2013 PFF All-NFC North Team

The next stop in the PFF All-Division series is the NFC North courtesy of Nathan Jahnke.

| 3 years ago

2013 PFF All-NFC North Team

2012-All-NFC-North-FEATUREThis was a division that was wide open late in the season. Instead of a team winning a string of games to take control of the division, the winner was the team to best avoid collapsing.

When it comes to forming the division’s all-star team, the skill players are loaded to the point that some unbelievable players had to be left off the team. However, an argument could be made that there are defenses in the league today that are better than this collection which has seven of their eleven players come from the Lions.

For a look at the divisions we’ve already covered: EastNorthSouth, and West, and the NFC East.

Here’s our 2013 All-NFC North Team of the Year.


Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (GB)

There were definitely steps in the right direction made by Matthew Stafford, but it wasn’t enough to put him on the same level as Rodgers even though Rodgers missed a big part of the season. When healthy Rodgers is just too accurate a passer and for that reason he remains in his own class here.

Running Back: Eddie Lacy (GB)

While Adrian Peterson might be a better runner, and Matt Forte a better receiver, Eddie Lacy gets this spot for being the better all-around player. Lacy was among the best runners in the league and became a larger part of the passing game as the season went on. He also was among the best pass blocking backs which is typically something rookies struggle with and also something that Peterson and Forte aren’t great at.

Tight End: Martellus Bennett (CHI)

This was an easy choice for Bennett to make this team in his first year within the division. He was the best receiving tight end in the division while being on par with the others in blocking. Even if Jermichael Finley and Kyle Rudolph didn’t get hurt, Bennett’s ability to avoid tackles this year exceeded all other tight ends in the NFL.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson (DET), Brandon Marshall (CHI) and Jordy Nelson (GB)

Even though some teams in the NFC North often use a second tight end or fullback, it was impossible to not include at least three wide receivers. While Alshon Jeffery had an incredible sophomore season, the trio of Johnson, Marshall and Nelson were three of the top four rated wide receivers this year. If a team had all three of these receivers, I don’t know how they could lose.

Tackles: Riley Reiff (DET) and Phil Loadholt (MIN)

At left tackle, Reiff had a decent first year as a starter and was the only left tackle in the division who showed an ability to both pass and run block well. In each of the last three years Phil Loadholt has been among the top right tackles in run blocking which is enough to put him here. To strengthen the argument for him, he has continued to improve his pass blocking skills in recent years.

Guards: Josh Sitton (GB) and Larry Warford (DET)

While there were a number of good guards in this division, the duo of Sitton and Warford are in a league of their own. Sitton and Warford were two of the three guards in the NFL had a Pass Blocking Efficiency above 98. Not bad at all for a player who switched positions last offseason along with a third round rookie.

Center: John Sullivan (MIN)

All four centers in the division had at least a +7.2 overall grade this year, so you really can’t go wrong with any of the possible choices. We like centers who can pave the way for their running back, and no center in the division did this as well as Sullivan.


Defensive Tackles: Nick Fairley (DET) and Ndamukong Suh (DET)

The first choice was an easy one as Ndamukong Suh was by far the best defensive tackle against the run as well as pass rushing in the division. He received less national attention than in the past, but his fourth year was by far his best. You could argue Fairley or Kevin Williams in the last spot, but it’s a passing league and Fairley excelled at pass rushing.

Defensive Ends: Mike Daniels (GB) and Brian Robison (MIN)

Three of the four teams in the division play a 4-3 defense, so even though Daniels is a 3-4 defense end he is moved to an outside pass rusher here. While he slowed down as the season went on, it’s hard to find defensive linemen who are very good at both stopping the run and pass rushing and Daniels is one of those players. At the other defensive end spot is Brian Robison who quietly had 83 pressures on the year which was the third most of any player regardless position behind just Robert Quinn and J.J. Watt.

Linebackers: Erin Henderson (MIN), DeAndre Levy (DET) and Stephen Tulloch (DET)

Linebacker isn’t strength here in this division, but the duo from Detroit both were very accomplished as coverage linebackers which was enough to make it. Even though he has struggled in coverage, Erin Henderson was the best linebacker in the division against the run which was good enough for this team.

Cornerbacks: Rashean Mathis (DET) and Sam Shields (GB)

After spending most of the season as an average starter, Mathis had an excellent last quarter of the season with nearly as many passes defended with four as he did catches allowed at five over his last four games. Sam Shields had his ups and downs as the season went gone on, he only allowed a 50% catch rate thanks to 12 passes defended, and was only penalized twice on the year.

Safeties: Louis Delmas (DET) and Glover Quin (DET)

With so many disappointing safeties in the division, the Lions duo made these selections easy. They both had low catch rates allowed mixed in with some interceptions.


