2014 PFF All-NFC North Team

Mike Mountford sets the lineup for an All-NFC North team dominated by the division's top two contenders.

| 2 years ago
2014-ALL-NFCN

2014 PFF All-NFC North Team


2014-ALL-NFCNFor the second year in a row the Green Bay Packers had to win the NFC North on the last game of the season, this time against the Detroit Lions who looked like a threat to stick around. The two contenders logically send strong contingents to the All-Division team: the Packers dominated the offensive side, landing eight of the 12 spots, and the Lions’ impressive defensive unit is well represented as well. While they were head and shoulders above Minnesota and Chicago this season, the Vikings and Bears managed to crack the lineup with a few of their own.

2014’s best at each position from the NFC North:

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (GB)

No surprises here as the best quarterback in the league is the NFC North division quarterback of the year.

Running back: Eddie Lacy (GB)

Lacy has become one of the best all-around running backs in the game; a threat in both the passing game and running game. The second-year player was the No. 2 graded running back in the passing game this season.

Fullback: Jerome Felton (MIN)

While the fullback position has been used less and less, Felton shows that there is still value when you have a dependable fullback leading the way.

Tight End: Martellus Bennett (CHI)

The Chicago Bears’ offense may have struggled last season, but that did not stop Bennett from showing well, logging the most catches and third-best yardage total for tight ends this season.

Wide Receiver: Jordy Nelson (GB) Calvin Johnson (DET)

The NFC North had three of the Top 10-graded wide receivers this season. Nelson broke the 1,500-yard barrier for the first time and Johnson graded at +16.5 despite dealing with an injury early in the season that caused him to miss three games.

Slot Receiver: Randall Cobb (GB)

Randall Cobb ran the most routes from the slot in the league, where he also led the league in catches, yards and touchdowns, posting a strong 2.13 Yards Per Pass Route Run along the way.

Tackles: Riley Reiff (DET) and Bryan Bulaga (GB)

In a year that most tackles struggled in the NFC North, both Reiff and Bulaga stood out. Reiff didn’t excel in any area, but put up a solid season in every facet of the game. Bulaga, on the other hand, was the second-best pass blocking right tackle in the game.

Guards: Josh Sitton (GB) and T.J. Lang (GB)

The Packers had one of the top two guard pairings (the other being the Ravens) in Sitton and Lang. Sitton was outstanding all season in the pass game, leading the league in Pass Blocking Efficiency at 98.7 (allowed 10 total pressures) while Lang shined in the running game.

Center: Corey Linsley (GB)

The fourth member of the Packer offensive line to make the team is Corey Linsley. The fifth-round rookie was meant to struggle this season stepping in for an injured J.C. Tretter, however, Linsley performed way above his draft status and ended the year as the fifth graded center and the anchor on our All-Rookie team.

DEFENSE

Edge Defenders: Julius Peppers (GB) and Ezekiel Ansah (DET)

The old and new to collide with Peppers and Ansah getting the nod on the edge. Peppers gave the Packers another edge rusher they where desperately needing, while Ansah made a second-year leap to the point where we can just wonder where his ceiling will be.

Defensive Interior – Ends: Mike Daniels (GB) and Ndamukong Suh (DET)

Ndamukong Suh has been one of the league’s best interior pass rushers, but this season he produced his best all-around performance. Daniels has pushed his way into the conversation as one of the better 3-4 ends in the league, his balanced play landing him in the Top 10 of the group for the second straight season.

Defensive Interior – Nose: Jay Ratliff (CHI)

After struggling to even get on the field for the last couple seasons, Ratliff showed when he is healthy he can still preform at a high level. His usual self as a force in the passing game, he had the third-best Pass Rush Productivity for defensive tackles at 9.5 (33 total pressures), but also produced his best work as a run defender.

Linebackers: DeAndre Levy (DET) and Anthony Barr (MIN)

DeAndre Levy had a great season in his role as a traditional 4-3 OLB, where he produced 49 stops in the run game and only missing seven tackles. With Barr still learning to become a 4-3 OLB, he was never a liability as a run defender or in coverage and when given the opportunity to rush the passer, he was able to show the athletic ability that got him drafted so high.

Cornerbacks: Rashean Mathis (DET) and Xavier Rhodes (MIN)

Since coming to the Lions, Mathis has shown he can still play, this season finishing as the 12th-highest-graded corner and giving up just 0.86 yards per cover snap. Rhodes’ excellent work in coverage (+7.3, 14th) made up for the work he needs against the run (-4.5, 107th).

