Posted December 31, 2013

The Audibles’ All-Pro Team

AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
Any other choice for our starting All-Pro quarterback would have been silly.

Any other choice for our starting All-Pro quarterback would have been silly. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Everyone wants to put together their own All-Pro teams around this time of year, and we’re no different. Hopefully some of the names will be a bit different, though — we’ve taken a look through our tape notes and stat sheets and assembled a team who we believe to be the best at every position, star status notwithstanding. (Unless otherwise indicated, all metrics come from our friends at Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus.)

Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

This is the most obvious of our picks, but it bears mentioning just how amazing Manning was this season. He had a 114.9 passer rating at home, and a 115.3 passer rating on the road. He ranked fourth in the NFL in touchdown passes (12) on throws 20 or more yards downfield. He completed 69 percent of his passes when under pressure. He completed 69.1 percent of his passes with play-action, and 68 percent without. When the 44 drops by his receivers were factored out, along with other weird passing plays, he completed 77.2 percent of his passes. And beyond all the numbers, it’s possible that we still don’t give Manning enough credit for making the players around him better. He’s the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, the NFL’s best player at the most important position and he’s doing this at age 37, a couple years after common perception had him never playing again. It may take some distance from this season to see just how rare it really is.

Alternates: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers/Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

MORE COVERAGE: 2013 Award Picks |Previewing wild-card slate | Top-10 Mock Draft

Running Backs: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles/Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

McCoy didn’t just lead the NFL in rushing yards (1,607) and total yards from scrimmage (2,146) — he also paced the league in runs of 15 yards or more (26) and pure highlight plays. Charles became the latest version of the perfect Andy Reid runner by adding 693 receiving yards on 70 catches to his 1,287 rushing yards.

Alternates: DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys/Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Receivers: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions/Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears/Wes Welker, Denver Broncos

Megatron was his usual self, and he got in the end zone more often this year — he upped his touchdown total from five in 2012 to 12 in ’13. He was not part of the problem in Detroit this season. Marshall wasn’t just one of the league’s most valuable receivers; he also helped Alshon Jeffery become a great secondary weapon and continued his progression from willful, undisciplined young player to productive veteran who has become a willing voice for those afflicted with borderline personality disorder. He doesn’t get enough credit for his maturity, on and off the field. As for Welker, he continued his role as the NFL’s most valuable slot receiver in the game, with 89 targets and seven touchdowns in that role.

Alternates: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns/Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers/Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints

Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints/Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers

Graham has become the best overall and most productive tight end in the NFL, but it’s Davis’ season that bears mentioning. With several of San Francisco’s targets out of the picture with injuries, Davis was dominant as a pass-catcher — not only in the short game, but also in deep passing, where he caught six touchdowns on 23 targets and 11 receptions on passes thrown 20 yards in the air or more.

Alternates: Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos/Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Offensive Tackles: Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys/Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns

Smith is still learning the advanced points of the pro game and he’ll get beaten once in a while, but it didn’t happen too often in 2013 — he allowed one sack and three quarterback hits on 629 passing snaps. Thomas allowed just two sacks in a league-leading 751 passing snaps despite a quarterback situation that could be charitably described as “unacceptable.”

Alternates: Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers/Michael Roos, Tennessee Titans

Offensive Guards: Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers/Larry Warford, Detroit Lions

Sitton didn’t miss a single snap all season and allowed just one sack at left guard. This was made all the more impressive by Matt Flynn’s egregious lack of pocket awareness when filling in for Aaron Rodgers. In addition, Sitton maintained his well-deserved reputation as one of the league’s best power blockers. Warford, a third-round rookie from Kentucky, played every snap at right guard for the Lions, allowing no sacks and becoming an integral part of Detroit’s vastly improved offensive line.

Alternates: Louis Vasquez, Denver Broncos/Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints

Center: Dominic Raiola, Detroit Lions

Raiola was one of the NFL’s most improved players in 2013, and one key to that development was the Lions’ acquisition of running back Reggie Bush. The veteran center showed an impressive ability to hold at the point of attack and charge upfield for Bush’s screen receptions.

Alternate: Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers

Defensive Tackles: Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals/Brandon Mebane, Seattle Seahawks

McCoy was an absolute diamond throughout the Buccaneers’ dismal season — he amassed 54 total pressures and was very strong against the run. No three-tech tackle was more disruptive than Atkins in 2013; one can only wonder what effect he would have had with a full season. Mebane doesn’t show up in the stat sheets as often, but if you were to poll players on the most effective pure nose tackles, he’d certainly be at the top of the list. Mebane can push a pocket from anywhere and has the root strength to destroy chunks of any offensive line.

