PFF Rewind: 2007 NFC Pro Bowl
We always want to give you a little more and we always want to learn a little more. It’s why we’ve spent the past two offseasons reaching back to collect grades and data for the 2007 NFL season, with the results proving incredibly interesting.
All of our Premium Members get the grades and premium stats as they would for any other season, but there’s no reason we can’t share some findings with the masses. And what better way than a little “PFF Rewind” regarding what he Pro Bowl looked like, and how it should have turned out.
And now, the NFC.
(Starters denoted with *)
Actual Choices: Brett Favre* (GB), Tony Romo (DAL) and Matt Hasselbeck (SEA)
PFF Picks: Drew Brees*(NO), Kurt Warner (ARZ) and Jeff Garcia (TB)
All change here with the only real decision whether Tony Romo warranted selection over Jeff Garcia. In the end, his tough end to the season saw him pipped to the post. Brees, who was our third-ranked passer on the year, was a real no brainer while Favre missed out for his incredibly erratic display down the stretch when the conditions got tougher.
Actual Choices: Adrian Peterson* (MIN), Marion Barber III (DAL) and Brian Westbrook (PHI)
PFF Picks: Brian Westbrook*(PHI), Adrian Peterson (MIN) and Marion Barber III (DAL)
No change here except for Westbrook getting the start. No back ranked higher overall and so, while Peterson would earn a better grade for his running, Westbrook gets the nod thanks to his work in the passing game. It’s close, though, so don’t read too much into it.
Actual Choice: Tony Richardson (MIN)
PFF Picks: Ovie Mughelli (ATL)
One of those reputation picks. Richardson was our 15th-ranked fullback and didn’t even get up to 300 snaps on the year. Mughelli had the highest run blocking grade of any back.
Actual Choices: Larry Fitzgerald*(ARZ), Terrell Owens*(DAL), Donald Driver (GB) and Torry Holt (SL)
PFF Picks: Larry Fitzgerald*(ARZ), Terrell Owens*(DAL), Bobby Engram (SEA) and Torry Holt (SL)
The only change here is to replace Donald Driver with Bobby Engram. That’s not a knock on Driver who was a big threat after the catch as evidenced by his 21 forced missed tackles. But Engram was a real star in finishing with the fifth-highest receiving grade and a real weapon from the slot especially.
Actual Choices: Jason Witten*(DAL) and Chris Cooley (WAS)
PFF Picks: Jason Witten*(DAL) and Donald Lee (GB)
It’s easy to see why Witten made it. He was comfortably the most complete tight end in the league at this point and well worth the start. But Cooley? We’re going to guess he got the nod on his yardage total rather than his all-around play. While Lee had over 200 fewer receiving yards, his excellent work in the blocking department more than made up for this.
Actual Choices: Flozell Adams*(DAL), Walter Jones*(SEA) and Chris Samuels (WAS)
PFF Picks: Jordan Gross* (CAR), Walter Jones*(SEA) and Chris Samuels (WAS)
At this stage in their careers Jones and Samuels could have phoned it in and still got Pro Bowl endorsement. So credit to them that their spots were earned. The big change, therefore, is finding a right tackle to replace Adams. Luckily it just so happens Gross had the highest grade of any tackle and was well worth his spot. Adams, who earned a -10.8 grade, thanks in part to 14 penalties and some horrible run blocking, can stay at home.
Actual Choices: Leonard Davis*(DAL), Steve Hutchinson*(MIN) and Shawn Andrews (PHI)
PFF Picks: Chris Snee*(NYG), Rich Seubert*(NYG) and Jahri Evans (NO)
Leonard Davis was never really in consideration but both Hutchinson and Andrews weren’t a million miles away from selection. They lose out because of the brilliance of the Giants’ duo who were criminally overlooked in having tremendous seasons. The last spot was a choice between Andrews and Evans, with Evans just edging out Andrews in his sophomore season.
Actual Choices: Andre Gurode* (DAL) and Matt Birk (MIN)
PFF Picks: Chris Spencer*(SEA) and Jeff Faine (NO)
It wasn’t a great year for centers in the NFC, but neither Birk or Gurode earned their selection with the two both getting negative grades. In the end, it’s worth realizing this was Chris Spencer at his best, with a consistent season that earned him the third-highest grade of all his peers. Faine just about did enough to hold off the challenge of McClure.
