2012 All-NFL Team

Tyler Raborn —  Tuesday, January 1, 2013 — 5 Comments

My All-NFL Teams are assembled by selecting the players that I believe were the best performers that season. Some years may include two tight ends, two running backs, and one receiver, while others may be a 5-wide set. Essentially, I try to pick the best 11 players that year that I could field on each side of the ball. (Plus a kicker, punter, kick returner, and punt returner) This year it turned out to be a single back, 3-wide set on offense and a 3-4 defense. Enjoy.

OFFENSE

QB- Peyton Manning (DEN)

Peyton Manning ended the 2012 NFL season with 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, which contributed to a 105.8 quarterback rating- the second highest rating of his career. Manning’s contribution to the Broncos goes far beyond his statistics. He is truly a coach on the field and extremely deserving of my 2012 All-NFL Team.

RB- Adrian Peterson (MIN)

Adrian Peterson ended up 9 yards short from breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. A 9 yards he seemingly happily traded for a playoff berth. Peterson is the ultimate team guy… literally. He is legitimately the Vikings entire team. He ended the 2012 season with 2,097 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns.

WR- Brandon Marshall (CHI)

If Adrian Peterson was the Vikings entire team, Brandon Marshall was the Bears entire receiving corps. While Marshall had 118 receptions this year, the Bear with the second most receptions had 44. The third most had 29. Yet, Marshall is deserving of the majority of Cutler’s attention. He was a freak, and 1,508 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns later, he finds himself on my All-NFL team.

WR- Calvin Johnson (DET)

Self-explanatory? Probably. But, I’ll explain anyways. After breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record, with a game to spare, Calving Johnson ended the season with 1,964 receiving yards. And, keep in mind, Johnson ended up starting opposite of guys who were cut by the Seahawks and Jaguars earlier in the season. So, that’s 1,964 yards while being double or tripple-teamed.

WR- Andre Johnson (HOU)

Andre Johnson is an under-utilized beast. Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds, Johnson is a tough matchup for opposing defenses. But, due to Houston’s ability to run the football, Johnson did not receive nearly as many targets as other elite receivers, yet he still managed to pull in 112 balls for 1,598 yards.

TE- Rob Gronkowski (NE)

GRONK. Two things made me appreciate Gronkowski even more this year. Firstly, his continued success, 55 receptions and 790 yards in 11 games played, this year proved he was no one-hit wonder. Secondly, Jimmy Graham’s league-high 13 drops in comparison to Gronk’s lack there of showcased his combination of Graham-like athleticism with an added dose of reliability. Rob Gronkowski has everything a coach could ask for in a tight end: excellent route-running, strong blocking ability, and great hands. Even with missing five games, Gronk still managed to be tied for 4th in the league with 11 touchdown receptions.

DISCLAIMER: I’ll be honest- my offensive line selections were based on analyses by Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders. The data these guys collect is pure gold, so I’m going to defer to them as far as offensive linemen are concerned. So, here it goes…

OT- Trent Williams (WAS)

Trent Williams helped Washington’s wildly successful run game and surprisingly dangerous pass game succeed in 2012. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, the rookie phenoms, success has been partially attributable to Williams consistent blocking at left tackle.

OT- Joe Staley (SF)

The 49ers had the number 1 offensive line in the NFL this year according to Football Outsiders. Joe Staley, the former Central Michigan standout, will be making his second consecutive pro bowl appearance this year.

OG- Mike Iupati (SF)

… The 49ers had the number 1 offensive line in the NFL this year according to Football Outsiders. At 6 feet 5 inches tall and 330 pounds, Iupati, the Samoan guard, served as an anchor for the 49ers defense in 2012.

OG- Kevin Zeitler (CIN)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis managed to run for over 1,000 yards this year behind Wisconsin-bred Kevin Zeitler. The rookie and 2011 Consensus All-American has been wildly successful for Cincinnati, who took him with the 27th pick of the 2012 NFL draft.

C- Mike Pouncey (MIA)

The 15th overall pick in the 2011 draft has been turned out to be a successful choice for the Miami Dolphins. His run blocking ability has helped Reggie Bush turn into a successful every-down back in Miami.

DEFENSE

DE- J.J. Watt (HOU)

My new favorite player. If you haven’t seen this video entitled “J.J. Watt’s Remarkable Friendship,” I highly advise watching it. It’ll make him your favorite player too. Beyond his character off the field, J.J. Watt is nothing short of remarkable on the field. Watt had 20.5 sacks this season, placing him tied for 6th in NFL history for the most sacks in a season. Also, possibly even more impressively, J.J. (a.k.a. “Swatt”) deflected 16 passes, several of which were intercepted.

DE- Cameron Wake (MIA)

Cameron Wake, the former CFL standout, has been a wrecking ball this year. His 15.0 sacks in 2012 ranks 4th in the league.

DT- Geno Atkins (CIN)

I cannot say enough about Geno Atkins impact in Cincinnati this year. With 12.5 sacks, he is the only defensive tackle in the league to amass more than 8.5 sacks in 2012. And, his bowling ball stature, at 6 feet 1 inches tall and 300 pounds, Atkins has absolutely stuffed the middle of offensive lines this year.

ILB- Navorro Bowman (SF)

With Patrick Willis dropping into coverage more often this year, Navorro Bowman has had the opportunity to shine. Bowman managed to accumulate 149 tackles in 2012, which was second to only Luke Kuechly.

ILB- Patrick Willis (SF)

The best linebacker in football. Willis has the ability to rush the passer, stuff the run, and drop into coverage. His 2012 statistics were not a complete representation of his contribution on the field though. San Francisco often opted to drop the speedy Willis into coverage this year. No linebacker is as versatile and dominant as Patrick Willis.

