Last Word on Pro Football is putting together All-Division Teams this week. Today you will see one of the best defensive units any All-Division team in the NFL has to offer. Let’s take a look.
2017 NFC West All-Division Team: The Defense and Special Teams
Right Defensive End: Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks
As one of the most under-appreciated pass rushers in the NFL, Bennett is quietly having a great career. Despite only posting five sacks last year, he was a disruptive member of the Seahawks defense. Pro Football Focus gave Bennett a score of 86.4, making Bennett the 12th rated pass rusher in the NFL.
Defensive Tackle: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Donald has been nothing short of amazing since entering the league. Donald was the number one rated defensive lineman last year according to Pro Football Focus, and looks to be on the road for a Hall Of Fame NFL career.
Defensive Tackle: DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers
Only entering his second year, Buckner made the team due to his size and potential. Many believe Buckner will be a breakout player in 2017. Buckner had a decent rookie year, cashing in on six sacks, a high number for a defensive tackle.
Left Defensive End: Robert Quinn, Los Angeles Rams
Quinn has been a solid player for most of his career. He isn’t considered an elite player, but has posted good numbers for the Rams. Quinn will fit nicely on this star studded defense.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
Wagner is somewhat of a utility knife in the middle of Seattle’s defense. He is great in coverage, but can also drop down and rush the passer if asked. Wagner has put up great numbers to back up his versatility, intercepting six passes and recording 14 sacks in his four-year NFL career.
Linebacker: NaVarro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers
Despite only playing in four games last year, Bowman has been a tackling machine in the middle of the field for the 49ers since he was drafted in 2010. Bowman had his best year in 2013 when he recorded five sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 120 solo tackles. Bowman’s resume lands him as the starting linebacker for the All-Division NFC West team.
Linebacker: Alec Ogletree, Los Angeles Rams
Ogletree is sometimes the forgotten man in Los Angeles. He has been a solid linebacker since entering the league and has made more than a few splash plays. Ogletree posted 136 combined tackles in 2016.
Cornerback: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
One of the most outspoken players in the NFL, Sherman does not lack in confidence. He has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL for quite some time now, and is known for shutting down an entire half of the field.
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
With Sherman on one side of the defense and Peterson on the other, opposing offenses will not have a chance. Peterson, like Sherman, is known for completely shutting down star receivers. Peterson ranked as the number 14 corner in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
Safety: Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks
Earl Thomas is thought by some to be the best free safety in the league. His range and ball skills set him apart from other great free safeties around the NFL. Thomas was injured the last part of 2016, which was a big part of the reason he had a subpar statistical year.
Safety: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals
Mathieu has proven to be one of the best safeties in the NFL, when healthy. The LSU product has yet to start an entire year throughout his NFL career. Even as the injuries have piled up, Mathieu has played like a Pro-Bowler when given his chance. They call him the Honey Badger for a reason.
Punter: Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles Rams
Hekker may be the best punter in the NFL. As far as players at that position go, Hekker is one of the more athletic players in the NFL. He stands 6’5″ and has been known to have a rocket arm when given the opportunity. Hekker leads the NFC West in average punt distance at 47.8 yards per punt.
Kicker: Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams
Zuerlein connected on 18 of 21 field goals last year, which tops the division in accuracy. Zuerlein has very good distance, but has been known to falter at times with accuracy. Overall, he is the best kicker in the NFC West.
Return Specialist: Tavon Austin, Los Angeles Rams
Tavon Austin is one of the fastest players in the NFL, and has had much success as the Rams kick and punt returner. Since being drafted in 2013, Austin has three touchdowns including a 98 yarder in his rookie year.
Be sure to check out the NFC West All-Division Team on offense.