The Most Reliable NFL Player at Every Position

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2011

The Most Reliable NFL Player at Every Position

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    Consistency is the greatest asset to players in the NFL.

    Players who can continually perform at a high level excel beyond expectations and establish themselves as one of the best at their respective positions in the league.

    The following group of NFL stars have been playing at an extremely high level for years and are continually relied upon by their teams. 

Quarterback: Drew Brees

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    Drew Brees is the essence of consistency. 

    The Saints quarterback is a team leader who continually performs at an unbelievable level. The 32-year-old has thrown 33 touchdown passes, 4350 yards and had a 65.0 completion percentage in each of the last four seasons.

    The Purdue product has led New Orleans to three straight playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl title in 2009. 

    Brees is also extremely consistent on a week-to-week basis. The perennial Pro Bowler has thrown a touchdown pass in 41 straight games, an unbelievable stat that ranks second in NFL history. 

    Honorable Mentions: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning

Running Back: Adrian Peterson

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    All Day is terrific every day.

    The Vikings running back is one of the most consistent backfield threats in the league today. He has missed just five games in five seasons as a pro and has amassed over 230 carries, 1250 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of those seasons. 

    The Oklahoma product has never not been selected to the Pro Bowl roster, and he has led the Vikings to a NFC Championship berth in 2009.

    The former first-round pick is constantly relied upon by Minnesota to perform at a high level, and he never seems to disappoint. 

    Honorable Mentions: Steven Jackson, Michael Turner

Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald

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    Larry Fitzgerald is an absolute beast.

    The Cardinals wide receiver is the only reliable weapon in Arizona's dismal offense, and he continues to produce terrific numbers.

    The Pittsburgh graduate has amassed at least 90 catches, 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in each of his last five seasons. The former first-round pick has missed only one game in that time as well. 

    Even with horrendous quarterback play, Fitzgerald continues to establish himself as one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the NFL. 

    Honorable Mentions: Greg Jennings, Marques Colston, Roddy White

Tight End: Jason Witten

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    Jason Witten changed how tight ends are involved in NFL offenses.

    The Cowboys star was one of the first at his position to be a consistent ball-catching threat, and he has continued to perform at a high level for years.

    The Tennessee product has eight straight seasons of at least 60 receptions, 750 yards and a touchdown. He has appeared in the Pro Bowl in each of those eight seasons, a record streak for a tight end. The 29-year-old has missed only one game in his entire nine year career.

    Witten has shown that a changing quarterback has no effect on his play, and he can be a consistent and reliable weapon in any offense. 

    Honorable Mentions: Tony Gonzalez

Tackle: Jake Long

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    Jake Long is the best tackle in football, mainly due to his unbelievable consistency. 

    The former No. 1 overall pick continues to lead the Dolphins offensive line and provide his quarterback with plenty of time in the pocket. He also opens up holes for running backs to sneak through and explode into the opponent's secondary.

    Long missed the first game of his professional career this Sunday, and the Michigan product has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons. 

    Honorable Mentions: Jahri Evans, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Joe Thomas

Guard: Carl Nicks

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    Carl Nicks is one of the unquestioned leaders of arguably the best offensive line in football. 

    The Pro Bowl guard has not missed a game in his career and is consistently regarded as one of the best at his position in the entire NFL. 

    The mammoth 26-year-old is one of the best pass protectors in the league, and he continues to open up holes for running backs.

    The former Nebraska Cornhusker is as reliable as they come on the offensive line. 

    Honorable Mentions: Logan Mankins

Center: Nick Mangold

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    No center means as much to their respective team as Nick Mangold.

    Mangold is the leader of a rock-solid Jets offensive line, and he has helped lead one of the best run games in football over the past half decade.

    The Ohio State product has missed just two games in his entire six-year career, and he has appeared in three consecutive Pro Bowls.

    Mangold is the most reliable center in the game today in a landslide.

    Honorable Mentions: Jeff Saturday

Defensive Tackle: Vince Wilfork

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    Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots is one of the best run stoppers in the NFL.

    The mammoth nose tackle has missed just a few games in his entire career, and he has appeared in three Pro Bowls over the last four seasons.

