About half of the 2013 NFL season has been completed, so it’s time to take a look at which players would deserve to make the All-Pro team if the season were completed today. This team will be composed of just a “first-team” of two quarterbacks, two running backs, one fullback, three wide receivers, two tight ends, one starting offensive lineman at each position, all the starting front seven players in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense (with the exception of ILB vs. Mikes, I just took the best three overall), three cornerbacks, two starting safeties, one kicker, one punter, one kick returner, and one punt returner.
QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
The Offensive Player of the Year to this point, Peyton Manning has put up ludicrous statistics behind a steady offensive line and with a host of top-flight pass-catchers around him. Manning has the game’s best slot receiver in Wes Welker, an elite wideout in Demaryius Thomas, an excellent deep threat in Eric Decker, a monstrous TE and red zone target in Julius Thomas, and two good pass-catching backs in Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman. But it’s also taken some tremendous throws in order to put up a 119.4 QB Rating. Manning has been as accurate and poised as ever, and he continues to concoct tantalizing mis-matches with his pre-snap adjustments.
QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Where would the Chargers be without Philip Rivers? To be honest with you, I think the Chargers would have only have of their current win total if Rivers were replaced by a QB like Alex Smith, because Rivers has been carrying this team. While the depth of pass-catchers that he has makes up for the fact that he doesn’t have a true No. 1 target (Keenan Allen could become one, though), Rivers doesn’t have nearly as good of a supporting cast as quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees do. Rivers has been brutally efficient this season, and he’s second behind Manning in most advanced statistics. His 74.2% completion percentage leads the league, and it’s always incredible to watch how accurate this guy is. With an improved offensive line and head coach, Rivers looks a lot more motivated, and there are no more leadership questions right now.
RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Deciding on the second running back on this All-Pro team was difficult, but it was a piece of cake choosing the No. 1 back of the first half of the 2013 season. LeSean McCoy has, as expected, been the brightest spot on the Eagles offense, and the superstar RB is having the kind of monster season that most of us projected. He has taken full advantage of Chip Kelly’s run-happy scheme with a league-high 733 rushing yards on a league-high 156 carries. McCoy is averaging an excellent 4.7 yards per carry, and it isn’t easy to average that many yards per pop when rushing it so many times. He’s also had a big say in the passing game with 25 receptions, and only Jamaal Charles is within 100 yards of McCoy‘s rushing total.
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
I gave consideration to both Charles and Arian Foster, but I decided that I would be crazy to omit Marshawn Lynch from this All-Pro team. If you read quotes from guys like Russell Wilson, you’ll see that the Seahawks know that Lynch is the identity of the offense. His ability to consistently ground out yardage and make things happen has been especially important this season due to injuries on the offensive line and some inconsistent blocking and play by the receivers. Lynch- and Wilson- continues to be a constant for the Seahawks offense, and he’s on pace for his third straight season with over 1,200 rushing yards (he currently has 601). Lynch has accounted for eight total TDs as well. This next stat sealed Lynch’s spot on this team: according to the Pro Football Focus, Marshawn Lynch leads all running backs with 37 missed tackles forced. Lynch has done an excellent job of juking out and running over defenders this season, and there is little doubt that he is one of the league’s most elusive backs.
FB Anthony Sherman, Kansas City Chiefs
I was so close to putting Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Talbot on this list on account of his ability to make an impact in all facets of the game (he also has a lot of touchdowns this year), but I just couldn’t overlook Anthony Sherman. Blocking fullbacks like Sherman deserve all the praise they can get, because they don’t usually get nearly enough. Sherman has worked tirelessly to plow open holes for celebrated star running back Jamaal Charles, and no fullback has made close to the impact that Sherman has in the running game as a result of his blocking.