Ranking the Top 12 Strongest Players in the NFL

Eli Nachmany@EliNachmanyCorrespondent IIIJuly 26, 2012

Ranking the Top 12 Strongest Players in the NFL

0 of 12

    It's easy to find the tallest, fastest or heaviest players in the NFL, but ranking strength is a whole different animal.

    For a team to win, it must have a good amount of strength somewhere on the field.

    Look for these strong NFLers to lead their teams to victory in 2012 and display their brute strength along the way.

12. Ben Roethlisberger

1 of 12

    Ben Roethlisberger shakes off 300-pound defensive linemen like he's a bull, so it's no wonder that the quarterback finds a spot on this list.

    'Big Ben' makes plays that many other signal callers can't make, if only because this field general has the brute strength to muscle past would-be tacklers.

    Roethlisberger has underrated strength, throwing down larger defenders in the interest of extending plays.

11. Vonta Leach

2 of 12

    The Ravens did a great job running the ball in 2011, thanks in large part to the play of fullback Vonta Leach.

    This backfield warrior has developed a reputation as a mauler who can clear paths for whatever running back is behind him.

    Leach blows up defensive ends and strong side linebackers, so look for this strong player to continue to exhibit his superiority in 2012.

10. Casey Hampton

3 of 12

    Casey Hampton is a mammoth nose tackle who clogs up gaps and makes plays along the line for the Steelers.

    As a 3-4 defensive tackle, this player is responsible for blowing up the center and plugging up two gaps.

    Hampton has some real strength and will look to bowl people over in 2012.

9. Stephen Paea

4 of 12

    After posting an impressive 49 bench press reps at the scouting combine during 2011, Paea solidified his status as one of the strongest players in the league.

    This defensive tackle can hold his ground in the run game (thanks to his rare strength), so look for him to compete for playing time in a crowded Chicago front four.

    Make no mistake, while strength isn't the only thing that Paea does well, it's this player's best suit.

8. Tim Tebow

5 of 12

    To run the 'read option' play as much as Tim Tebow has, one must have an inordinate amount of strength and a high tolerance for taking hits.

    Tebow may be known for his instincts and ability to move the ball down the field, but this muscle-bound behemoth is also able to stiff arm defenders and make plays.

    The league's strongest quarterback, this former Gator will take a beating in 2012 and for seasons to come.

7. Rob Gronkowski

6 of 12

    When not boxing out linebackers for tough passes, Rob Gronkowski delivers punishing down blocks and imposes his will upon defenders in other ways.

    The Patriot offense in 2011 was predicated around the things Gronkowski could do with or without the ball in his hands.

    Though he gets recognition for his receiving prowess, he's a fierce competitor and a strong player.

6. Frank Gore

7 of 12

    One of the league's smaller players, Frank Gore takes no prisoners when he carries the football.

    Gore has been tasked with carrying an enormous load in San Francisco, especially in 2011 for Jim Harbaugh's 'I-Form' run style.

    It's doubtful that Gore's workload will lighten, even with a more crowded backfield, for this runner is built for success with a very strong body.

5. Ryan Kalil

8 of 12

    While many think of the Panthers 2011 season as one in which the team spread the ball out with Cam Newton, don't forget that the team ran a lot of plays up the middle.

    Ryan Kalil is a special player and an elite run blocker, so Carolina makes its best attempt to utilize this center's prowess whenever possible.

    Kalil overpowers many defensive linemen, and the center plays the game with an innate strength.

4. Steve Weatherford

9 of 12

    The New York Times did a piece on Steve Weatherford's crazy workouts and physique, so check that out here for why this punter cracks the list.

    Punters usually don't need to be as strong and cut as Weatherford is, but the player attributes his hard work in the gym to a desire for longevity.

    Weatherford isn't going away anytime soon, especially not with this workout schedule.

3. Bryant McKinnie

10 of 12

    This big, hulking offensive tackle may not be one of the league's better offensive linemen, but he's certainly the strongest.

    A true factor in the run game, Bryant McKinnie blows open holes for Ray Rice and makes huge plays when asked to kick out defensive ends.

    This player needs to shore up a Raven unit that lost Ben Grubbs this offseason, but he's up to the task.

2. Haloti Ngata

11 of 12

    Haloti Ngata's made his living by controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing players like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs to make plays.

    Ngata is a true game changer who disrupts offensive plays and does many things that go unnoticed because of the nature of his position.

    The Ravens know just how important this defensive tackle is, for Ngata may be the best player on the team.

1. Patrick Willis

12 of 12

    Another workout warrior, Patrick Willis is a dedicated athlete in the weight room and on the field.

    This 49ers linebacker has elite speed for a player at his position, brought about by his very muscular body and strength.

    Willis delivers big hits all over the field and helped the 2011 49ers record one of the best defensive seasons of all time in terms of run defense.

    I'd really appreciate if you followed me on Twitter @EliNachmany!