Actual Choices: Aaron Kampmann*(GB), Patrick Kerney*(SEA) and Osi Umenyiora (NYG)
PFF Picks: John Abraham*(ATL), Michael Strahan*(NYG) and Osi Umenyiora (NYG)
Kampmann and Kerney made this on the back of their sack numbers despite over half their sacks coming in three games. Neither had a bad year but in the grand scheme of things neither can compare to the constant pressure that Abraham or Umenyiora got, or the all round play of Strahan.
Actual Choices: Kevin Williams*(MIN), Pat Williams*(MIN) and Tommie Harris (CHI)
PFF Picks: Kris Jenkins*(CAR), Shaun Rogers*(DET) and Kevin Williams (MIN)
Just half of the ‘Williams Wall’ gets through our selection process, though that owed more to how good Jenkins and Rogers were than any flaw in Pat. The bigger of the Vikings’ defensive tackles had a fine year against the run but both Jenkins and Rogers weren’t off what he achieved here and added an awful lot rushing the passer. In the case of the Panther, that meant he got the second highest grade of all defensive tackles.
Actual Choices: Julian Peterson*(SEA), DeMarcus Ware*(DAL) and Lance Briggs (CHI)
PFF Picks: DeMarcus Ware* (DAL), Michael Boley* (ATL) and Leroy Hill (SEA)
It was nice to see a couple of 4-3 outside linebackers get through, but still a shame that they got it wrong. Peterson owes his spot to his double digit sack numbers while Briggs would be worth a spot in most years. It’s just that Boley and Hill were that little bit better, making more plays on passing downs against the better work in the run game for the Bear.
Actual Choices: Lofa Tatupu*(SEA) and Patrick Willis (SF)
PFF Picks: Patrick Willis*(SF) and Karlos Dansby (ARZ)
While Tatupu didn’t have a bad year, it does a disservice to Dansby and Bradie James that he got in over them. It was an extremely competitive year at this spot, though, with guys like Nick Barnett and Barrett Ruud impressive.
Actual Choices: Al Harris*(GB), Marcus Trufant*(SEA) and Terence Newman (DAL)
PFF Picks: Marcus Trufant*(SEA), Mike McKenzie* (NO) and Charles Tillman (CHI)
One of the more stunning picks in the selection of Harris. His -15.1 grade was second worst of all cornerbacks. Ouch. Newman missed around a quarter of the regular season snap-wise, and that’s what held him back in a strong NFC allowing McKenzie and Tillman room to creep in — both of whom had better seasons than their interception number would suggest.
Actual Choices: Sean Taylor*(WAS) and Ken Hamlin (DAL)
PFF Picks: Sean Taylor*(WAS) and O.J. Atgowe (SL)
There’s no sentimentality in retaining Taylor. Even appearing in nine games he still had the third-highest grade of any safety in the NFC. Atogwe is well worth inclusion over Hamlin (who had a decent enough year himself) with his work in coverage earning the second highest grade of all safeties.
Actual Choice: Darren Sharper (MIN)
PFF Picks: Jermaine Phillips (TB)
It wasn’t that Sharper had a bad year, just that Phillips was better. Our fourth-ranked safety on the year, this was the last good year the Bucs got out of him and some year it was.
Actual Choice: Andy Lee (SF)
PFF Pick: Nick Harris (DET)
Punting is more than just about yards, and by our method it meant Harris was the most effective punter.
Actual Choice: Nick Folk (DAL)
PFF Pick: Jason Hanson (DET)
Earned this with his superior work on kicks from 50 yards plus than Ryan Longwell.
Actual Choice: Devin Hester (CHI)
PFF Pick: Steve Breaston (ARZ)
Breaston didn’t have the touchdowns Hester did, but his consistent ability to get more yards than his blocking gave him got him the second highest returner grade of all players.
Actual Choice: Brendon Ayanbadejo (CHI)
PFF Pick: Brendon Ayanbadejo (CHI)
No complaints here. Ayanbadejo finished fourth in the league with 18 special teams tackles but his impact went beyond that.
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