The 29 Softest Players in the NFL Today

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIAugust 15, 2011

The 29 Softest Players in the NFL Today

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    Professional football isn't the sport to play when you are "soft," but year after year we continue to see these types of players in the league. This year is no different, as there are plenty of soft players in the NFL.

    When you fall to the ground so you don't get hit, you are soft. When you run out of bounds instead of getting the extra yard, you are soft.

    To be considered soft in any aspect of life is never a good thing, but when you are a professional football player and giving/taking hits is basically your job description, it is even worse.

    Here are the 29 softest players in the NFL today.

The Definition of Being Soft

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    This video is the definition of being soft. When Todd Pinkston stopped trying to catch the football simply to keep from getting hit, he forever sealed his fate as the softest player in NFL history.

    The following players might not be as soft as Pinkston, but they sure aren't the toughest players in the NFL today.

    Enjoy the list.

Al Harris, CB

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    There were few cornerbacks who were as undervalued as Al Harris during the early 2000s. Harris was a great shutdown corner for the Green Bay Packers and was known for his physical style of play.

    Unfortunately, Harris has struggled with injuries the past few seasons and has become extremely soft. Rarely will you see him be physical with receivers for fear of getting injured again. Instead he gets pushed around and taken advantage of.

    Hopefully he can change his career around with the St. Louis Rams, but if he makes the roster, expect more soft play from Harris.

Albert Haynesworth, DT

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    It seems that any list that involves Albert Haynesworth isn't a good list for NFL players to be on. This list falls into the same category.

    After dominating offenses in Tennessee, Haynesworth signed a fat contract to play for the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately for Washington, after Haynesworth signed that fat contract, he simply became fat. He was out of shape and taken advantage of by offensive linemen constantly.

    Any player that is pushing 350 pounds and can't keep his own on the line is soft in my book.

Alex Smith, QB

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    There are players that are physically soft and players that are mentally soft. Alex Smith falls into the second category.

    Since he entered the league, every year has been a supposed breakout year for Smith. Yet year after year, he fails to perform up to expectations.

    My prognosis? A soft mind that doesn't allow him to become an upper-echelon talent.

Antwaan Randle El, WR

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    Coming out of college, Antwaan Randle El was one of the most unique football players in the league. He could pass, catch and run, and even though he didn't do any one thing exceptionally, he did them all well enough to be a threat.

    His career has taken a downward spiral the past few seasons, and the reason is related to him becoming a soft player. Often when returning kicks or punts, Randle El will choose to run out of bounds instead of fight for the extra yard.

Bobby Carpenter, LB

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    In the photo above, Bobby Carpenter isn't the guy running the football. Carpenter is the guy that purposely waited until the last moment just so he wouldn't have to make a tackle. Of course, he had to dive to make it look like he was trying.

    This is a simple fact: You can't be a linebacker in the NFL and not want to make contact. After getting continuously beat by Marc Colombo in an episode of Hard Knocks, Carpenter earned the nickname "Barbie Carpenter."

    If that isn't soft, I don't know what is.

Brandon Jackson, RB

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    As a third-down specialist running back, you only see the field a limited number of times during the game. You'd think that this type of back would enter the game and be ready to pound the ball.

    Well, if you thought that about Brandon Jackson, you thought wrong.

    Jackson, who was picked up by the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, never ran the ball up the middle. He would often attempt to run to the outside and usually lose yards.

    He was even worse catching the ball out of the backfield, as the first sign of contact sent him running towards the sidelines.

Brandon McDonald, CB

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    Look at that picture above. You have Aaron Rodgers running the ball and possibly getting ready to fall to the ground. You also see Brandon McDonald diving to the ground, missing the tackle and getting ready to face-plant.

    When attempting to tackle a quarterback, there is no need to go for the legs. Be a man and put a good lick on him.

    The fact that McDonald attempts these weak tackles against quarterbacks is the reason he is soft.

Deion Branch, WR

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    When was the last time you remember Deion Branch making a catch over the middle of the football field?

    When a player is shy about crossing the middle of the field to make a catch just because he doesn't want to get hit, he gets a spot on this list.

    Welcome to the list, Mr. Branch.

DeShawn Wynn, RB

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    There is a reason that DeShawn Wynn has had a difficult time staying on an NFL roster.

    It isn't because he lacks talent, but rather because Wynn is a major softy. You would think that a player with his weight would like a little contact. However, Wynn often shies away from contact for fear of getting hurt.

    Until Wynn is ready to get hit, he will continue to jump from roster to roster.

Donovan McNabb, QB

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    Five years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of calling Donovan McNabb soft. Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on McNabb, and things have changed.

    First, who would ever willingly give up his starting position to Rex Grossman? Had McNabb fought for his position and given his all to prove he was the better quarterback, he would most likely still be on the Washington Redskins.

    He will now start for the Minnesota Vikings, where he can be soft all he wants because all he has to do is hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson.

Ellis Hobbs, CB

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    It is one thing to get injured every once in a while. For Ellis Hobbs, he is lucky to spend more than half a season actually on the field these days.

    It's unfortunate because Hobbs showed flashes of brilliance during his years with New England. Now in Philadelphia, playing behind Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel, Hobbs will be lucky to even see the field.

    The crazy thing about Hobbs' injuries is that they never occur due to any contact. Sounds sort of suspicious to me.

Jay Cutler, QB

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    I'll be brief for fear of beating a dead horse, but Jay Cutler is soft.

    You don't leave the field during an NFC Championship Game and then spend the rest of the day walking around. Heck, Byron Leftwich finished a game with a broken leg, and it was just some unimportant college game.