Alternates: Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans/Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions

4-3 Defensive Ends: Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams/Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers

Quinn led all NFL defenders with 91 total pressures and was an unholy terror from the right side of the Rams defense all season. Hardy was the splashiest pass-rusher on a Carolina frontline that remains underrated, and he’s heading into the playoffs on a serious hot streak — eight sacks and 27 total pressures in his last three games.

Alternates: Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks/Rob Ninkovich, New England Patriots

3-4 Defensive Ends: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans/Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets

Watt didn’t get the same love from the national media that he did in 2012 because the Texans had a horrid season overall, but he may have been just as good in 2013, even without the same sack totals. The ultra-confident Richardson insists that he’s the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, and the point is tough to argue — we’ve put him in as an end, but he’s just as effective when he’s moving double teams inside.

Alternates: Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills /Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints

4-3 Outside Linebackers: Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions

David was the best combination of pass pressure and run-stopping at his position, while Levy re-invented himself as a tremendous pass defender — for a while near the end of the season, he looked like he might be the first linebacker ever to lead the NFL in interceptions.

Alternates: Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals/Thomas Davis, Carolina Panthers

3-4 Outside Linebackers: Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts/Trent Cole, Philadelphia Eagles

Mathis is the sackmaster here, finishing the regular season with a career-high and league-leading 19.5 sacks. But when it comes to versatility, it’s tough to top Cole. He added 31 run stops to his 51 total pressures.

Alternates: Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs/Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills

Inside Linebackers: NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers/Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers

Bowman has been an underrated star since he came into the NFL in 2010, but he played at a different level in 2013. Jim Harbaugh is correct when he says that Bowman deserves recognition when the Defensive Player of the Year award is discussed. However, if any linebacker grabs that award, it should probably be Kuechly. No player at his position best exhibits the many traits needed to excel.

Alternates: Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals/Stephen Tulloch, Detroit Lions

Cornerbacks: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks/Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans/Brandon Boykin, Philadelphia Eagles

Since we added a slot receiver to our All-Pro team, let’s get a great nickel corner to cover him. Few are better than Boykin, who sent the Eagles to the playoffs with his late-game pick of Kyle Orton last Sunday and amassed six total picks alternating between the slot and outside. Verner was a lockdown guy all season, and Sherman may be the best pass defender since Darrelle Revis was in his prime. The next quarterback to actually get a deep sideline pass over on him will be the first in quite a while.

Alternates: Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins/Chris Harris, Denver Broncos/Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals

Safeties: Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks/Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers

Weddle’s outstanding play was a rare highlight on a San Diego defense that needs a lot of help. Thomas has a rare combination of demon speed, coverage awareness and controlled aggression. At his best, he’s an evil combination of Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed.

Alternates: Chris Clemons, Miami Dolphins/Antrel Rolle, New York Giants

42 comments
wetmouse
wetmouse

Who had the most TDs for a WR this year? And who had the most yards after catch? That would be Demarius Thomas, who is a much better person AND receiver and who had a much better season than Brandon Marshall. Marshall had more drops, losses, and fines, but that's it.

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

You have a 24 point lead and lose it all in a half of football, you are NOOOO all pro in my book...

when will people walk up? guys like Manning need everything to be good to great around them to be effective... god forbid if they were having O-line troubles or recievers werent running open, then they would be worthless.. 

A few weeks ago Brady was trying to lead a comeback against the Dolphins... Brady had a free rusher coming at him .. he decides to pass the ball while driving to the ground..... hence grave up on the play to avoid the hit... two plays later Brady picked off in the endzone game over... Too often Manning and brady are never CALLED out for quitting on plays... throwing the ball away is way different that is NOT quiiting....

No respect the first time i saw them QUIT.... we called out guys like Moss or Dez for not playing 100% on every play.... like anyone does !!!  to the point they use to show replays of those guys not running full out ignoring the fact it was a running playing or the ball was passed on the other side of the field.... i would take Russell right now over Manning any day... because he give you more on a football field than manning ever good... Look down in Carolina thier QB is thier best running threat and more athletic than anyone he is throwing the ball to ...ie Olson and Lefelle... look out when he gets some Manning type weapons...

nosemanwvu
nosemanwvu

Andre Johnson, Pierre Garcon, and Antonio Brown weren't better than Nelson, Welker and STILLS????


Might be time for an overhaul for SI staff writers.  They're beginning to idolize Skip Bayless now.

MikeAllen
MikeAllen

So, if I read this article correctly, the New England Patriots must have finished 0-16 this season, right?

coreysuydam
coreysuydam

Wes Welker (73 receptions for 778 yards) makes the cut, but not A. J. Green (98 receptions for 1,427 yards)?  Josh Gordon (87 receptions for 1,646 yards on one of the worst teams in the league) is only an "alternate"?


What planet are these guys living on?

Matthew W
Matthew W

MVP is either McCoy or Foles. 


