Our midseason PFF All-Pro Team
Our midseason PFF All-Pro Team
Amazingly enough, we’ve only found room for one New York Giants player to start, which says a lot about the consistent overall play we’re seeing from all their units.
Meanwhile, we’ve got multiple players from mediocre situations in Minnesota, San Diego, Miami and San Francisco, and there is an awful lot of representation from the much-mocked AFC West.
Goes to show what we always reinforce: Football is a team game, and every team has players who are absolutely doing their part.
Quarterback — Philip Rivers, San Diego (+36.7)
Rivers has gotten better and better in carrying his team toward contention in the AFC West. Hard to go against Peyton Manning, but Rivers has just thrown more good balls.
Backup: Peyton Manning (Indianapolis)
Running Back — Jamaal Charles, Kansas City (+15.9)
His 6.4 yards per carry leads the league, while his 3.4 yards after contact per carry is third. Charles was elite at the end of last year and has been elite all of this year. Tremendous talent only limited by the amount of touches he gets.
Backup: Adrian Peterson (Minnesota)
Fullback — Vonta Leach, Houston (+5.0)
Not a great year for fullbacks, and Leach hasn’t exactly been consistent after a phenomenal start to the year.
Backup: Korey Hall (Green Bay)
Tight End — Zach Miller, Oakland (+12.2)
It may seem ludicrous that we could ignore Antonio Gates, but we value blocking in a tight end, and Gates just isn’t a good blocker. He’ll make it as a reserve to the all-around talent that is Miller this year.
Backup: Antonio Gates (San Diego)
Wide Receiver — Brandon Lloyd, Denver (+14.7)
A truly amazing year that not even Lloyd himself probably saw coming. If he could rap as well as he’s played football this year, he’d have sold millions of records. A true deep threat. On the football field.
Backup: Andre Johnson (Houston)
Wide Receiver — Percy Harvin, Minnesota (+8.5)
Really coming into his own this year, even if it is lost in all the Vikings’ drama. Keeps on making plays despite his injury problems.
Backup: Hakeem Nicks (New York Giants)
Slot Receiver — Davone Bess, Miami (+10.3)
Always seems to find a way to get open on third down, catching a ridiculously high 77.6 percent of passes thrown his way and forcing eight missed tackles (more than any other receiver).
Backup: Austin Collie (Indianapolis)
Left Tackle — Jake Long, Miami (+16.7)
Yet to give up a sack and playing the way pretty much all left tackles should aspire to. I say this every time I mention him, but how could people think he couldn’t play left tackle in the NFL? Come on, gentlemen!
Backup: D‘Brickashaw Ferguson (New York Jets)
Left Guard — Carl Nicks, New Orleans (+20.7)
Jahri Evans got a massive contract without playing this well. Nicks just owns pretty much every man he comes up against.
Backup: Wade Smith (Houston)
Center — Matt Birk, Baltimore (+11.8)
The most consistent center in the league, and most consistent performer on the Ravens’ offensive line. Minnesota must forever be looking at him and wishing they’d never let him go.
Backup: Chris Myers (Houston)
Right Guard — Josh Sitton, Green Bay (+11.6)
We liked Sitton last year, and we like him more this year. Equally strong when it comes to his pass and run blocking, the Packers’ right guard has established himself as one of the best offensive linemen around.
Backup: Bobbie Williams (Cincinnati)
Right Tackle — Kareem McKenzie, New York Giants (+17.7)
You want your right tackle to be a mauler in the run game, and McKenzie is hands-down the best run-blocking tackle in the league right now. He’s just dominating opponents.
Backup: Damien Woody (New York Jets)
4-3 Defensive Front
Defensive End — Trent Cole, Philadelphia (+33.9)
We’ve endorsed him for our defensive player of the year, so there’s no chance he doesn’t make this team. Has been elite this year, leading defensive ends in quarterback disruptions.
Backup: Chris Clemons (Seattle)
Defensive Tackle — Kyle Williams, Buffalo (+24.4)
The Bills have moved between 3-4 and 4-3, but for the most part Williams has played in a four-man line in base packages. Regardless, he has been immense for the Bills, and our highest-rated overall tackle.
Backup: Fred Robbins (St Louis)
Defensive Tackle — Jason Jones, Tennessee (+23.0)
The most menacing of all inside pass-rushers, Jones is tied for the lead among tackles in quarterback disruptions with 24 and hasn’t let this affect his ability in the run game.