OLB- Von Miller (DEN)

Sack. Sack. Sack. Miller ranked 3rd in the NFL in sacks this year with 18.5, following up a wildly successful rookie year, where he amassed 11.5 sacks. Interestingly, Von Miller was 3rd in the NFL in sacks, as well as 3rd in sacks among players from his draft class.

OLB- Aldon Smith (SF)

Aldon Smith rounds off the pass rushers from a stacked 2011 draft class, which also produced Von Miller and J.J. Watt. Smith finished 2nd in the NFL this year with 19.5 sacks, to go along with 3 forced fumbles and an interception. He, along with Justin Smith, were able to provide the 49ers with a strong rush even when they brought four or less pass rushers in 2012.

CB- Charles Tillman (CHI)

As the “Punch” was made famous in 2012, Charles “Peanut” Tillman rose to instant stardom. Tillman also received a lot of media attention for his commitment to family this year, as he stated that he would miss a game to see the birth of his child if it came down to it. (It didn’t) Tillman finished 2012 with 10 forced fumbles. Only one other player, Osi Umenyiora, has finished with 10 or more in the last decade.

CB- Richard Sherman (SEA)

As an outstanding cover corner with big play ability, Richard Sherman grabbed 8 interceptions this year, tying him for 2nd in the league. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Sherman has the ability to matchup with some of the bigger receivers in the NFL- an attribute that is incredibly valuable given some of the freakishly big receivers in the NFL. (See: Calvin Johnson)

S- Eric Weddle (SD)

The San Diego safety was a bright spot on a gloomy Chargers team. Weddle didn’t make the pro bowl this year, but I think he’s one of the best safeties in the game. His combination of coverage and run-stopping ability made him a valuable asset to San Diego in 2012.

S- Jairus Byrd (BUF)

The ball-hawking safety from Buffalo had 5 picks in 2012. Byrd also managed to have 76 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries this year. He is a game changer.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K- Blair Walsh (MIN)

Special teams rookie of the year? I think so. Walsh went 35 for 38 on field goals this year, while remaining a perfect 36 for 36 on extra points. With 10 field goals of 50 yards or more and a long of 56 yards, Walsh was nothing short of impressive this year.

P- Thomas Morstead (NO)

Thomas Morstead received his first nod for the Pro Bowl this year and deservingly so. Morstead ranked 2nd in average yards per punt at 50.1 yards, and 2nd in net punting average at 43.2 yards.

PR- Leodis McKelvin (BUF)

McKelvin was 1st in average yards per punt return this year at 18.7 yards. Nearly 3 yards more than the 2nd ranked punt returner and over 5 yards more than the 3rd ranked punt returner. McKelvin is a threat every time he gets the ball, and he proved that this year taking 2 punt returns back to the house.

KR- David Wilson (NYG)

David Wilson is a solid kick returner. While many teams have their “homerun hitter” returning kicks, the Giants have (smartly) chosen to allow Wilson to return kicks. His average return of 26.9 yards ranked 6th in the NFL this year, and he had 14 or more returns than the five returners ranked above him with 57 returns. Wilson’s ability in 2012 to consistently gain chunks of yards on kick returns, along with one return for a touchdown, makes him a perfect pick for my 2012 All-NFL Team.

So, to recap…

OFFENSE

QB- Peyton Manning (DEN)

RB- Adrian Peterson (MIN)

WR- Brandon Marshall (CHI)

WR- Calvin Johnson (DET)

WR- Andre Johnson (HOU)

TE- Rob Gronkowski (NE)

OT- Trent Williams (WAS)

OT- Joe Staley (SF)

OG- Mike Iupati (SF)

OG- Kevin Zeitler (CIN)

C- Mike Pouncey (MIA)

DEFENSE

DE- J.J. Watt (HOU)

DE- Cameron Wake (MIA)

DT- Geno Atkins (CIN)

ILB- Navorro Bowman (SF)

ILB- Patrick Willis (SF)

OLB- Von Miller (DEN)

OLB- Aldon Smith (SF)

CB- Charles Tillman (CHI)

CB- Richard Sherman (SEA)

S- Eric Weddle (SD)

S- Jairus Byrd (BUF)

SPECIAL TEAMS

K- Blair Walsh (MIN)

P- Thomas Morstead (NO)

PR- Leodis McKelvin (BUF)

KR- David Wilson (NYG)

———-

By: Tyler Raborn

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Tyler Raborn

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New Orleans Resident, Tulane Law Student, and Mississippi State Alum

5 responses to 2012 All-NFL Team

  1. 

    What?!?! No Tom Brady???? I am aghast…

  2. 

    Great list Rabs.

    My only gripe – Eric Weddle. I think I’m going against our slogan and questioning one of our own. Weddle?

    How about Falcons FS Thomas DeCoud on the NFC’s top team or 37-year-old Ronde Barber who is coming off his 17th season as a Buc? DeCoud had a career high with 6 INTs and Ronde had only 6 fewer tackles and bested Weddle in interceptions.

    Interesting you went with a 3-4 base defense, but not too shabby going 25/26.

    • 

      I felt like a lot of the attention Barber garnered was due to his age. He had a great season, but I didn’t feel like he was one of the top 2 safeties in the league.

      DeCoud on the other hand was certainly in the running. But, when it came down to it, I felt like Weddle was the better choice. I promise* my bias against Atlanta had nothing to do with it.

      *I don’t promise.

  3. 

    In a 100% unbiased opinion – Ronde Barber should have been a no brainer.

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