    The former first round pick constantly manages to clog opposing running backs and pressure the passer. He is the stability of a Patriots defense that struggles at times. 

    Honorable Mentions: Haloti Ngata

Defensive End: Jared Allen

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    Jared Allen's big mouth has earned him some haters, but no one can ever question his outstanding ability.

    The Vikings star has recorded at least 11 sacks in five straight seasons, and he has appeared in three Pro Bowls in that time period.

    The 29-year-old is arguably the most consistent pass-rusher in the league today, and he can be relied on to constantly pressure the opposing quarterback. 

    Honorable Mentions: Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole, Julius Peppers, Robert Mathis

Outside Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware

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    DeMarcus Ware is the most feared pass-rusher in football right now.

    The Cowboys' elite linebacker has recorded an amazing 96 sacks in just seven seasons, and has amassed at least 11 sacks in each of his past six seasons.

    Ware is a perennial Pro Bowl selection, and he has led the league in sacks twice. The Troy product has not missed a game in his career, and is consistently relied upon to bring mayhem to the opposing backfield. 

    Honorable Mentions: LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, Terrell Suggs

Inside Linebacker: Ray Lewis

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    Ray Lewis' consistency has made him one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game. 

    Despite facing adversity in his career, such as arrests and major injuries, the linebacker has managed to consistently put up amazing numbers.

    The Miami product has claimed a Super Bowl MVP, two Defensive Player of the Year awards and 12 Pro Bowl selections in 16 seasons as a pro.

    The former first-round draft pick leads a stingy Ravens defense, and continues to put up amazing numbers year after year.

    Honorable Mentions: Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis, Jonathan Vilma, Lance Briggs

Safety: Ed Reed

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    Ray Lewis is joined by veteran teammate, Ed Reed, on the list.

    Reed has performed at an elite level for over a decade, and he has recorded 63 interceptions for his career.

    The Miami graduate is the captain of a terrific Ravens secondary and has appeared in five consecutive Pro Bowls. 

    Honorable Mentions: Troy Polamalu

Cornerback: Darrelle Revis

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    Darrelle Revis may be the greatest cover corner the league has ever seen (except for Deion Sanders).

    The Pittsburgh graduate is consistently relied upon to shut down the opponent's No. 1 wide receiver, and he has been extremely successful in doing this. Revis has shut down so many star wideouts that he is nicknamed "Revis Island."

    The former first-round pick is barely targeted by opposing quarterbacks, as they are too afraid to throw it his way. 

    The Jets star has appeared in three consecutive Pro Bowls and is the main reason why New York's pass defense is so stingy. 

    Revis is also consistently on the field, as he has missed just two games in his five-year career.

    Honorable Mentions: Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey

Kicker: Adam Vinatieri

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    Adam Vinatieri has hit more big field goals than any other kicker in NFL history.

    The Colts star is one of the most clutch at his position, as he has hit three Super Bowl winning kicks in the final few minutes, as well as other memorable postseason field goals. 

    The Pro Bowler has a career field goal of 82.8%, an outstanding number. Vinatieri is relied upon to deliver, and he always seems to come through. 

    Honorable Mentions: Sebastian Janikowski, John Kasay

Punter: Shane Lechler

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    Shane Lechler has one of the strongest legs the league has ever seen. 

    The perennial Pro Bowl selection has led the league in yards per punt six of the last nine years, and he consistently pins opponents inside their own 20. 

    The Texas A&M product is as reliable as they come at his position, as he constantly puts a charge into the ball, and wins the field position battle for his team.

    Honorable Mention: Andy Lee

Kick Returner: Devin Hester

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    Since his debut in 2006, Devin Hester has been the most feared kick returner in football.

    The three time Pro Bowl selection has returned two or more punts for a touchdown in four of his six seasons, and he has led the league in yards per punt return in each of the past two years.

    The Miami product has returned a record 17 punts and kickoffs for touchdowns in his brief career, and he is constantly a threat to bring one back.

    Hester changes how opponents play the game, and as they are consistently fearful of his return ability.

    Honorable Mentions: Leon Washington, Josh Cribbs