With the help of a handful of trusted NFL executives, I've come up with my Midseason All-Pro Team. This was a very fun process, but it was also difficult, because there were a few positions that featured several worthy candidates.
The quarterback position is a good example. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has led his team to an 8-0 start, but I chose Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning because he has been slightly better on an individual level. Tampa Bay Buccaneers rusher Doug Martin, the only rookie position player on the team (Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is also in his first year), beat out some stiff competition for the second running back spot, including the Houston Texans' Arian Foster and the Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch. At wide receiver, there were six or seven viable candidates, but I settled on Cincinnati Bengals stud A.J. Green (who is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown catches) and Indianapolis Colts stalwart Reggie Wayne (who leads the league in receiving yards).
On the defensive side of the ball, there were a few tough calls as well. Green Bay Packers star Clay Matthews has been very productive, but Dallas Cowboys veteran DeMarcus Ware and Denver Broncos youngster Von Miller have been more consistently disruptive at outside linebacker. Both of the Seattle Seahawks' starting cornerbacks (Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner) have played at a very high level this season, but I gave the CB nods to the pair in Chicago. Tim Jennings leads the league with six interceptions and Charles Tillman leads the league with an amazing seven forced fumbles.
Here are a few formatting details for my list:
» In terms of positions and players per position, I followed the formatting employed by The Associated Press for its annual end-of-season All-Pro Team.
» For the offensive tackle position, I chose one right tackle and one left tackle.
» At defensive end, I limited my choices to 4-3 ends.
» At defensive tackle, I considered 3-4 ends and 4-3 tackles.
» At outside linebacker, I limited my choices to 3-4 outside linebackers.
» At inside linebacker, I considered all 4-3 linebackers and 3-4 inside linebackers.
For each position player selected to the list, I've included a brief comment from an NFL personnel executive.