With the talent and recent history of the Broncos, they're expected to minimum win their division. Who saw the Eagles with Mike Vick (entering the season) doing anything at all? In steps Foles and suddenly Chip's "gimmicky high school" offense becomes nearly unstoppable. He makes them tick....if Foles isn't the league MVP then its McCoy who's had a spectacular season and has been the most dangerous player with the ball in his hand. 



Peyton another one and done in the playoffs.

caleb
caleb

You list 6 CBs and Joe Haden isn't one of them? Clueless.

hambone69
hambone69

Did I miss something here? Are punters and kickers still contributing, some-what-important players on football teams? 


bossplayer
bossplayer

Your WR choices need lots of help:  No mention at all for Antonio Brown (2nd in NFL in catches and yards!!)?  No Demaryius Thomas?? (Wes Welker is successful in slot because of Thomas)??   Josh Gordon as alternate with his stats from that Browns offense (led league in receiving yards)??  Did you even watch NFL games this year?  Brings into question most of your other choices....oh well

Frotoon
Frotoon

Could have at least tossed Russell Wilson in there as an alternate.

OK
OK

Sheldon Richardson needs to shut his mouth. Good rook. But no Kyle Williams.

Kyle Williams and J.J. Watt are the 3-4 defensive ends.

OK
OK

Geno Atkins? For nine games?

A great defensive tackle, but nine games?

Nine games?

Jurrell Casey was the pick. Not Geno Atkins. Not for nine games.


OK
OK

Wes Welker? You oughta be shot - with a water cannon - for that abomination.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

25 of the 61 players mentioned as all-pro or alternates came from teams without a winning record.  Mr. Farrar seems to have an affinity for Detroit Lions players with 6 (10%) making his team.  


Kenny Stills - 32 rec (ranked 136th) for 641 yds (ranked 61st) and  5TDs (ranked 38th) - compared to:

  AJ Green - 98 rec (ranked 6th)   for 1426 yds (ranked 5th)   and 11TDs (ranked  8th).


Yikes.



BillMorris1
BillMorris1

Philip rivers over Brady? Really? You put Brady on mannings

ssr25
ssr25

Did i just read kenny stills made the all pro team? kenny stills? I'm a big fan of Farrar but Kenny Stills? I seriously think that might have been some misprint or something. In fact there's a good chance in 20 minutes I look like an idiot for this whole post because it gets corrected. I can almost always at least see other sides and points of view, I sat here for 10 minutes and cannot think of any point of view of making Kenny Stiles an alternate all pro. And as I said before, I respect Doug alot and his work. 


I don't think Kenny Stills would consider himself to be anything better than the 4th most dangerous option on his own team(Sproles/Colston/Graham) but if you polled 1000 personnel men and scouts around the league, even if half of them were on the Saints or ex Saints, do you think even 1 would say Kenny Stills had a better year than Alshon Jeffrey/Brandon Marshall/DeSean Jackson/Dez Bryant/AJ Green? That is a completely serious question also. 

irishman0096
irishman0096

Since when is Kiko Alonso a 3-4 outside linebacker?

chrischan829
chrischan829

how is josh gordon not on this list?  


he only led the league in receiving yards while not playing 2 games.


oh, and he had moe larry and curly throwing him the ball.

klgiuseppe4
klgiuseppe4

Trent Williams was the best tackle in the league. PFF has him at +37.3, 3 or 4 points higher than Joe Thomas and 9 higher than Tyron Smith. No excuse for not even having him as a backup. Just watch his game against clay Matthews for example. Also how is Wes Welker and Kenny Stills even considered as all pro? Welker was the 3 rd option on his own team and Stills had 600 yards.. C'mon man. Pierre Garçon, Dthomas and Antonio brown are much more deserving. Bad list man.

EricKnowles
EricKnowles

Ummm Farrar....Cam Chancellor? Really??

UnishowponyWherebeef
UnishowponyWherebeef

@MikeAllen That's what is so awesome with the Patriots. Year after year they win without individual superstars (even 2007 was a team effort).


Any player can be replaced (Brady in 2008, Hernandez/Gronk in 2013) and the team will still win the division and reach the playoffs.


Awesome, indeed!

Frotoon
Frotoon

The individual mentions have nothing to do with the team's W/L record, bro.

coreysuydam
coreysuydam

@bossplayer


Don't forget A. J. Green.  98 receptions for 1,427 yards and 11 touchdowns.  How does he not even make it as an alternate?

KidHorn
KidHorn

@bossplayer Agreed about Josh Gordon. He was easily the best WR this year. If he didn't miss 2 games, he likely would have broken the record for most receiving yards in a season.