Slot Cornerback: Casey Hayward (GB)

Casey Hayward has become one of the premier slot corners in the league. On 225 coverage snaps in the slot, Hayward allowed just 16 catches on 25 targets for 168 yards.

Safeties: Harrison Smith (MIN) and Glover Quin (DET)

The NFC North gives us two of the best safeties last season. Smith was excellent as a run defender, able to come up from his safety spot and act as an added linebacker in the box while Quin was one of the league’s best cover safeties, leading the NFL in interceptions.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Blair Walsh (MIN)

Blair Walsh was easily the best kicker in the NFC North thanks in part to his good work on kickoffs and connecting on five FGs from 50+ yards.

Punter: Sam Martin (DET)

The No. 3 punter last season, had no competition as the second-year pro is getting better and better, he is on his way to become one of the leagues best specialists.

Returner: Marcus Sherels (MIN)

Sherels only had four kickoff returns, but he led the division with 297 yards as a punt returner to get him on to the division team.

Special Teamer: Adam Thielen (MIN)

Adam Thielen made the PFF All-Pro Special Teams team thanks to his blocking on kickoffs and the 10 tackles he recorded.

 

Follow Michael on Twitter: @PFF_MikeM

  • Jaguars28

    Great to see Rashean still playing well

  • mutzki

    Looking at this you get an understanding why the North has been won by GB for years.

    • GBFAN

      The whole roster just feeds off having Aaron Rodgers starring in an NFL-programmed Passing League.

  • Jason Williams

    Two Words. Chris. Conte. Show the love for the NFL’s worst Free Safety.

    • Tim Edell

      Chris Conte is not the worst Free Safety in the NFL- actually this year he played alright but could not stay healthy. Ideally he would be a #3 safety on a team and be a backup. He is obviously better in coverage and struggles coming up to make tackles especially in the open field. Every “so called Bear fan” blames everything that happens on the Bears D on Conte because of the Packer game last yearl. By no means am I saying he is a quality starter but he not anywhere close to the worst safety in the league.

      • Jason Williams

        Did you watch the end of the Week 1 Buffalo game where Fred Jackson treated him like a rag doll and Conte obliged without putting up much of a fight?

        • Tim Edell

          So your basing his season on 1 play?? Cmon man have a little more knowledge about the game then that!!

          • Jason Williams

            The comment section does not allow enough space to enumerate all of Conte’s failings. Anecdotes will have to suffice.

          • Wyzel

            We could put up footage of him getting stiff armed by AP the year before. Once may not mean anything, but every year its a trend.

          • Jason Williams

            someone has to have put together a youtube compilation of chris conte getting owned time after time after time…

          • Dan Marcoux

            I’m workin on it. Gonna be a masterpiece. I’d feel better with scarecrow at safety….it might accidentally trip someone. Conte can’t even do that

          • Jason Williams

            oh please share when it’s done. I require clips of Conte doing more damage to grass than running backs charging at him.

      • HernandezCelly

        Cris Conte reminds me alot of Tom Waddle. Only difference being Waddle had that dumb look on his face from multiple concussions every game, Conte comes by it naturally. I miss Waddle, a lifetime of brain damage was a small price to pay to have John Madden yell “WHAM!!!” After every catch and concussion over the middle.

    • bear fan

      no, fuck that bum

  • goreman

    I’m surprised Micah Hyde wasn’t the returner pick. I’d take two TDs and a better average over total years. meh.

  • Kevin

    28 total spots. 12 offense, 12 defense, 4 ST’s.

    GB- total with 8 offense and 3 defense. 75% of offensive team was from GB.

    Det- 8 total with 2 offense 5 defense and 1 ST.

    Minn- 7 total with 1 offense 3 defense and 3 ST.

    Chi- with a grand total of(drum roll please) 2 both on defense.

    GB absolutely dominated the offensive side of the ball with the starting QB, starting RB, #1 WR, slot WR, and 4 of 5 OL. Only their LT, FB, and TE didn’t make the list. Kuhn probably should of been the FB, he had the better blocking grade but graded lower overall because of -2 in penalties(Kuhn also had 3x as many pass blocking attempts).

    Det had nearly half of the Defense and a player make the list from basically ever position. DE, DT, LB, CB, and Safety. Probably could of had both starting CB’s considering Slay graded nearly +4 higher than Rhodes even though Rhodes did have the higher coverage grade.

