Analysis

Adrian Peterson, Ziggy Ansah featured on All-NFC North Team

When it comes to highlighting top NFL talent, league-wide evaluations are the norm -- meaning some of the better players in each division are often overlooked. With his divisional all-star series, Dave Dameshek will be taking a deeper dive into the NFL's elite, putting together the best squad possible from each division -- continuing with the All-NFC North Team below.

For additional analysis on this topic -- and a whole lot more -- listen to The Dave Dameshek Football Program.

OFFENSE

I don't need to explain this one, do I? (Fine. He's the best QB in football. How's that?)

I'd like to install Matt Forte here, if only to honor the oft-underrated runner ... but let's not jive ourselves: Peterson is the top runner of the generation and an easy choice here.

Wide receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

One could successfully argue that the first three players on our list are the best at their respective positions. Then again, for the most gifted pass-catching specimen of the millennium, his production could stand to be a bit more consistent (especially with Golden Tate out there to distract attention).

Speaking of production, very few receivers have put up bigger numbers than the K-State product, who's averaged 11 TDs per season over the last four years.

Wide receiver: Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler believes Jeffery can be a true No. 1 receiver. I agree, mostly because -- depending on the week -- Jeffery has already spent time serving as the Bears' top dog.

When he's not writing children's books or producing movies, the NFL's Renaissance Man continues to overmatch linebackers and safeties with his rare combo of size and athleticism.

In the midst of the Motor City O-line makeover, there were rumors Reiff might move to the right side. Now debunked, we'll follow suit by using the talented fourth-year pro as the critical protector of Rodgers' blind side.

Remember when the Packers' O-line was a weak spot? Much to Rodgers' delight, that's a thing of the past -- thanks in part to this pass-blocking specialist.

Whether he was clearing a path for Peterson's 2,000-yard 2012 campaign or keeping rookie Teddy Bridgewater clean in '14, Sullivan has been the leader of the Vikes' line.

His massive presence upgraded Detroit's fortunes upon arrival two years ago, but knee injuries slowed him in 2014. The Bears' Kyle Long can jump in here if Warford isn't ready to go.

Both our tackles went to Iowa, where they might as well just make Professional Offensive Lineman a major. For all the products that football factory puts out, though, the Packers' brain trust was wise to lock up Bulaga with a spendy new deal.

DEFENSE

Defensive end: Ziggy Ansah, Detroit Lions

You might have heard about some high-profile losses from the Lions' D-line, but let's not live life looking in the rear-view mirror. Detroit will be just fine, thanks to Ansah's star rising on the horizon.

Defensive tackle: Haloti Ngata, Detroit Lions

Of course, for Ansah to really shine, Ngata will need to replicate the trademark dirty work he did in Baltimore, where all foes were turned one-dimensional by the run stuffer who'll one day need to be fitted for a plus-sized gold blazer.

Defensive tackle: Sharrif Floyd, Minnesota Vikings

Vikings fans have been spoiled over the decades by high-quality defensive linemen, and this generation is no different, thanks to Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Floyd, whose mulligan of a second NFL season validated his first-round selection.

Twelve sacks over the last two seasons: nice. The fact Daniels hasn't peaked yet: even nicer.

Outside linebacker: Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers

Even if he winds up back on the inside for Green Bay, our divisional team requires his services in his more natural spot on the edge, to better terrorize QBs.

Inside linebacker: Stephen Tulloch, Detroit Lions

The tackling machine broke down attempting his take on the Discount Double Check. Assuming his knee is fully repaired, he'll have even more energy to wrap up opposing ball carriers now that he (probably) won't be bothering with post-tackle celebrations.

Outside linebacker: Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings

The rookie out of UCLA was just what Dr. Mike Zimmer ordered in 2014, providing the versatility and disruptive playmaking 21st-century defenses covet.

With Tramon Williams gone, Hayward will be expected to elevate beyond his already-impressive standard.

Rhodes is big, physical and emerging as one of the best cover corners in the game. Look for 2015 first-rounder Trae Waynes to follow the same trajectory.

Now going into his fourth season, the safety out of Notre Dame is the leader of an emerging defense.

The Lions' ballhawk led the league in interceptions in 2014.

SPECIAL TEAMS

He's fast.

The former Bronco found new life in Detroit, where he went 9-for-13 from 40-plus.

He's the best of a mediocre group.

Follow Dave Dameshek on Twitter @Dameshek.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.