Kicker: Blair Walsh (MIN)

While he missed a few long field goals, he was much better on kickoffs than the others.

Punter: Sam Martin (DET)

His net yards per punt was two full yards higher than the other three punters in the division.

Returner: Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN)

The division had the only two kick returners with more than 1000 yards, but Patterson averaged more per return than Hester plus he had two touchdowns.

Special Teamer: Blake Costanzo (CHI)

While Gerald Hodges played as well on kickoffs, Costanzo also played well during punt plays.


Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Trhode1

    Ummm…1st visit to the site may be my last. Eddy Lacy is a better all around player than AP???

    What kind of drugs are you smoking?

    • mike

      Better wording would have been ‘had a better year’, because saying AP “might be” a better runner is down right absurd. Please don’t make this your last there is plenty of great content.

    • optimistic4thefuture

      This isn’t your run of the mill NFL site, and this wasn’t your run of the mill All-Division team thrown together based on skimming through the stats and injecting a columnists opinion. These AD teams are compiled using PFF’s advanced metrics; the same ones used by many GMs/scouts across the league. Opinion is only interjected in neck and neck races. Lacy HAD a better year than AP, every stat except total yards says so, no one is claiming AP isn’t the better player. So get off your pony.

      • Johnathan Wood

        AP and Forte both had better years in yards per carry.
        Forte was the best RB in the division this year both running and pass catching, I don’t care about their advanced metrics. Give me the most productive (and efficient) back, and that was Forte by a mile.

        • Johnathan Wood

          PFF says GB’s OL was better run blocking than Chicago’s.
          PFF says Lacy was better running than Forte.
          Yet Forte had 4.6 yards per carry to Lacy’s 4.1
          Forte also crushed Lacy in every passing category you could want (volume and efficiency) and finished with more total touchdowns.
          But yeah, sure, Lacy was better. Whatever.

          • Greg Maus

            since when? PFF graded Chicago overall third-highest in run-blocking. Green Bay was 19th. Not only did Chicago’s Oline grade 12 points higher in run-blocking, they also placed 3 wide receivers in the top 10 in run-blocking for their position. those receivers graded 25 points higher than the top GB receivers. that’s not even counting the fact that Lacy faced stacked fronts for half the season because of the inept backup qb’s. if you have so much trouble comprehending PFF, why do you even bother coming here?

          • Johnathan Wood

            Sorry, they have GB as a better overall OL, which is also laughable given that they gave up 50% more sacks.

            And don’t give me the stacked fronts garbage either. Lacy averaged 3.9 yards per carry when Rodgers was playing and 4.3 when Rodgers was out and he saw those “stacked fronts.”

            The fact is that, while Lacy had a good year, Peterson and Forte were both better. I’ll take production over arbitrary rankings any day of the week.

          • Johnathan Wood

            And yes, I know your next move is going to be to cite the number of pressures the two lines respectively allowed, according to PFF, who doesn’t know the play calls and what the offensive line is actually supposed to do.

            Having watched both of them play a lot this year, I can tell you Chicago’s offensive line was average while Green Bay’s was bad. So spare me.

          • bobrulz

            It doesn’t matter what the play call was, if they allow the quarterback to get pressured within a few seconds, it’s a failure of the offensive line or at least a failure by player or players along the offensive line. Period.

          • Greg Maus

            duh, that’s because they were playing different teams. Rodgers was hurt during the creampuff part of the schedule. if he had been in there, Lacy would’ve looked even better. idk why in the world you think that would be my next move when we are discussing the quality of run blocking each back received. how they are in pass blocking is irrelevant. thanks for making my point. Forte had better blocking to spring him loose. if you are too dull to utilize more than one stat, you should head back to espn where the kiddie stats like ypc are.

          • Johnathan Wood

            So now you’re hypothetically saying that Lacy would have looked better in some hypothetical scenario based on what evidence, exactly?

            Lacy’s stats were obviously helped by getting to face terrible run defenses in Chicago and Dallas without Rodgers. And he had the ankle injury at the end of the year.

            Doesn’t change the fact that there’s not a single shred of actual football evidence that says Lacy was the best running back in the NFC North this year. Those “kiddie stats” you deride me for using are the ones based on what actually happens on the field.

            I’m not saying Lacy sucks; he doesn’t. He just happens to play in a loaded division at running back.

            I’m also not saying PFF sucks. I thoroughly enjoy some of their stuff, especially the advanced statistics like yards per route run and passer rating targeting specific cornerbacks. That stuff is great and you can’t find it anywhere else.

            I just find that far too often their grades don’t match what I see with my own eyes and/or read from other people who have actually played, coached, or scouted in the NFL. Doesn’t mean PFF is always wrong, but to me their grading system is not one of the better ones out there, so I tend to not put much stock into it.

