Thursday, February 6, 2014

The NFL's Suite Stars 2013-14

If you didn't know him before this season, you know him now. Antonio Brown is legit.

 By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Forget about the Pro Bowl and All Pro teams, we all know that the best players in the NFL yearn to make our Suite Stars team.

No need for elongated intros. Here are the best players in pro football at every position. Players listed under their respective positions in order of awesomeness.


1. Peyton Manning, Denver
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans

You could make a case for Tom Brady or Nick Foles here, but tough to go against Manning and Brees, considering what they meant to their teams.

Running Back

1. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City
3. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle
4. Matt Forte, Chicago

Adrian Peterson, Ryan Matthews and Eddie Lacy are notable omissions, but the first two backs on this list are no-brainers, and "Beast Mode" was the best guy between the tackles in the league. Forte barely edges those three on receiving ability.


1. Marcell Reece, Oakland

Tough to argue against Reece, the position's best blocker and receiver, though Mike Tolbert had a fine year in Carolina. 

Wide Receiver

1. Josh Gordon, Cleveland
2. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago

3. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit

Jeremy and Joe each got to throw in their non-conventional picks here. The former picked Jeffrey and the latter threw in Brown, but when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue with either of them. You could say Demaryius Thomas or A.J. Green got snubbed, but the position was loaded this year.

Tight End

1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
2. Julius Thomas, Denver

These two were easy picks, though Vernon Davis crept into our minds a bit.

Offensive Tackle

1. Tyron Smith, Dallas
2. Joe Staley, San Francisco
3. Jason Peters, Philadelphia
4. Joe Thomas, Cleveland

Smith, like many players on the Cowboys offense, was very underrated this year, while Staley is the best run blocking LT in the game. Peters revived his career after a pair of Achilles injuries, and Joe Thomas is still a great pass protector, even though the guys he's protecting stink.

Offensive Guard

1. Evan Mathis, Philadelphia
2. Louis Vasquez, Denver
3. Logan Mankins, New England
4. Josh Sitton, Green Bay

All no-brainers in our minds, just a matter of picking the order.


1. Ryan Kalil, Carolina
2. Max Unger, Seattle

The two best centers on good teams easily, though a case could be made for John Sullivan in Minnesota or Alex Mack in Cleveland.

Defensive End

1. Robert Quinn, St. Louis
2. J.J. Watt, Houston
3. Greg Hardy, Carolina
4. Mario Williams, Buffalo

These were the four best guys, and they played in all kinds of defenses and employed all different styles. Very diverse position, and loaded when a guy like Calais Campbell can't make it after the year he had in Arizona.

Defensive Tackle

1. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit
2. Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay
3. Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets
4. Jurrell Casey, Tennessee

Suh's play finally matched his hype this year, and McCoy has gone from perceived bust to one of the most dominant players in football. Wilkerson does so much for the Jets as both a 3-4 end and 4-3 tackle, we had to include him somewhere, and Casey may be the most underrated player in the league.

Outside Linebacker

1. Tamba Hali, Kansas City
2. Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
3. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay
4. Justin Houston, Kansas City

KC has the best pair of OLBs in football, and David came on incredibly strong for the Bucs as the year progressed. Mathis surprisingly led the league in sacks as a stand up rusher, giving the Indy defense some unexpected teeth.

Inside Linebacker

1. Luke Kuechly, Carolina
2. NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco
3. Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh
4. Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati

Kuechly and Bowman are fighting for the title of best LB in the world right now, but Timmons isn't too far off, despite playing with inferior defensive talent around him in Pittsburgh (Wow, don't hear that very often). Burfict was a perfect fit in Cincinnati's aggressive and inventive defense. He can do a little bit of everything.


1. Richard Sherman, Seattle
2. Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay
3. Patrick Peterson, Arizona
4. Aqib Talib, New England

All of these are obvious picks, but Joe Haden was up there too. Still, when Talib was healthy, he was in the Sherman/Revis class.


1. Earl Thomas, Seattle
2. Eric Weddle, San Diego
3. Antrel Rolle, New York Giants
4. Eric Berry, Kansas City

Thomas was the best free safety in football, while Weddle was a do-it-all safety/corner/linebacker for San Diego. Rolle did much the same for New York, and Eric Berry tied the Kansas City defense together.


1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore

He kicked field goals well.


1.  Johnny Hekker, St. Louis

He punted well, and his friends covered those punts well.


1. Dexter McCluster, Kansas City

Kansas City had the league's best return unit, and this guy was the main reason. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown deserves a nod here too, but he already made the team as a receiver.

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