Backup: Richard Seymour (Oakland)
Defensive End — Julius Peppers, Chicago (+25.7)
Earning serious praise for his excellent all-around game. Peppers hasn’t produced the sacks people would want, but the pressure is there and there isn’t a better run-defending end in the league right now.
Back up: Charles Johnson (Carolina)
Outside Linebacker — Kamerion Wimbley, Oakland (+15.3)
A revelation since moving to the Raiders. Has done well as a pass-rusher in nickel situations (20 total QB disruptions) but his best work has been in run defense, where he does a lot of the important stuff that doesn’t hit a stat sheet.
Backup: Michael Boley (New York Giants)
Middle Linebacker — James Laurinaitis, St Louis (+14.8)
Flashed talent in 2009 but combined that with some rookie mistakes. This year he’s making plays in every area of the game and looking like the most complete middle linebacker in the league.
Backup: Ray Lewis
Outside Linebacker — Chad Greenway, Minnesota (+10.4)
Hasn’t made as many plays as James Anderson, but is a more complete player and much better in run defense. Grades in the green in every area we look at.
Backup: James Anderson (Carolina)
3-4 Defensive Front
Defensive End — Justin Smith, San Francisco (+17.7)
After a slow start, we wondered if Smith was a one-season wonder. He isn’t. Has picked up the pace and is an absolute terror for guards right now.
Backup: Cullen Jenkins (Green Bay)
Nose Tackle — Aubrayo Franklin, San Francisco (+9.6)
Best run-stuffing nose tackle in the league at the moment. Won’t bring any pass rush with him, but super active when teams try to run up the gut.
Backup: Antonio Garay (San Diego)
Defensive End — Mike Devito, New York Jets (+11.1)
Just gets the nod over teammate Shaun Ellis for his work in run defense. Highest-ranked 3-4 end against the run, even if he doesn’t offer a great deal (especially compared to Ellis) getting after the quarterback.
Outside Linebacker — Tamba Hali, Kansas City (+35.6)
Leads the league in quarterback disruptions (60), which more than makes up for some rank average run defense.
Backup: Clay Matthews (Green Bay)
Inside Linebacker — Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (+22.5)
Timmons just keeps making plays in the run game, getting pressure when he blitzes and making plays in coverage. He was good last year, but he’s one of the best defensive players in the league this year.
Backup: Derrick Johnson (Kansas City)
Inside Linebacker — Bart Scott, New York Jets (+22.4)
There isn’t a defender in the league who takes on (and beats) blocks like Scott. Wherever he plays, he makes it so much easier for his teammates to make plays.
Backup: Patrick Willis (San Francisco)
Outside Linebacker — James Harrison, Pittsburgh (+25.0)
Edges out Clay Matthews on the back of his superior run defense. May have thrown his toys out of the pram with the helmet-hit controversy, but the league is a better place with him in it.
Backup: DeMarcus Ware (Dallas)
Cornerback — Brandon Flowers, Kansas City (+13.9)
Was proven human by Jacoby Ford but up until then had been superb, allowing just 47.5 percent of passes thrown his way to be complete.
Backup: Champ Bailey (Denver)
Safety — Quintin Mikell, Philadelphia (+9.8)
Has excelled in coverage this year and possibly the most complete safety in the league over the past three years. Yet, how often do we hear his name?
Backup: Chris Hope (Tennessee)
Safety — Eric Weddle, San Diego (+9.3)
Our No. 2-ranked safety has continued to improve in the deep safety spot, showing great awareness and recognition to snuff out as many run plays as he has.
Backup: Michael Huff (Oakland)
Cornerback — Tramon Williams, Green Bay (+12.7)
Has built on an underrated 2009 to be one of the league’s standout cornerbacks this year. Getting his hands to 10 balls (seven breakups and three interceptions) as often as any defensive back.
Backup: Jabari Greer (New Orleans)
Kicker — Josh Scobee, Jacksonville (+9.0)
Perfect on the year, including that big, game-winning kick against the Colts. Solid on kickoffs.
Backup: Rob Bironas (Tennessee)
Punter — Shane Lechler, Oakland (+12.6)
A max hang time of 5.20 seconds and second in the league with 42.1 net yards.
Backup: Steve Weatherford (New York Jets)
Returner — Javier Arenas, Kansas City (+6.0)
The only rookie to make the team will also be acting as our nickel back. Superb on punt returns.
Back up: Brandon Banks (Washington)
Special Teamer — John Wendling, Detroit (+4.0)
Leads the Lions in special teams tackles with 15, and has yet to miss one.
Back up: Corey Graham (Chicago)