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Michael Vick and the Biggest, Most Athletic Freaks at Each Position in the NFL

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIMay 24, 2011

Michael Vick and the Biggest, Most Athletic Freaks at Each Position in the NFL

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    DETROIT - AUGUST 28:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on August 28, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Some players are technicians at their position, relying on refined skills like accuracy, route running, footwork or other position-specific skills.

    Other players, however, rely on freakish, raw athleticism to make their mark on the game and outperform their competition.

    The requirement for being on this list is that the player has to have made a Pro Bowl (sorry, Taylor Mays).

    Without further ado, here are the biggest athletic freaks at each position in the NFL.

Quarterback: Michael Vick

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    HONOLULU - JANUARY 30:  Michael Vick, #7 of the NFC Philadelphia Eagles passes against the American Football Conference team (AFC) during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Image
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

    Michael Vick leads the most dynamic and explosive offense in the NFL and is the most freakish athlete at the quarterback position.

    Vick may be just a few hairs above 6'0", but he is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who can make a huge play at any time on the ground or through the air.

    Vick ran a 4.33 second in the 40-yard dash in the scouting combine, a number that is unheard of for a quarterback.

    Not only is he fast, but Vick has tremendous arm strength, as evidenced by his almost 61-yard pass to DeSean Jackson that led to an 88-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football.

Running Back: Adrian Peterson

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 31: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs his route during the 2010 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Adrian Peterson is a special athlete and is a lock to go in the top three of many fantasy drafts in the upcoming year.

    Peterson is a 6'1", 217-pound running back who runs with a purpose, and he is the most freakish athlete at the position.

    "Purple Jesus", as he is called, ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash in the scouting combine and doesn't even rely on his sole speed to beat the defense. He is also a powerful force who runs over defenders in the open field.

    No. 28 has parlayed his freakish athleticism into tremendous on-field success, and is now a perennial Pro Bowler.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson Jr.

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches the ball on an 87-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Gian
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    It's a good thing Calvin Johnson made the Pro Bowl this year, otherwise, the star wideout wouldn't have met the criteria for the list.

    Johnson is a 6'5" beast who was a can't-miss prospect out of Georgia Tech and is now a can't-miss wide receiver on Detroit.

    At his Pro Day, Johnson went absolutely nuts: the receiver posted a vertical jump of 44 1/2 inches and broad jumped 11 feet and 10 inches.

    Johnson also ran a 4.33 second in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, and his raw athleticism has made him a dangerous player in the NFL.

Tight End: Vernon Davis

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 21:  Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers in action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park on November 21, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    When you think of a freakishly athletic tight end, you think of Vernon Davis.

    Davis is a monster, weighing in at about 250 pounds and checking in at a height of 6'3", but plays like a receiver in the open field.

    The 49er ran a sick 4.38 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine to go with an insane 42-inch vertical jump and 10'8" broad jump.

    Davis is no sloucher as a blocker either, and his athleticism translates to invaluable versatility on the field.

Offensive Line: Joe Thomas

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 01: Tommie Harris #91 of the Chicago Bears is double-teamed blocked by Joe Thomas #73 and Eric Steinbach #65 of the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field on November 1, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Browns 30-6. (Photo b
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Joe Thomas doesn't strike many as the most athletic guy, but he is the type of deceiving athlete that makes for success in the NFL.

    Thomas gets less credit than he deserves, facing off against the likes of Terrell Suggs and James Harrison on a regular basis.

    The Browns lineman is a freakish athlete, running a 40-yard dash in under five seconds. He is also a perennial Pro Bowl pick.

    It's not easy to find a freakish athlete on the offensive line, but Thomas is a fantastic player and deserves the honor for how well he performs.

Defensive Line: Julius Peppers

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears reacts while taking on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Julius Peppers, the biggest freak of an athlete on the defensive line, is as close to a no-brainer as you can get with this list.

    Peppers is an animal, checking in at 6'7" and 280 pounds; the lineman is also scheme-diverse, having played in a 4-3 but also capable of succeeding in the 3-4.

    The defensive end is a monster to face: he has posted double-digit sack totals in six of the nine years he's been in the NFL.

    Peppers is physically gifted and is a true cornerstone at the position, wherever he goes.

Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9:  DeMarcus Ware #94 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after the Cowboys recovered a second quarter fumble by Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 i
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    DeMarcus Ware is a sculpted athlete, capable of sacking the quarterback at a prolific rate as a 3-4 rush linebacker.

    Ware benefited from Wade Phillips' aggressive defensive approach in Dallas, but he is no product of a system—the linebacker is a straight-up beast.

    No. 94 is 6'4", 250 pounds and ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine before the 2005 NFL draft.

    The Cowboy is arguably the best pass-rusher in the NFL, having led the NFL in sacks last year.

Cornerback: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 19:  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #29 of the Arizona Cardinals breaks up a pass to Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It seems that freakish athleticism runs in this family, as Dominique's relative Antonio Cromartie is also a pretty good athlete.

    Rodgers-Cromartie, however, is a freak. The Cardinal is a long, lean 6'2", 180-pound playmaker who ran a 4.33 at the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.

    The cornerback has a 40.5-inch vertical jump and a 11'1" broad jump, showing his raw athleticism.

    Also, the Tennessee State product has 13 interceptions in three NFL seasons, and he has relied on his pure talent to be a gamebreaker at the highest level.

Safety: Ed Reed

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the New England Patriots during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Ravens won 33-14.  (Photo by Elsa/Ge
    Elsa/Getty Images

    If Taylor Mays met the list criteria, he'd have been the safety in this spot, not Reed.

    However, Ed Reed is a Pro Bowler and an athletic freak. The 5'11", 200-pound safety is one of the most feared defenders of this generation.

    Reed is capable of taking any interception for a touchdown, having already run back an interception for a 108-yard touchdown.

    The Raven, despite playing in just 10 games this year, led the NFL in interceptions, showing just how athletic he is.

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