            When in doubt, I will ALWAYS take the more productive player over the one who somebody grades out better. If they produce on the field, that’s who I want on my team, advanced stats be damned.

            But advanced stats can be useful for helping find guys who may be overlooked and just need the chance to produce.

          • Greg Maus

            give me a break. how many snaps do you honestly watch for each player? not nearly as much as these guys. this is ALL based on what actually happens on the field. it is a team sport and your basic stats do not even attempt to consider how the other variables on the field affected the numbers or how to assess things like blocking.

          • RHO1953

            Ooh, disgruntled Bears fan. Are you still hurting from that last game?

      • Silver12345

        “…based on skimming through the stats and injecting a columnists opinion”

        Unfortunately, this is becoming a little too common at PFF.

        In truth, Isn’t this exactly what they did in regards to choosing Lacy over Forte?
        They “skimmed” to the stats that they wanted … i.e. RB Blocking stats (an asinine stat to base nearly any measure of a RB off of), and used it to bump up a guy who they wanted.

        No sane individual is going to value RB blocking over a dozen other important stats in selecting who the better RB is. And yet, that’s exactly what we are seeing here.

        The write up itself shows bias after bias after bias. Forte listed as “just” a better receiver when it was clear he was also the better runner … Lacy listed as the “best all-around back” as the clear reason he was selected, when he falls short of forte is nearly every category.
        Desperation starts setting in when you have to use a phrase like “became a larger part of the passing game as the season went on”

        to describe Lacy going from 1 catch a game at the beginning of the season to 2 catches a game at the end.

        I love PFF for what it is, but their bias for certain players becomes more and more evident all the time, and only serves to weaken their valid arguments and statistics.

        • Greg Maus

          how is using pass blocking stats asinine for rb’s? this isn’t fantasy football. you want to disregard 150+ snaps? that’s like 2 whole games. you are 10 times as biased as PFF ever was. The ONLY category Lacy falls short of Forte is in the receiving game, and he outperformed him in both blocking and rushing. Forte wasn’t a bad runner, but he was definitely not better than Lacy. Bears had the 3rd best run-blocking for Forte to run behind. Packers were 19th. Plus Lacy spent half the season playing against stacked fronts because of the garbage GB backup qb’s. PFF is obviously beyond your intellect.

          • Silver12345

            Wow … 2 whole games … out of 16 you freaking moron!!

            You just invalidated your own argument and were too stupid to even realize it.

            Lacy outperformed Forte as a runner? Really? By what measure? Please do tell … I’d love to hear this argument. Because the Bears had a better Line? That’s hilarious.

            The Bears were the 15th best Run blocking line … not the 3rd.


            And the Packers had the 26th …


            Wow … what a huge difference that must have been.
            It sure as hell wasn’t big enough of a difference to account for a half a yard per run difference between the two on the year. Unless of course you prefer to use PFF math for those kinds of things, then it all makes perfect sense.


          • Greg Maus

            rofl please keep going! I need the laughs! you obviously have never played a down of organized football in your life. Linemen are not the only players that block in the running game! The Bears TEAM had the 3rd highest run-blocking grade.


            and go tell your counselor to enroll you in a statistics class kid. 12% of snaps is entirely significant. you wanna ignore 12%? you seem to have no problem banking the 11% difference in ypc for the two backs. 15th to 26th is nothing? there’s only 32 teams in the league! 11 spots out of 32. thanks, come again.

            actually, on second thought, if you like ignoring data so much, this is the wrong site for you.

          • Silver12345

            You apparently have a lot of needs …
            Not the least of which would be some psychological assistance … followed closely by a bit of training in comprehension and understanding.
            Throwing out stats blindly isn’t proving any of your childish, ignorant points.

            YOU were the one throwing around the idea that the Bears line was just that much better than the Packers … which it wasn’t. The difference between the two was marginal at best in favor of the Bears and certainly NOT enough to warrant that being any kind of reason to assume that the clearly inferior rushing numbers that Lacy put up in comparison to Forte somehow made him the better “runner”. That’s not the way it works son.But I’m not surprised to hear such ignorance from someone who’s probably still struggling to get his GED.

            You can’t produce a single solitary stat that shows how Lacy was the better runner over Forte this season and you know it. Not without desperately grasping for things like run blocking efficiency from some third string TE or some other similarly absurd bullshit.

            So I’ll leave you to your pathetic junior high level stats and go back to living in the real world where we understand the game of Football.

          • Greg Maus

            wow, you continue to top yourself. the stats are meaningful, even if you are too dense to understand them.


            there is your proof. and marginal all depends on your definition of significant. I already showed you that the ypc difference you hang your hat on is just as marginal as the number of pass blocking snaps you want to throw out the window. still waiting to hear back on that point but I guess I need to give you a month to read the sentence. lol yes, profess your understanding of football when you haven’t played a single snap. which one of us is really grasping at straws? Non-starters had an insignificant impact on the rankings I provided. yet you are still struggling with the blocking statement. I’ll give you another month for that one. go ask someone who has played the game if you need a hint.

