At about this time of year, we begin to get an idea of who will be starting in the Pro Bowl and what the "All-Madden" team of 2011 would look like. Since the final Pro Bowl results usually disappoint me in some areas, I thought I'd do a quick post about the team I would construct of the NFL's best right now.
Now, an article like this is usually opinion-based but the players selected have clearly proven themselves. But with so many players having good seasons, it simply depends on who you like in a lot of areas. For instance, we've seen a lot of good things from a lot of different wide receiver's this year; same goes for rush linebackers.
I'm going to leave offensive linemen out of this one because I don't feel I can offer a fair assessment as I have not seen all the offensive lines an equal amount. And I will select defensive ends and tackles not based on whether they play a 3-4 or 4-3, but based on performance and favoritism. Try not to mind it being unconventional, it's just meant to inspire conversation and thought.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Wes Welker, New England Patriots
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
David Akers, San Francisco 49ers
Andy Lee, San Francisco 49ers
Devin Hester, Chicago Bears
Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
I know players like LeSean McCoy or Matt Forte aren't listed but I can make a strong case for the three backs listed. Gore might be the toughest of the three to argue as a top-three running back in the NFL but 49ers fans know how much he does. Already this year Gore has put together some clutch performances; against the Eagles when the Niners needed a play or even the two long rips he had against the Lions -- both games on the road.
Vernon Davis didn't make the list, and not because he's not an elite tight end but because the numbers aren't there this year. The seasons by Gronkowski and Graham are too hard to ignore and it looks like these two might be around for a while. Davis' season has been overshadowed because he is asked to block a lot more when Gronkowski and Graham are used more as receiving options.
The wide receiver group was a tougher one to narrow down and I made some personal choices, sacrificing numbers for value or gamebreak ability. Individually, I like what each of these guys brings to the table. They all offer something special for their respective teams and have proven to be extremely valuable this season. Even with that said, I bet each one of us has a different combination of wide receivers we would rather have based on preference.
Come back tomorrow for the Defensive Edition of the 2011 All-DeSimone team.
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