island was a lonely place in 2012; the superstar cornerback played just two games before suffering a torn ACL that ended his season. A year on and he was traded to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team desperate to get back into the hunt with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints who have between them pretty much dominated the NFC South for the last 5 years.  Revis reputation as the league’s only true ‘shutdown’ corner, capable of taking on the league’s best receivers one on one and basically taking them out of the game is all the more impressive considering the fact that the game more than ever is based on passing and elite quarterback-receiver tandems. Revis has just about everything for a cornerback, big, rangy and powerful enough to match up with the best around he has the speed to deal with most and the technique to give him a yard head start. His interception ratio doesn’t tell the tale of how good he is at finding and winning the ball in mid flight because he basically doesn’t get thrown at. There may be a few willing to test him early in 2013 post surgery but my suspicion is that it won’t last long.

Richard Sherman- Sherman has a big mouth but has the game to back it up. He has become notorious in the media for his twitter feuds with Darrelle Revis, Joe Haden and AJ Green amongst others. On the field he got slapped by Redskins tackle Trent Williams and he made more headlines for incidents involving Tom Brady and Skip Bayless to name but a few. But lost sometimes in the media yet not the NFL community is just what an exceptional player he is and to try to not offend either shall we say he is the heir to Revis throne. The former college wide receiver has exceptional ball skills as his 8 interceptions in 2012 showed but his biggest strengths come in his coverage skills. Extremely aggressive at the line of scrimmage yet smooth and fluid in man coverage he has the ability to mirror receivers then out-battle them for the ball. With just two years in the NFL and having started out as a receiver Sherman may still be improving. He is already exceptional and it seems certain we will hear much more from him in 2013.

Safeties

Earl Thomas- The former Texas Longhorn, along with Richard Sherman is a vital part of the league’s best secondary. Although just 24 he has three years starting experience and has already made two pro bowls. With Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu in the twilight of their careers, Thomas is now the league’s best safety and he excels in the Seahawks tampa 2 based scheme where he is plays a lot of single high safety. In other words he is deepest man defender and given the role of protecting against all deep balls. Back there his combination of speed, instinctiveness and awareness give him the perfect traits to help his cornerbacks all over the field. Willing to land big hits both on receivers and rushers and with the ball skills to create turnovers he is the ultimate free safety and health allowing he looks set to be the gold standard at his position for many years.

Eric Berry- When Berry was the highest drafted safety for over a decade in 2010 the Chiefs didn’t envisage him being the second best safety in the class. But that tells half the tale, Earl Thomas as already stated is a truly exceptional player but Berry despite missing the middle of his three NFL seasons due to injury isn’t far behind. Where Thomas is a pure free safety, Berry has the added size and abilities to play the strong safety slot where his aggressive, powerful play is a huge help to a team in run support. He also has the range and instincts to be effective in man and zone coverage and will be a key building block as new head coach Andy Reid tries to turn around a Chiefs franchise which has been poor for almost a decade.

Kicker

Blair Walsh- Not sure a kicker in this lineup would do anything but kick extra points and kick off but if required Walsh is up to any task. As a rookie in 2012 he had 10 field goals of 50 yards plus, the most ever in a season, the fact that he was 10 of 10 made it doubly impressive. He broke just about every rookie kicker record and a whole host of all time single season records; needless to say he has a huge leg and dead eye accuracy.

Punter

Shane Lechler- 36 year old Lechler failed to gain all-pro honours for the 10th time in all in 2012 and ended his 12 year stint with the Raiders by signing for the Houston Texans. Although his great career is obviously in its twilight, he is arguably the best punter of all time and remains one of the best in the business and we would still love him in our team.

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Author: Dave

I have been an NFL fan since my first visit to the USA where I stayed in both Dallas and Houston. I have also visited New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Kentucky. I was hooked the first time I watched a Cowboys game whilst out there although I must confess I had little idea what was going on! Like a lot of British fans I just kept picking more and more up and now follow the NFL news daily and hopefully have a decent level of knowledge myself! I am a Cowboys fan for my sins, I loved the twin cities of Dallas-Fort Worth in my time there and the iconic Cowboys were of instant appeal. First and foremost however I'm a football fan and all my articles will be written impartially. I hope you enjoy our site, feel free to leave us your comments and opinions.

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