          • http://twitter.com/MPeriod M.

            What was Forte’s ypc average on plays with blown blocks vs Lacy’s

          • Silver12345

            Hey Nut Sack Rider … aka Greg Maus … still riding the PFF nut sack now?
            Now that they’ve gone and completely contradicted not only you, but themselves as well?

            Lacy #70 – https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/05/13/pffs-top-101-of-2013-70-to-61/

            Peterson #38 – https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/05/15/pffs-top-101-of-2013-40-to-31/

            But … but … I thought you said this wasn’t all subjective bias!
            That it all was because of some stupid Pass Blocking Stats for RBs.

            Oops, guess that’s not the case after all.
            Keep on Ridin there big boy.

          • Greg Maus

            Shoot, you’re right. So that’s why Forte was ranked all the way up at number….Oh, wait… Go back in your hole for another 4 months and learn to read, turd

          • Silver12345

            Yep, just as I suspected.
            All that time you rode their nut sack because you actually think they aren’t biased in their decisions.
            But turns out, they are.
            All that time trying to convince yourself and everyone else that there really MUST be a reason that Lacy would be put in the #1 spot … and surely it just HAD to do with his stellar pass blocking skills!! … ROFL!
            But no … turns out, it was all just personal bias and opinion after all … and several months later, PFF will just turn around for no apparent reason and take Peterson far ahead of Lacy …. BUT, BUT … how could this be?! I mean, clearly, according to this article, Lacy was the best all around RB in the division.
            ROFL … I’m dyin over here thinking about you trying to figure out some way to make an excuse for their blatant flip flopping … so you can continue to try and make yourself look like you, and your beloved PFF, aren’t full of crap.
            Good Luck with that.

          • Greg Maus

            blatant flip-flopping? they rated Peterson as their #4 RB and Lacy as their #5 RB. how is that a humongous difference in places? as usual, your intellect is woefully insufficient to follow anything done on this site. and while you are searching for more arguments I never made please go learn how weighting works in statistics. and make no mistake, you attempting to ‘think’ makes me ROFL just as much as it does you. so hilarious that you are so confident in your analysis when A) you have obviously never played the sport in any organized capacity, and B) lack the brainpower to compensate for ‘A’.

          • Silver12345

            Blah blah blah … “never played a sport” … blah blah blah … “lack of brainpower” … blah blah blah … you continue to spout off nonsense in a desperate attempt to cover for both yourself and PFF.
            You were wrong dude. Get over it.
            PFF just gave you a nice juicy kick in the balls, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. You played apologist for them and they turn around and stab you in the back.
            Not that I’m surprised considering the general intelligence level of most Packer fans.
            Time to come out from your mommies basement and join the rest of the world now.
            There’s not a single damn argument you can make now to even attempt to prove your case. You got caught throwing out irrelevant statistics just like PFF did and now you get to go down with their ship.
            Ahoy matey, maybe a Viking with come along and save your sorry Packer ass.

          • Greg Maus

            whatever helps you sleep at night, dumbass. ignorance of your own stupidity does not absolve you of it. maybe once you stop inventing arguments that were never made, you can get you can go back and finish your junior high and figure out how statistics work

          • Silver12345

            And you still can’t make a single argument now.
            God this is hilarious.
            All you’ve got now is to call names, whine some more, and act like a complete and utter asshat in an attempt to deflect from the cold hard facts.

            Fact #1: In this article, Lacy is a better all around player than Peterson.
            Fact #2: In the latest article, Peterson is a better all around player than Lacy.

            You were wrong and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
            Suck on that FudgePacker

        • Johnathan Wood

          Silver, they just used their own grades. They have Lacy overall graded significantly higher than Forte this year (due largely to running and blocking grades). No skimming required.

          Now as to how they arrived at that grade…

    • ATM

      Lacy is a better all-around back. He doesn’t get pulled out of the game on certain passing downs because he is smart enough to figure out blitz packages and pick up the correct assignment. But hey, AP almost gained as many yards from scrimmage.

    • RHO1953

      Lacy was more effective in 2013. This wasn’t a lifetime award. Whatever AP did in 2012 is irrelevant.

    • glrred

      Your right, not only that former coaches never really gave Peterson a chance to catch the ball. Zimmer said he was going to increase the throws to him. So we’ll see what happens with another reciever for the vikings

  • Rak43

    How about putting Rashean Mathis ahead of Charles Tillman and Tramon Williams who played as well as any CB in the league over the second half of the season,lmao.

  • Shane167

    uhhhhhhhhhhhh how can you say Lacy is a better all around player then AP? AP is only the best player in the league….no biggie