    Minn obviously dominated the ST group with 3 of 4 players but I dont fully agree with the choices as I explain below.

    Hyde probably deserved returner over Sherels. Both had same amount of
    KR(4) with Sherels having 14 more yards but a longest return of 18 more
    yards than Hyde. PR Sherels got more chances(nearly double) but averaged
    4.8 yards per attempt less plus didn’t have a TD while Hyde had 2. Hyde
    also led the league in PR average by 2.5 yards per attempt and led the
    league in overall return TD’s.

    at Kicker, Walsh was the choice even though he had the worst accuracy among the 4 kickers in the NFC North. Crosby was the highest at 81.8%, Prater 80.8%, Gould 75%, Walsh 74.3%(2nd worst in NFL). From 50- Crosby 4-7(57.1) Prater 3-5(60) Gould 0-1(0) Walsh 5-9(55.6). I find it hard to blame Crosby for the 3 blocked kicks or w.e he had this year considering how bad GB’s ST’s were overall(evidenced by the SEA game if people weren’t aware). Not saying Crosby should have won, I’m just confused how Walsh was considered the best when he had the 2nd lowest accuracy among all kickers in the NFL this year.

    • Mal Reynolds

      If you read the reasons they factor in the amount of touchbacks Walsh had as a reason for selecting him. I guess you could totally ignore that for blind homerism. It would be pretty easy to come on here as a Vikings fan and argue that Everson Griffen should be on the list instead of Julius Peppers or Sharif Floyd over Mike Daniels, You cant blindly accept all the picks that are from Green Bay then argue over everyone else.

      • Seattle Steve

        lol Floyd over Daniels?
        Griffen over Peppers…

        Fail.

        • Wyzel

          Griffen over peppers isnt a stretch by any means. griffen has more sacks by 3, hurries by 9 and stops by 17, less missed tackles and more tackles. Floyd and daniels are about equal when you look at stats, etc so that one you could go either way. They are harder to compare due to where they play on the line though compared to LE vs a Rush OLB.

          • ATM

            How many TDs and INTs did Griffen have? How many passes defensed? Griffen and Pepper don’t usually play the same position. Sometimes Peppers played DE but he also played DT, rush LB and drop LB and he did a hell of a job in all 4.

      • Kevin

        Daniels had 44(7/11/26) pressures, 39 tackles, and 36 stops to 30(5/5/20)pressures, 27 tackles, 26 stops for Floyd. Another thing going against Floyd was a majority of his production came in a 5 game stretch in the middle of the season. He had 80% of his sacks, 50% of total pressures, over 50% of his stops and was +18.3 in those games. So in his other 9 games he had a total grade of 3.7.

        Not gonna lie, that is an awesome 5 game stretch but a very underwhelming performance for a majority of the other 9 games. Considering his last game was +3.4 that means the other 8 games were +.3. If he was more consistent I believe Minn fans would have a legit argument.

      • Kevin

        I believe I said I wasn’t lobbying for Crosby. I was more or less pointing out that Walsh really performed poorly on FG’s. I think missing one of every 4 FG’s just isn’t good enough to be considered the best in the NFC North.

        The only reason Hyde didn’t win is because of his lack of attempts. He didn’t return KO’s until basically playoffs because he was a big contributor on defense and GB was trying to conserve him and Cobb and that’s also why they split time on PR’s. I personally take Hyde as the NFC North returner for all the things I mentioned above. They both had very limited attempts as a KR so its hard to compare anything there but on PR. I’ll take the player with 2 TD’s on 14 PR’s and over 15 yards per return which was by far the best in the NFL.

        I don’t think many people would argue with that outside of Minn fans. This really doesn’t matter to me though, I was just stating my opinion that Hyde was the better returner even if his attempts were limited.

    • Bruce Conrad

      Bears in Superbowl? No. Packers in Superbowl? NO. Score? 0 to 0. Only score that counts.

    • Inigo Montoya

      Martellis Bennett plays TE, I’m pretty sure that’s on the offensive side of the ball, just sayin.

    • Anthony Schroeder

      I mean not that it is fair to the rest of the division, but IMHO Crosby should have won on his Championship game preformance alone….

  • Jello

    The two selections I really disagree with are the inclusion of Anthony Barr over Clay Mathews and the inclusion of Julius Peppers over Everson Griffen. Peppers played really well in the playoffs, but if this is a regular season comparison I don’t think he beats out Griffen. I’d also probably put Floyd above Neal given their near identical production with Floyd playing two less games.

