John Clayton’s 2011 All-Pro team and My Views

By John Clayton of ESPN
The season is 16 games, which means sometimes things change from the midseason evaluation of the best players at each position.Although Steve Smith finished with one of his best seasons, it’s hard not to put Wes Welker and his incredible numbers ahead of him. Center Nick Mangold finished strong and wrestled the top spot from Chris Myers of the Texans and Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suhstomped his way off the All-Pro list with dumb penalties and problems stopping running plays.Here are my All-Pro selections:

Clayton’s All-Pro team NFL senior writer John Clayton picks his 2011 All-Pro team:


Pos. Player Team Comment
WR Calvin Johnson Megatron was unstoppable this season no matter how many defenders were around him. He led the league with 1,681 yards and led WRs with 16 touchdown catches.
WR Wes Welker Welker, who had 122 catches and 1,569 yards, worked the middle of the field like no other and helped Tom Brady to his first 5,000-yard season.
LT Joe Thomas Injuries at the end of the season knocked out Jake Long and re-established Thomas as the top left tackle in football. He gave up only 3.5 sacks for a young quarterback and a struggling offense in a division that featured three playoff teams.
LG Carl Nicks This was my toughest choice. Logan Mankins is an icon, but Nicks surrendered two fewer sacks than Mankins and provided great blocking on the run.
C Nick Mangold This strong position also features Pouncey, Myers and Ryan Kalil. Mangold finished the season strong enough to edge out for honors.
RG Jahri Evans Evans cut down on his penalties this year and remained the main force on the right side of the Saints’ offensive line.
RT Eric Winston The Texans’ line blocked so well that they had to have somebody on the All-Pro list. Winston maintained the RT lead; I had him as my midseason selection.
TE Rob Gronkowski Jimmy Graham was my first-half All-Pro, but in the greatest tight end battle I’ve ever seen, The Gronk set an NFL record for tight ends with 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns, beating Graham by 17 yards and six touchdowns.
QB Aaron Rodgers Sure, Drew Brees set more records than Rodgers, but a 15-1 season and a victory over Brees in the season-opener give him the nod.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew Despite trying to break in a rookie quarterback, Jones-Drew destroyed eight-man defensive fronts to win the NFL rushing title
RB LeSean McCoy Not only did he gain 1,309 yards and prove he’s an every-down back, he made red zone trips productive with 20 touchdowns, 17 on the ground.
FB Vonta Leach NFL players voted him into the top 100 players in the league during the offseason, and he’s proved it in the move from Houston to Baltimore.


Pos. Player Team Comment
DE Jared Allen Sure, he fell a half-sack short of Michael Strahan’s NFL record but getting 22 sacks on a 3-13 team is incredible.
DT Haloti Ngata Ngata remains a dominating force in the middle of the Ravens’ defense.
DT Geno Atkins Atkins was Pro Bowl alternate with 48 tackles and eight sacks, but he makes my list ahead of Suh.
DE Justin Smith He made the Pro Bowl at defensive tackle, but he’s an end in a 3-4. Aaron Smith of the Steelers was the best 3-4 end in the 2000s, and Smith is emerging as the next challenger.
OLB Terrell Suggs T-Sizzle was my Defensive MVP, so he wins this spot.
ILB Patrick Willis He led a defense that was absolutely great against the run and tough to beat with a passing attack.
ILB Brian Cushing Ignored for the Pro Bowl but not ignored here. Though controversial off the field, Cushing is a great player on the field and helped the Texans become a top-level defense.
OLB DeMarcus Ware This may sound strange, but Ware’s 19.5 sacks came in what seemed a quiet season for him.
CB Johnathan Joseph Joseph’s leadership and man-to-man skills made as much of an impact on defense as any player did in free agency.
S Earl Thomas In his second year, Thomas’ range and leadership helped turn a young secondary into one of the best in football.
S Troy Polamalu When he’s out of the lineup, the Steelers struggle. He played 16 games this year, and the Steelers went 12-4.
CB Darrelle Revis More receivers ventured onto Revis’ island this season.


Pos. Player Team Comment
K David Akers He set records with 44 field goals in 52 attempts and didn’t put in a claim for overtime.
P Shane Lechler He should win the Ray Guy Award for locking up his seventh trip to the Pro Bowl.
KR Patrick Peterson Normally this slot is reserved for Devin Hester, but let’s rent it out for a season. Peterson had four punt returns for touchdowns and broke Louis Lipps’ rookie punt return yardage record.
Mr Clayton I respect you very much, I am a Pats fan who lives in Louisiana, and week in and week out I get a chance to watch two of the best QBs in History and not that Rodgers isn’t great he is. But Hoyer or Daniels couldn’t come off the bench against a DEF as good as the Lions and put up almost 500 yards and 6 TDS like Matt Flynn did. So I feel and it hurts me not to say Brady but Brees should be the QB on your team and Rodgers wasnt 15-1 he was 14-1. You could take Rodgers off the Packers and they are still a playoff team something you couldn’t do in New Orleans or New England
Just Saying

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Author: Murphy

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