RS1022
RS1022

It looks as if they picked two outside WRs and a slot WR... AS A SLOT WR, who is more effective and impacts a game more than Welker?

hr334466
hr334466

@OK amen, i was just thinking the same


BillMorris1
BillMorris1

As I was saying you give Brady the broncos offense. See what happens. How come no one ever mention that Peyton (happy feet) manning played three more years than Brady. Yet Brady has similar numbers.

ssr25
ssr25

Lol looks like I can't read Brandon Marshall was on the team.


Younever
Younever

@chrischan829 Antonio Brown? He's the only top 10 wideout who's not 6-3 or above and 220+ lbs. 110 catches -1499 yards 8tds and one of the most dangerous players in the NFL in the open field. What's the problem?

KevinDelaney
KevinDelaney

@chrischan829 At least Josh Gordon made his HM list (though why he isn't one of the top three I don't know). But Kenny Stills over Alshon Jeffrey? Not even close. Jason Witten on the team? Did he watch Witten's play this year or did he just put in big names. There are a lot of seriously botched picks on this team. This has got to be one of the worst I've ever seen.

KidHorn
KidHorn

@klgiuseppe4 I think Trent Williams numbers are helped by the fact that the rest of the skins O line is horrible. People avoided him and ran through the rest of the line.

anon76
anon76

@BillMorris1 


Because they don't have similar numbers.  Manning has 19 more career victories, 1,354 more completions, 1,866 more passing attempts, 15,815 more yards (that's about 9 miles), 132 more touchdown passes, 410 less yards given up to sacks, 12 more 4th quarter comebacks, and 12 more game winning drives. If Brady plays for 3 more years at a high level (no guarantee there- he's only 1 year younger than Manning, and many blame his poorer stats this season on declining skills) these numbers will be closer, and some (like wins, losses, and INTs thrown) will almost certainly favor Brady.  However it's pretty clear why people don't say Brady has 'similar' numbers to Manning- because he doesn't.  And in terms of yards and TDs thrown, as well as 4th quarter comebacks, it's likely he never will.


As for teammates, in 2010 Brady had Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, the Murderer, Danny Woodhead, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis all on the same team at the same time.  That seems like a run/pass group of similar talent to 2013 Broncos level, and while Brady put up MVP numbers in 2010, they were still 19 TDs and 1577 yards short of Peyton's 2013 season totals, and Brady was 33 then compared to Manning at 37 this year.

riley8
riley8

@ssr25 Coming from a Saints fan....no way does Stills deserve any mention on this team.

PubliusK
PubliusK

@JasonBain @MoeLarryAndJesus @anon76 @BillMorris1 Nobody said Marino was not good because he never won the big one.  His statistics tell the story of an amazing talent.  But what is also true is that he will never be listed among the very best because he did not get it done when it mattered most.  Jason, when the game is close and you need someone with the stones to get 'er done under pressure, that is where the very best show themselves and one person's play can have a huge impact.  Just ask any Cowboys fan.

PubliusK
PubliusK

@anon76 @BillMorris1 Yep....all true, anon76.  We have known for many years that Manning is the numbers guy.  But to say that Brady does not have similar numbers is bunk.  If Brady plays out the string, he's not far from Peyton in many categories and is leading in the ones that matter most.  I will give you that Peyton is the better passer with more skills.  But Brady has proven again and again that he is the better QB.  A QB's job is to lead his team to victory.  And Brady wins that one hands down.  You compare the 2010 Pats to the 2013 Broncs?  That is insane.  In 2010, Moss had already checked out (9 receptions in 4 games), Branch was at the end of an overachieving career and he simply did not have it any more.  BJGE and Woodhead were 3rd and 2nd year players with less than 500 yds rushing combined before 2010.  Gronk and the Murderer were rookies and Edelman was a former QB with one year under his belt who caught only 12 passes in 2010.  The only legit star on that team was Welker.  Without knowing it, you made your point moot.  If you put a cast of characters like that in front of Peyton, he chokes and does not even get the option of losing in the playoffs, AGAIN.

These guys are both amazing.  They are both top 5 of all time.  If Peyton manages to win a SB with the Broncs, this argument is closer.  If Tom wins another one, the argument is over.

JasonBain
JasonBain

@MoeLarryAndJesus@anon76@BillMorris1 

167-148 do the math.. cant and shouldnt count playoffs since football is the ultimate team game and most games are not won or lost based on one persons play, although it can be a contributing factor...

Was Dan Marino not good because of his playoff record?

as far as this year goes.....Bradys rating was 87.3.. under no circumstance ever should that be good enough for an all pro team

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@anon76@BillMorris1Actually Peyton only has 9 more victories than Brady does, despite those 3 additional years.


The mistake you're making is the usual one Peyton apologists make - you're not counting post-season wins.  The reason Peyton apologists like to pretend the post-season exists is obvious, of course.