The Ultimate NFL Player: From Head to Toe

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIINovember 13, 2008

Eyes: Devin Hester, WR/KR/PR, Chicago Bears

As a kick/punt returner, the Bears' Devin Hester has to be able to see the entire field on every given play. He has returned 13 kicks, punts, or missed field goals for touchdowns, including the opening kickoff to the Super Bowl, and ranks third on the all-time list for career return touchdowns.


Nose: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has a nose for the end zone. He set the single-season record for touchdowns in 2006 (31). He has 134 career touchdowns in 120 games. And if anybody breaks Jerry Rice's career record of 207 scores, it's L.T.


Mouth: Brian Dawkins, FS, Philadelphia Eagles

He has been the vocal leader in the locker room for the Philadelphia Eagles and for the defense for 12 years. A devoted Christian, Dawkins knows how to motivate his teammates and get the best out of his teammates without swearing. He has been to six Pro Bowls and is a fixture for the NFL Hall of Fame.


Ears: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger is the best in the NFL at getting rid of the ball as he is being hit or right before. The Steelers' quarterback led them to a 15-1 record in 2004 and a Super Bowl title in 2005. Roethlisberger threw for a career-high 32 touchdown passes in 2007.


Hair: Troy Polamalu, SS, Pittsburgh Steelers

His locks have been the trademark of the NFL. He was even tackled by his hair, after Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson pulled him down by his hair following an interception. Polamalu is in the early running for 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Steelers to a Super Bowl title in 2005.


Head: David Tyree, WR, New York Giants

He only caught four passes during the regular season but wide receiver David Tyree made one of the most famous catches in NFL history in the final minute of last year's Super Bowl, when he trapped Eli Manning's desperation 3rd-and-5 pass against the side of his helmet for a 32-yard gain. The Giants won the game 17-14.


Brain: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning is the smartest quarterback in the NFL—so smart, in fact, that head coach Tony Dungy lets Manning call his own plays. It has worked. Manning earned MVP honors when he threw for a then-record 49 touchdown passes in the 2004 campaign. He led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory following the 2006 season and currently ranks second all-time in most passing categories.


Right Arm: JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders

At the Scouting Combine in 2007, Russell impressed NFL scouts by throwing a football 60 yards—while on his knees. The No. 1 pick in that year's draft, Russell has struggled with the Raiders but sports one of the best throwing arms in the game.


Left Arm: Michael Vick, QB, Prison

Ok, so he's in prison. Guess what? There are no good left-handed quarterbacks in the NFL. There are only a handful of backup left-handed quarterbacks in the NFL. So Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcon quarterback, earns this distinction. Vick led the Falcons to playoff berths following the 2002 and 2004 seasons. He is the only quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.


Hands: Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts

One of the more consistent wide receivers in the history of the NFL, Harrison has surpassed 1,000 catches, 10,000 yards, and 100 touchdowns in his illustrious career. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Colts in 2006. His twisting touchdown catch against the Patriots on Monday Night Football that same year is a testament to his greatness.


Wingspan: Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina Panthers

Defensive end Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers stands at 6'7" and uses his enormous wingspan to fend off blockers and reach the quarterback. The all-time sack leader in Panthers' history, Peppers has blocked at least on kick for five consecutive seasons, an NFL-record.


Shoulders: Walter Jones, OT, Seattle Seahawks

Offensive tackle Walter Jones of the Seattle Seahawks stands 6'5 and weighs 325 pounds. When he squares his shoulders at the line, he can stand up to any player in football. The eight-time Pro Bowler was ranked No. 1 by the Sporting News in their 2006 publication of the “NFL's 101 Best Players.”


Chest: Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens

No man in the NFL, maybe in the world, is as muscular as Ray Lewis, who looks like he could take the kick of a horse to the chest without falling over. The nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time Defensive Player of the Year led the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2000, earning MVP honors.


Abs: Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas Cowboys

I hate this man, but how could I not pick him? He's freakin' ripped! And he shows the world by doing sit-ups in his driveway. Owens has muscled his way for 134 touchdowns in his career and holds the NFL single-game record for receptions with 20.


