This decade has been one of the most memorable decades of all time. It has provided us with some of the best players in football history. We have seen some of the greatest performances and records set. It has provided us with 2 of the gretaest QB's ever and one great debate. I will present the defense in a 3-4 because the 3-4 has been one of the big changes to the NFL.
1st string: Peyton Manning- This is probably the most debateable topics on the list. So lets get the debate out of the way. Peyton Manning revolutionized the audible. He leaves defenses confused and out of place at the line. His stats are out of this world and he very likley will break a lot of passing records when he hangs up his cleats. Plus hes won a Superbowl and may be the most sucsessful regular season QB of all time.
2nd String: Tom Brady
Honarable Mentions: Kurt Warner, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb
1st string: Ladainian Tomlinson
No doubt the best RB of the decade will go down as one of the best ever. A tough and fast runner. Holds the record for TD's in a season at 31. Also holds the record for most consecutive games with a rushing TD.
2nd string: Edgerrin James
Honorable Mentions:Clinton Portis, Curtis Martin, Ahman Green, Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson, Tiki Barber
1st string: Mike Alstot
At an under the radar position Mike Alstot was nothing of the sort. He was one of the few fullbacks of our generation that was actually nticed and appreciated. And he certaintly deserved it the 6 time Pro-Bowler was one of the few fullbacks who got to carry the ball in this generation and he certaintly made the most of it.
Runner up: Lorenzo Neal
Honorable Mentions: Tony Richardson, Greg Jones
Wide Receiver: Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison
Marvin Harrison was did something that no other big time wide out of our decade was able to do. He kept his mouth shut. You never heard about him complaining on SportsCenter and with 107 TD's this decade he let his skills on the field do the talking. He may very well be the reason Peyton Manning is the first QB on this list just a tremendous player and an even better person.
Randy Moss went through some hard times during this decade. There was his time with the Raiders where he wasnt happy and didnt perform. Then there was his legal troubles. However despite all that he may have been the most skill receiver of this decade. He scored 116 TD's this decade(4 games remaining) and gained over 11,000 yards. He has every skill you could want in a wide out which is why hes on this list.
2nd String: Torry Holt, Terell Owens
Honorable Mentions: Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith(Panthers), Eric Moulds, Larry Fitzgerald, Hines Ward, Donald Driver
Tight End: Tony Gonzalez
By far the best Tight end of the decade. Maybe the best Tight end ever. He has been selected to play in the Pro Bowl in all 9 seasons so far this decade. For the last few years not including this one his QB's have been guys like Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen. If he can play so well with those QB's you better believe hes one of the greatest receivers ever no question the best Tight End.
2nd String: Antonio Gates
Honorable Mentions: Jason Witten, Jeremy Shockey
Offensive Tackles: Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace
Arguably the most important position in the NFL. Your QB cant win games if hes on his back. During this generation we witnessed some of the best ever. It kills me to leave off Walter Jones, but when its killing you to leave an O-Lineman off the list you know its been a good era for O-line. Both huge men with unbelieveable power and speed. Two once in a lifetime player, and they played at the same time. First ballot HOF'ers and with offensive lineman you will rarley hear that.
2nd string: Walter Jones and Willie Roaf
Honorable Mentions: Mark Tauscher, Orlando Pace
OG: Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson
A very important blocking position. While what happens on the outside gets more credit. The guys doing the dirty work on the inside should get just as much credit. There asked to do stuff such as pull out on blocks or take out defensive tackles to create holes for the running game and these were and are two of the best at it. People may not know but if not for Hutchinson Adrian Peterson wouldnt be close to as good as he is now and since Alan Faneca came to New York the running game has been the best dimension of the Jets.
2nd string: Larry Allen, Shawn Andrews
Honorable Mention: Leonard Davis
C: Kevin Mawae
Center may be the toughest O-Line postion. Snapping the ball to the QB and Quarterbacking the Offensive line is no easy job. Especially with the added factor of snap counts and blocking Nose Tackles in the new 3-4 Defenses. Mawae has been to 6 Pro Bowls this decade.
2nd string: Jeff Saturday
DE: Michael Strahan and Jason Taylor
Michael Strahan is the no brainer pick here the guy tottaly dominated our decade and our era. He brought fear into the eyes of opposing QB's from his breakout campaign in 1997 untl the day he retired. From 2001 to 2003 he totaled 52 sacks in a 3 year span while being doubled during the 3 year span. If thats not pure dominance then what is? As for Taylor as much as Strahan dominated he did also. However what really made Taylor great was not just the sacks(which were there), but rather his ability to cause turnovers and his versatility to play end or OLB.