    All I'm saying is that he could have tried to get back on the field.

Keith Brooking, LB

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    Keith Brooking is one angry dude, and he has actually had a good amount of success in the NFL. Of course, that success hasn't taken place in recent years, but that is besides the point.

    Just because someone is angry doesn't mean that they are tough. Brooking can yell, scream and throw cheap shots all he wants, but until he puts forth an effort to make a tackle by himself instead of just jumping on a pile at the last second, he will be considered soft.

Kelly Jennings, CB

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    Listen, when you are asked to cover Terry Glenn, a retired softy, because you have a similar build and playing style, you are soft.

    Kelly Jennings was forced to man-up on Glenn during the 2006 playoffs for that exact reason. His career hasn't changed directions either, as Jennings is still considered soft to this day due to his lack of physical play.

Matt Leinart, QB

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    Look at that face. You really think that Matt Leinart is going to risk ruining that face by being a tough guy? That's what I thought.

    This may be an unfair assessment because we never get to see Leinart on the field, but my guess is that if he was ever on the field, he would fold into the fetal position the first time he saw a linebacker coming towards him.

Mike Jenkins, CB

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    Everything was going great for Mike Jenkins until a 2010 playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings. In that game, he got burned twice by Sidney Rice because of his lack of physical play.

    Jenkins is still a relatively young player, so hopefully he can turn his career around. As it sits right now, he is looking at having a long career of getting burned because he is soft.

Patrick Crayton, WR

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    There is no doubting Patrick Crayton's ability to talk a big game. All he needs to learn to do now is back it up on the field.

    Where Crayton is soft isn't as a wide receiver, which is surprising, but rather as a punt returner. I have never seen someone return a punt and then run out of bounds just so he doesn't have to be tackled by the punter.

    Come on man, it's a punter. They aren't exactly the toughest players in the NFL.

Peyton Manning, QB

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    This video says it all for Peyton Manning.

    At least try to make a play instead of just falling to the ground in fear.

Prince Amukamara, CB

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    I don't know enough about Nigerian players to fully agree with what was said about Prince Amukamara during the NFL draft.

    However, Amukamara dropped so far in the draft for a reason, and being considered soft might have been that reason.

Randy Moss, WR

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    I know, "technically" Randy Moss is retired, but we all know that won't last for very long.

    When Moss does return, he will be that same soft player who hated physical contact.

Reggie Bush, RB

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    After Reggie Bush got hit like this, he came to the conclusion that he didn't want to get hit again.

    He will now be a soft player for the Miami Dolphins.

Rex Grossman, QB

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    I know that I rail on Rex Grossman fairly often, but when he was the quarterback for the Chicago Bears, he was my favorite player.

    Why, you ask? I knew that every time he touched the ball he would either throw an interception or get injured.

    The injuries are what make him soft. Interceptions just make him a bad quarterback.

Sean Considine, S

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    The day that Sean Considine puts a good licking on a wide receiver will be the day that that pigs fly. It is possible, but highly unlikely.

    Considine has struggled with injuries during his career, which may be why he doesn't enjoy hitting opposing players. However, when you are a safety in the NFL, you need to stop worrying about injuries and start hitting players.

    Let us hope that Considine figures this out in Carolina.

Shawne Merriman, LB

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    A few years ago, Shawne Merriman was one of the most feared linebackers in the NFL. Of course, that was before we realized he was using performance-enhancing supplements.

    Now, Merriman is simply a shell of his former self, and it is a shame to see how far he has fallen. Where he was once a strong and physical player, he now appears slow and soft on the field.

    This is why you don't break the rules.

Sinorice Moss, WR

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    Having fantastic speed is never a bad thing in the NFL and that is what Sinorice Moss has. The only problem is that at the first glance of a defensive player, Moss turns off that speed and hits the ground.

    Moss' career hasn't been anything close to what was expected of him coming out of college. He hasn't developed into a great receiver, and his fear of getting hit could be the reason why.

Tom Brady, QB

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    Tom "Goldilocks" Brady (yeah, I just made up that nickname) would never risk anything to hurt that face or mess up his hair.

    Why? At the first glance of Brady with a broken nose or bad haircut, Gisele Bundchen would be out the door. In Brady's case, being soft is the greatest decision.

    Heck, I would be the softest man on Earth just so I wouldn't have to lose Gisele.

Tully Banta-Cain, LB

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    Currently, Tully Banta-Cain doesn't have a team to play for, as the New England Patriots released him a few weeks ago. I think I know exactly why they let him go, and I'll explain it to you.

    Do you know why Jerod Mayo was able to rack up so many tackles last year? Because Banta-Cain was too afraid to tackle anyone.

    Bill Belichick doesn't stand for soft players, and Banta-Cain might be the softest on this list.

Vince Young, QB

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    Vince Young is another player who falls into the category of mentally soft. It is rather surprising that this is what Young has turned into considering how mentally strong he was in college, but things happen.

    Young isn't scared to get hit, and he is a rather physical player. However, when you throw a hissy fit and cry like a girl, you fall into the category of soft.

    Come on Vince, wipe up those tears. I'm only a silly sportswriter.

Wes Welker, WR

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    There might not be another receiver in the NFL who hears footsteps behind him as much as Wes Welker. This is shocking because Welker makes his living going over the middle on short slants.

    Once Welker hears a defender behind him or sees one in front of him, he heads straight for the ground. He'll make the catch first, of course, but gaining any yards after the catch just isn't going to happen due to Welker's softness.