Analysis  

 

Peyton Manning, J.J. Watt head 2013 Midseason All-Pro Team

Call it the Bye Week Era midseason ...

Since the NFL went to bye weeks in 1990, "midseason" usually is considered to be Week 8 heading into Week 9. Well, guess what? We're hurtling straight for Week 9. With that, my editor asked that I readdress my Preseason All-Pro Team by selecting a Midseason All-Pro Team, which you'll find below.

Now, before we get to the names, just a couple of notes:

» This list is not meant to predict The Associated Press's season-ending 2013 All-Pro Team. No, it's merely who we think will have played the best by the end of the season, first-team style.

» There are a few names that reflect a nod to the future -- i.e., the players' stats don't stand out among others at their respective positions, but we think they'll pull ahead as the season progresses. (Hint: One is a really good linebacker who missed some time at the beginning of the 2013 campaign.)

With that, take a look and let us know what you think ... @Harrison_NFL is the place. We read 'em all.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Try to quell your surprise. Manning has thrown 29 TD passes in leading the Broncos to a 7-1 record. Denver's current point total (343) is more than half the teams will score all season.

Running Back
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

The NFL's leading rusher has averaged 4.7 yards per carry while being the most consistent piece of Chip Kelly's offense. He's also caught 25 balls coming out of the backfield.

Fullback
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers

Tolbert might not be the most heralded player, but nobody can question his contributions. He's scored five touchdowns, picked up over 250 scrimmage yards -- and, of course, blocked.

Wide Receiver
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

If 329 receiving yards on one Sunday doesn't do it for you, how about 117.3 yards per game? Despite dealing with blanket coverage and no No. 2 receiver in Detroit, Megatron has seven touchdowns.

Wide Receiver
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Second only to Calvin Johnson in receiving yards, Green continues to put his stamp on the Bengals' offense. Truth be told, he's the best wideout in the AFC and keeps improving.

Tight End
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

Graham has 630 receiving yards and eight touchdowns -- crazy numbers for a tight end -- and he's not even healthy right now. A testament to Graham's big-play ability: his 15.8 yards per catch.

Tackle
Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers

A team leader in San Francisco, Staley has had a fine season thus far. He's had one false start and allowed a half sack -- that's it. And which team is leading the NFL in rushing? Take a guess.

Guard
Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles

The best guard in football is having yet another great season. A preseason All-Pro selection, Mathis has given up a half sack while paving the way for the NFL's top rusher, LeSean McCoy.

Center
Chris Myers, Houston Texans

Myers is a team leader who brings it every down. Despite the Texans' poor season, he personally has raised his play. He's a beast in the run game and hasn't been flagged all season.

Guard
Louis Vasquez, Denver Broncos

In 347 Broncos pass plays, Vasquez has not allowed Peyton Manning to get hit once. Not even hit. Denver has run 99 times up the middle (third in the NFL). Wonder why ...

Tackle
Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati Bengals

A preseason All-Pro selection, Whitworth was hurt in the early going this season. Despite facing some of the best pass rushers, he's yielded just two sacks. A true "lunch pail" guy.

DEFENSE

Defensive End
Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams

If you watched the Monday nighter, you saw a man possessed. There were sequences where Seattle just couldn't stop him. Quinn has 10 sacks in eight games. Enough said.

Defensive End
Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints

Everyone has been raving about Jordan, who has six sacks and 21 combined hurries/knockdowns. Meanwhile, his unit looks nothing like it did in 2012. This is a good thing.

Defensive Tackle
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Watt plays a 3-4 defensive end and moves inside sometimes on passing downs. Regardless of where he is, he's dominant. See: Twenty-three combined knockdowns and hurries.

Defensive Tackle
Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys

A former 3-4 end who could move inside like J.J. Watt, Hatcher has shifted to tackle permanently in Dallas' 4-3 defense. He's posted seven sacks while being the most consistent player on the defense.

Outside Linebacker
Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs

Houston put up a 10-sack season in 2012 when no one was looking. Now people are taking notice, as he's racked up 11 sacks (second in the league) for the top defense in the NFL.

Outside Linebacker
Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs

It's cool when a team has a guy with 11 sacks on one side of the formation while the other outside linebacker leads the NFL with 28 knockdowns/hurries. Tamba Hali = The Other Guy?

Linebacker
Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys

If you've seen Dallas play this year, you've seen Lee making plays all over the field, like his two interceptions in Detroit in Week 8. He's been a tackling machine, too, with 81.

Linebacker
Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals

Washington has played like a man possessed since coming off his four-game suspension. He already has 23 tackles, two sacks, two picks and six passes defensed. That's brisk.

Cornerback
Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks

Sherman gets left on an island a lot, and while there are other defenders who have played great -- like Darrelle Revis -- they lack the size to stop routes before they get started.

Cornerback
Aqib Talib, New England Patriots

Talib is similar to Richard Sherman in that he has the size to disrupt routes before they get going. He almost won a game in Atlanta by himself, being clutch when the Patriots needed him.

Safety
Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks

It was awesome watching Thomas, another preseason All-Pro selection, track down plays in St. Louis. QBs have thrown on him 16 times -- he's broken up six passes and picked off four.

Safety
T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns

Ward has been balling this year. He's been solid in coverage, breaking up five balls while intercepting two more. Ward also has 57 tackles, a half sack and a touchdown. Nice.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker
Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

Gostkowski has gone 20 of 21 on field goals this season, and he's been a key component of several Patriot wins. He also has one of the lowest kick-return rates (22.7 percent) in the NFL.

Punter
Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts

McAfee is averaging 41.0 net yards per punt, while just 26.7 percent of his boots are being returned. He's been a big help to that Colts defense. Oh, and he has a great sense of humor.

Returner
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

You want answers? You want answers?!! Fine, Cordarrelle Patterson has been the best returner in the league, averaging an unreal 39.1 yards per kick return (with two touchdowns). #truth

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @Harrison_NFL.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15