Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Our MVP for the year, Ryan led his team to a 13-3 record and did so with some remarkably clutch play on 3rd down and in the 4th quarter. Exponentially better in review than on the stat sheet.
LeGarrette Blount (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Rumor has it he started hurdling defensive backs because he felt sorry for the damage he was doing by contacting them. Led the league in breaking tackles with 50. Quite the achievement.
Ovie Mughelli (Atlanta Falcons)
Everyone seems to agree Mughelli was an All-Pro this year. As the fullback spot becomes a dying art, we’re inclined to agree.
Kellen Winslow (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
You won’t get much blocking from the NFC South tight ends, so we’re going luxury pick with the best receiving option. Only Antonio Gates graded out higher than Winslow.
Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints)
A real mismatch for teams when the Saints put him in the slot. Of all receivers targeted more than 100 times, Colston’s 66.7% catching of balls thrown his way is sixth highest.
Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons)
Seemed to run out of a bit of steam after a knee injury against Tampa slowed him down, and gives up too many (7) penalties. But our fourth ranked pure receiver (discounting blocking and penalties) made a ton of impressive sideline grabs for Atlanta.
Jordan Gross (Carolina Panthers)
Did an All-Pro voter actually vote for Sam Baker? Yikes. And another one for Donald Penn? Double yikes. Gross had a good year, and was by some distance the best left tackle in this division.
Carl Nicks (New Orleans Saints)
The best guard in football this year. By handing out a massive contract to the best guard in football (the 2009 version) last year, you wonder if the Saints have put a price on Nicks they cannot afford to pay.
Ryan Kalil (Carolina Panthers)
Outside of a couple of terrible displays (most notably against the Saints in week nine) Kalil had a good year. Somewhat disappointing considering his breakout 2009 but still one of the best in the league.
Harvey Dahl (Atlanta Falcons)
More than just a nasty player, Dahl finished the season as our third-ranked right guard.
Tyson Clabo (Atlanta Falcons)
Clabo could do with improving his run blocking, and he’ll have to learn to play Charles Johnson better given then mauling he gave him (twice). Still an above average tackle, even if he may have reached his ceiling.
Charles Johnson (Carolina Panthers)
As good a defensive end as there was in the league. Johnson had more QB disruptions (81) and defensive stops (48) than any other. If he didn’t play for Carolina, you would have heard more about him for sure.
Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Took some time to adjust to the NFL but really started to turn it on before injury ended his season prematurely. Our tenth ranked pass rusher from the DT spot.
Jonathan Babineaux (Atlanta Falcons)
Not as good as he was in 2009, Babineaux is nonetheless excellent at getting up the field. Even if this does sometimes lead to him being driven out of the play.
John Abraham (Atlanta Falcons)
Abraham played as well as he did in 2009. The only difference this year was improved coverage helped him turn those pressures into sacks.
James Anderson (Carolina Panthers)
He’ll make some mistakes, but the Panthers found a real playmaker in Anderson this year. So much so he finished third in our 4-3 OLB rankings.
Jon Beason (Carolina Panthers)
Switching positions didn’t help, and he didn’t perform quite as well as Dan Connor did in the middle. Snap count sees him make it ahead of his far less illustrious colleague.
Quincy Black (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Slightly better than Geno Hayes, Black wasn’t a superstar in any regard but graded positively in every facet of the game.
Brent Grimes (Atlanta Falcons)
At times (notably against Seattle) seemed like he could get his hand on any ball thrown at him. Shame his tackling (13 missed tackles) isn’t better, but one of the better young cornerbacks in the league.
Ronde Barber (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Life in the old dog yet, as Barber had his best season in a while. Really willing tackler helps his cause (even if it saw him miss his fair share).
Malcolm Jenkins (New Orleans Saints)
Very nearly Thomas Decoud’s spot, but while Jenkins was a liability at times he did make some big plays.
Roman Harper (New Orleans Saints)
Remember, this is a regular-season award. So if you can ignore that audition for worst safety game of all time vs. Seattle, you’ll see that Harper had a decent enough year as an in the box safety. Honest.
Matt Bryant (Atlanta Falcons)
Extremely clutch and dependable, Bryant had no trouble kicking balls through the uprights when the game was on the line.
Thomas Morestead (New Orleans Saints)
Good year for Morestead, who finished seventh in our punter rankings.
Eric Weems (Atlanta Falcons)
Weems finally got some credit for his returning after a game-changing return against Tampa. In all honesty, it’s been long overdue because of the constant good field position he gave the Falcons.
Dekoda Watson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The rookie finished with 11 special teams tackles. Not bad at all.