    • Tim Edell

      I definitley agree that Everson Griffin belonged on this list.

      • ATM

        Not over Peppers. The dude did it all in GB. Sacks, pressure, forced 6 fumbles and recovered 3, 2 INTs both returned for TDs, 11 passes defensed. Peppers does it all. Griffen had a hell of a season but Peppers was just a better player this past season.

        • Anthony Schroeder

          Peppers was a god somehow. I didn’t expect 1/5th of the production he gave us.

  • Brian Dugan

    As a Packers fan, I just can’t understand how Casey Hayward doesn’t get on the field more… Micah Hyde played more to fortify our run defense in Nickel situations, but Hayward needs to start next year. He makes Tramon expendable and I really respect Tramon’s game.

    • wiguyinmn

      Hayward can’t play outside very well at all. He does not make Tramon expendable.

      • Brian Dugan

        We don’t know that as we didn’t see him out there at all this year. I think it’s pretty crazy to assume his slot corner ability can’t translate to the outside at all.

        • Phillip

          People do the same BS with Cobb. Just because he’s a slot in Green Bays offense and that’s where they keep him most the time, it automatically means to them that he can’t play outside. Smart people logic I guess.

      • Kevin

        In 2014 Hayward had 51 total coverage snaps where he didn’t line up in the slot according to PFF and allowed 1 reception.

        In 2012 he had 95 coverage snaps while not in the slot, was targeted 17 times, gave up 6 receptions and had 4 INTs.

        So… Not sure where the proof is that he CANT do it. If anything there is far more proof that he can based off these stats.

        With 2013 added(4 snaps) he had 150 snaps, 18 targets, 7 receptions, 0 TD’s, 4 INT’s.

      • Guest

        So much for you prediction huh?? I guess Ted Thompson and the Packers have a very different feeling about what Casey Hayward does.

    • Kevin

      I agree. I’m a huge fan of Hayward and feel unless Tramon comes back for cheap he shouldn’t be back at all.

      As far as Hayward goes, I’ve said it numerous times. I’m absolutely shocked how little Hayward has been used. 2015 is his final year on his rookie contract and they really need to see what they truly have in him. I’ll be so disappointed if he is used sparingly again and leaves for more playing time. IMO that would be a critical loss especially in exchange for Hyde who is completely inferior in coverage.

      Hayward is hands down one of the best slot CB’s in the NFL and I truly want to see what he can be as a #2 on the outside. Shields will be GB’s #1 again next season but Hayward could definitely make those 2 one of the better duos in the NFL IMO.

      Because of Hayward, I truly wouldn’t care if neither House or Williams are brought back next year. If that were the case, they probably need to draft a developmental CB but Hyde will obviously man the slot again. Those 3 along with Burnett and HHCD form a very formidable secondary that I fully trust.

      My comments always drag on and end 5x as long as I intended. IDK how you guys always keep your comments so short. I just cant say all I want to say in that small amount of numbers. No wonder I don’t use Twitter

      • Boompa2

        Great analysis, Kevin. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hayward become #1 CB. Shields seemed to have a slight drop off from the year before. Draft another this year and see what Goodson can offer.

        • Kevin

          Hayward is a very good slot CB and could play on the outside IMO but Shields matches up better with outside CB’s and will remain the #1 CB in GB. Shields potential is so insanely high and has fared very well against the top WR’s over the last 2 or so years except Julio Jones obviously. If you minus that game from Shields resume, over the last 2 years, very few CB’s have done better against the best in the NFL IMO.

        • Guest

          I actually read somewhere that after the 1st 6 weeks of the season, Shields was grading out on a level that would have graded him out as a top 5 CB for the season. His 1st 6 weeks he had a very strong positive grade, but once he got injured and then returned, he had one of worst stretches for grading out of any CB last year, but started to bounce back over his last 4-5 with a positive overall grade. If Shields could just stay healthy, he has the potential to be a top 5-10 CB in the league, he just has so many injury issues, hopefully 2015 will be different, and if it is i believe with Shields and Hayward we could possibly have one of the top CB duo’s in the NFL. Hopefully they can both stay healthy.

  • tee

    Lang and Sitto, you’re kidding right?

    • Anthony Schroeder

      Sitton had one of the best Pass defending seasons in NFL history, not allowing a single sack in over 1000 snaps. No one else in the league came even close.,..