Runners up: Julius Peppers and Richard Seymour
Honorable Mentions: Dwight Freeny, Jared Allen, Simeon Rice
Nose Tackle: Warren Sapp
The most dominant Defensive/Nose Tackle of our decade period. Maybe the best ever. He revolutionized the DT/NT position and made some of us remember that it even exsisted. His rivalry with Brett Favre was great just like his whole career.
Runner Up: Pat Williams
Honoarable Mentions: Kris Jenkins, La'Roi Glover, Casey Hampton, Marcus Stroud
MLB: Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher
First off Ray Lewis is the obvious choice. He has dominated this decade and is one of the greatest MLB's ever. 7 Pro Bowls, 5 All Pros, 2 Defensive Player of the Year awards and a Super Bowl MVP all in one decade. Enough said. As for Brian Urlacher he is also the obvious choice as the 2nd MLB in the 3-4 that this is being picked in. He is the NFC's version of Ray Lewis 6 Pro Bowls, 4 All Pros, 1 Defensive Player of the year, 1 Defensive rookie of the year all in this decade. This was probably the easiest descion ive made on a position yet. These are hands down the 2 best MLB's of the decade.
Runners Up: Jerimiah Trotter, Al Wilson, Zach Thomas,
OLB's: Derrick Brooks and Joey Porter
Derrick Brooks is the obvious choice here. 8 Pro Bowls, 6 All-Pros and a Defensive Player of the year award all this decade. By far the best OLB of our decade. 88.0 Sacks 500+ Tackles so far this decade for Joey Porter. He's forced 22 fumbles and turned the Dolphins franchise around. He's a leader and a QB of his defense. A great player and most likley a future HOF.
Runners Up: Shawne Merriman and Julian Peterson
Honorable Mentions: Junior Seau
CB's: Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson
Champ Bailey is the best corner of our decade. Hes been so good throughout the course of his career that at times he could have not even moved and left his WR wide open and the QB still wouldnt throw him the ball because he wouldnt bother looking at the side of the field Champ Bailey was on. He was pictured in the dictionary next to shutdown corner. 8 Pro Bowls and 6 All Pros for him this decade. As for Charles Woodson hes done just about everything you can do as a defensive player. Hes special hes not just a shutdown corner hes a dominant defensive player. He does everything he intercepts balls(37), he takes them back for TD's(6), he forces fumbles(20), batts down passes(105), he has 550+ tackles and since he was installed in Dom Capers defense and got a chance to blitz he has 5.0 sacks.(All numbers are just stats from this decade).
Runners Up: Nnamdi Asomugha, Ty Law
Honorable Mentions: Ronde Barber, Chris McCalister, Asante Samuel
Safties: FS: Ed Reed, SS: Troy Polamalu
First of all Ed Reed is the best ballhawk in the NFL. He gives you what you want from your free saftie which is Turnovers, TD's and Hard Hits. With 5 pro Bowls and 5 All Pros hes made both All Pro and the Pro bowl in each of his NFL seasons except for his rookie year. Not to mention hes a former Defensive Player of the Year. As for Troy Polomalu in 6 NFL seasons 5 pro Bowls, 3 All Pros and 2 Super Bowls. He does everything from getting sacks to getting INT's.
Runners Up: FS: Brian Dawkins, SS: John Lynch
Honorable Mentions: Bob Sanders, Rodney Harrison, Darren Sharper, Roy Williams
Kicker: Adam Vinatieri
I dont think I need to evaluate on this. He will probably go down as the greatest post-season kicker of alll time and has a shot at making the HOF. AS A KICKER!!!
Runner Up: Jason Elam
Honorable Mention: Matt Stover, David Akers
Punter: Jeff Feagles
Although some of his dirty work was done in other decades he still got the job done in this one. He helped the Giants to a Super Bowl and is known for his coffin corner punt.
Runner Up: Shane Lechler
Honorable Mention: Brian Moorman
Kick/Punt Returner: Devin Hester
He's already brought back 11 total kicks including a field goal return and a Kick Return in the Super Bowl. In a game of inches a good kick returner certaintley pays dividends and Hester could change a game. Also for a while his Kick Returns were Chicago's only form of offense.
Runner Up: Dante Hall
Honorable Mention: Joshua Cribbs