NFL

NFL AM: Most Indispensable Non-QB’s

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We all know that football is the ultimate team sport and outside of the quarterback position, one player shouldn’t be able to make or break a team’s season.  With that said we’re going to look at the most indispensable non-quarterback’s on each team, starting in the AFC.

New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski- Gronk is a generational talent and he’s quickly headed toward being the best tight end of all time.  Without him, the Pats offense looks pretty ordinary and you can make a legitimate case that he, even over Tom Brady, is the team’s most valuable player.

New York Jets: Darrelle Revis- When Revis is done playing he’ll stroll into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on the first ballot.  He allows the Jets defense to experiment with all sorts of different blitz packages as head coach Todd Bowles simply doesn’t have to worry about the side of the field that Revis is occupying.

Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins- Unfortunately for the Bills, we’ve seen life without Watkins as he battled injuries last season.  When healthy, he instantly transforms the Buffalo offense with his world class deep speed and playmaking ability.

Miami Dolphins: Ndamukong Suh- Although Suh didn’t have a great first year with the Dolphins, he’s still the most impactful player on the team.  Suh’s constant commanding of double teams makes it easier for pass rushers like Cameron Wake and the newly acquired Mario Williams to get to opposing quarterbacks.

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green- This was a tough call between Green and Geno Atkins, but the impact that the former first-round pick from Georgia makes on every offensive snap cannot be understated.  Green consistently draws double-teams and makes life easier for everyone around him including the running game.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Antonio Brown- It’s somewhat surprising to have this many wide receivers on the list, but that is indicative of the direction the NFL has gone in regards to the passing game. Brown is an explosive playmaker who affects the game on both offense and special teams.  He’s on the short list of not only best receivers in football, but best players overall.

Baltimore Ravens: Marshal Yanda- Yanda is simply as good as it gets as far as interior linemen go, and although he plays anything but a glamour position, he impacts every snap of offense.  Yanda was the main reason why Justin Forsett ran for 1,000 yards two seasons ago and was a big part of the team’s Super Bowl title just a few years ago.

Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas– Stuck with a sub-par franchise, Thomas’ play has been anything but.  He remains as one of the very best offensive tackles in football and he will make life a little easier for RG3.

Indianapolis Colts: TY Hilton- Hilton may be labeled as a “slot receiver,” but he has No. 1 receiver ability.  His speed is something that opposing defenses have to prepare for and it opens up the middle of the field for Dwayne Allen.

Houston Texans: J.J. Watt- We’d love to go with DeAndre Hopkins here, but Watt is a generational talent.  He can single-handedly wreck anyone’s offensive game plan and he makes like easier for the rest of the defensive line and defense as a whole.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Allen Robinson- A-Rob is the only Pro Bowler from the Jaguars 2015 team and he’s shown legitimate No. 1 wide receiver ability.  He can go up and catch jump balls, he uses his body to box out defenders and he’s become quarterback Blake Bortles go-to-guy.

Tennessee Titans: Jurrell Casey- Casey is probably the least popular name on the list, but he’s a great talent on the defensive line.  He can play multiple positions and is able to not only suck up blocks, but pressure opposing quarterbacks as well.

Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Houston- Houston is the Chiefs MVP, including quarterbacks, so this isn’t a huge surprise.  He is one of the league’s premiere pass rushers and as valuable as safety Eric Berry is to the team, they would suffer a far worse fate without Houston.

Denver Broncos: Von Miller- If J.J. Watt didn’t exist, we’d probably be talking about Miller as the league’s best defensive player.  He’s an unbelievable pass rusher and worth every cent of his new $114 million deal.

Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack- If Mack didn’t play in “The Black Hole,” he would receive a lot more publicity as one of the great young defenders in football.  He’s sudden, a super athlete and the team will always have a solid defense as long as he’s healthy.

San Diego Chargers: Keenan Allen- This was a tough call between Allen and defensive lineman Corey Liuget, but at the end of the day the former California Golden Bear’s production cannot be understated.  Allen is not only a solid threat to take it to the house, but he’s also the ultimate possession receiver.  He fits perfectly in Mike McCoy’s offense and makes quarterback Philip Rivesr look even better.

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.