Knees: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Late in his rookie season, Peterson, already the holder of the NFL's single-game record for rushing yards (296), sprained his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. Peterson missed a month but returned to rush for 116 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back. He leads the NFL in rushing yards in 2008 (1015) and has the Vikings in contention for a playoff spot.


Hips: Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Westbrook has the most swiveling hips I have ever seen. The legendary YouTube clip of him juking out 49ers safety Tony Parrish only adds to his reputation. Westbrook holds the Eagles' single-season record for total yards and led the team to a Super Bowl berth in 2004. He might be the most clutch athlete in Philadelphia.


Legs: Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants

Try to tackle Brandon Jacobs. This man stands 6'4" and weighs 260 pounds, with legs as effective as battering rams. Jacobs is an early candidate for NFL MVP in 2008. He led the Giants to a Super Bowl title in 2007. Jacobs simply cannot be stopped on third or fourth and short.


Feet: Reggie Bush, RB/PR, New Orleans Saints

Bush is one of the fastest players in the NFL. He averages almost 22 yards per punt return in 2008, including three touchdowns. Bush tied an NFL-record with two punt return touchdowns in one game against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.


Heart: Correll Buckhalter, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Listen to me. You can call me biased. But any backup running back who returns from three season-ending knee surgeries has the heart of a champion in my book. Three full seasons, 48 games missed, and Correll Buckhalter is still in the NFL. And he's good, one of the best backup running backs in the NFL, who has successfully filled in for Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook on several occasions.


Size: Plaxico Burress, WR, New York Giants

Burress stands 6'5" but plays like he is 7'5". Trust me, I've seen him bury my Eagles time after time. He caught arguably the most famous touchdown pass in the history of the NFL to win last year's Super Bowl. He has never made a Pro Bowl—not one time—but is the top receiver for a Giants squad poised to reach its second straight Super Bowl.


Charisma: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

It takes a lot of charisma for an NFL rookie, in his first professional season, to lead a team expected to win two or three games to a 6-3 record by midseason. Ryan scored a 32 on the Wonderlic test, the highest by a quarterback in the 2008 draft, and is the fourth highest paid player in the NFL. The last-minute drive he led to beat the Bears ranks up with any comeback ever administered by Joe Montana or John Elway.


Health: Jon Runyan, OT, Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles' tackle Jon Runyan has started 198 consecutive games, including 18 in the postseason. Runyan played in the Super Bowl with the Titans and the Eagles. Tennessee Titans cornerback Corteland Finnegan said that the scariest thing in the NFL would be to face a screen pass to Brian Westbrook with Jon Runyan as the lead blocker. Runyan was voted as the NFL's second-dirtiest player.


Toughness: Brett Favre, QB, New York Jets

Brett Favre has started 282 consecutive games at quarterback, including 22 in the postseason. Favre has played through the following injuries: sprained left knee, severely swollen ankle, broken thumb on throwing hand, separated shoulder, and severe concussion. The three-time NFL MVP led the Packers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning in 1996.


Versatility: Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

I have the utmost respect for this man, who could have been my pick for toughness, courage, or intensity as well. Ward was a high school quarterback and running back. He is one of the top wide receivers in the NFL and is the No. 1 blocking wide receiver. The 2005 Super Bowl MVP could also be a tight end and his notorious crack-back hits have the ferocity of a linebacker or a safety.


Courage: Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

Steve Smith stands 5'9" and weighs 188 pounds, but has garnered a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. The 2006 Comeback Player of the Year, Smith led the NFL in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2005, and is one of three players in history to run back two punts for touchdowns in the same game in which he also caught a touchdown pass. Smith broke teammate Ken Lucas's nose in an altercation in training camp in 2008.


Intensity: Rodney Harrison, SS, New England Patriots

Rodney Harrison was named as the dirtiest player in the NFL and has paid almost a quarter million dollars in fines during his 15 seasons. Harrison missed the entire 2005 season with a torn ACL and suffered a torn quadriceps muscle in the 2008 season that threatens to end his career.

Harrison received a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002 and is the NFL's all-time leader in personal foul penalties. Harrison is also the only player in NFL history to intercept 30 passes and record 30 sacks, and has seven career postseason interceptions.


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