Wes Welker, WR - New England: The Pats knew what they were doing when they signed this kid. He's become Tom Brady's go-to guy. The Chargers and Dolphins both knew he had heart, but left it Bill Belichick to turn Welker into a weapon.
Most people say Welker is a residual product of a great passing offense. I thought so, too, in the beginning—but after watching him in this last game in New York, I think the opposite might be true.
Devin Hester, WR - Chicago: Hester's the best thing to hit the Windy City since that other number 23. The Bears have enough critics telling them what they should do, but one suggestion shouldn't be too difficult: find a way to get the ball in this kid's hands more often. I've never seen a player who can make guys miss like Hester can.
Mario Williams, DE - Houston: The Texans' fans aren't chanting "Reggie Bush" any longer. This monster is beginning to live up to his potential. Last season they were comparing him to Jaleel White (Urkel) rather than Reggie White, but Mario's breakout 2007 season has quelled those comparisons.
D.J. Williams, LB - Denver: I don't know if its because he's got a nose for the ball or that the Broncos' DL is terrible, but this guy's name gets called frequently every Sunday. It might be a little of both. Either way, he should be recognized.
Jared Allen, DE - Kansas City: After missing the first two games (he was suspended for a DUI arrest), Allen led the league in sacks. This massive (6-6, 270) Idahoan has steadily become one of the game's best defensive ends. Let's hope he stays sober and continues his rise to success.
Reggie Wayne, WR - Indianapolis: Marvin Harrison's injury thrust Wayne to the forefront of the Colts' passing game. Lo and behold, he responded. For my money, this guy's as good as anyone out there. A quieter superstar you won't find anywhere.
Kurt Warner, QB - Arizona: Yes, he's still in the league. After Matt Leinart was knocked out of the box early on, Warner stepped in and started 11 games. He ended up ninth in the league in TD passes, and saved the Cardinals from what could have been a disastrous season.
David Diehl, LT - NY Giants: Diehl was supposed to be a fall-down failure this season. Mel Kiper Jr. was ripping the Giants for not getting a replacement for Luke Petitgout in the draft. Turns out they were all wrong about Diehl. He kicks ass on running plays and holds his own against the pass (no pun intended).
Rob Bironas, K - Tennessee: Bironas hit 35 of 39 FG attempts and made four-of-five from over 50 yards out. He also had eight in one game (a league record), and a 56-yarder—the second-longest in the NFL this season. He will be a key player in the Titans quest to advance in the AFC playoffs.
Kerry Rhodes, S - NY Jets: I know, this is the worst of his three seasons in the league. But ask any GM if they wouldn't make him an offer if he were a free agent. Remember, the Jets went from a 4-3 to a 3-4, which is partly the reason Rhodes' tackles were down this year.
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