The regular season is over. 12 teams have made the playoffs and 20 have fallen by the wayside. With the postseason yet to come lets take a look at who deserves to make 2014's team of the year on offense.
QB – Russell Wilson
In what must be one the greatest ever pro-bowl snubs Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is not even on the list for selection. Wilson's 3,475 passing yards may only rank him 15th out of all quarterbacks but remember the player leading that list is Drew Brees so we shouldn't put too much on weight on pure passing numbers.
Instead we should look at Wilson's performances in the context of the tools available to him. Firstly, he has no receiving weapons of note to throw to. Percy Harvin, the player Seattle primed to be Wilson's number one receiver, was traded to the Jets after his Seahawks career imploded in on itself. With Harvin's departure no Seahawks receiver is anywhere close to making 1000 yards. The closest is Doug Baldwin whose 825 yards came from 66 receptions and 98 targets.
Secondly, the offensive line protecting him isn't great and despite this Wilson has improvised his way to 849 rushing yards. Wilson makes plays outside of the pocket without getting pummeled into oblivion by angry defenders. In the modern NFL where stepping out of the pocket is a death sentence for quarterbacks this achievement should not be underestimated.
RB – DeMarco Murray
The statistics nicely show just how good DeMarco Murray's seasons has been. Murray has 15 plays of 20 plus yards. That is the second most in the NFL, two behind Justin Forsett and six more than Arian Foster's nine. Murray is also tied joint top for rushing touchdowns with 13. More importantly though with 1,845 rushing yards Murray has 484 more yards then any other running back.
Over the course of the entire season Murray is far and away the best running back in the
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WR – Jordy Nelson
Despite destroying thousands of fantasy championship runs in week 15 when he dropped the ball on what would have been a 94 yard touchdown run there can be no denying Jordy Nelson's talent. Nelson is one of the best deep threats in the NFL.
Nelson has 31 fewer receptions than Antonio Brown, who leads the league in yardage, and yet Nelson has just 179 fewer overall yards. When the ball gets into Jordy Nelson's hands things happen.
WR – Odell Beckham Jnr.
Despite missing the first four weeks of the season and not getting more than 10 targets until the week nine matchup Beckham Jnr has finished the season with 1,305 receiving yards. In the last nine games he has had at least 90 plus yards and against the Eagles in week 17 he had a season high 185 yards. Add 12 touchdowns to this list and that catch and it is fair to say that Odell Beckham Jnr has the offensive rookie of the year award all sown up.
If the 2014 draft was done again today Odell Beckham Jnr would be the number one overall pick instead of the number 12 overall pick. Unless something goes drastically wrong he will be a feature on these kind of lists for years to come.
WR – Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown has had a great 2014. Brown has finished the regular season with a league high 1,698 receiving yards.
What really sets Brown apart though is the mixture of explosiveness and reliability he brings to the game. Perhaps unsurprisingly, for a player leading the league in yards Brown is also the league leader in receptions. The Steelers wide receiver has 129 receptions which is 18 more than any one else in the league. Those 129 receptions come off 181 targets meaning that Brown catches just over 70% of the passes thrown his way.
Considering that his average yards per reception is 13.2 that makes Brown essentially a guaranteed first down target. Add to this his 13 touchdowns and 19 plus plays of over 20 yards and you can see what a great all-round receiver Brown is.
TE – Robert Gronkowski
Its been a lean year at tight end. Jimmy Graham has been playing injured on a bad team. Jordan Cameron's season never really got started, ditto for Jordan Reed. One player does stand out above the detritus of the tight end wreckage though and that individual is Robert Gronkowski.
After seeing his previous season ended prematurely by injury Gronkowski has hit back in a big way this season finishing the season with a team high 1,124 yards which is also a league wide high for the tight end position.
More important than the stats though is the way Gronkowski plays the position. No one else in the league is able to power through bodies and carry tacklers on his back like Gronkowski is. Even if Graham and other had played up to their potential this season it is hard to see how they could have kept Gronk off this list.
Offensive Line – Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have invested heavily in the offensive line over the past few years. In the 2014 draft they took guard Zack Martin in the first round. In 2013 they took center Travis Frederick in the first round. In 2011 they took Tyron Smith in the first round.
After investing that much in the offensive line the Cowboys were expecting a big payout and it is fair to say that 2014 was the year they started collecting. DeMarco Murray may get all the plaudits and media attention (see above) but the Cowboys' success this season has been based squarely on an offensive line that has been completely dominant at the line of scrimmage beating the opposition into a blood pulp.
This offensive line has allowed the Cowboys to control games, chewing up the clock and keeping the weak defense off the pitch. The offensive line is the reason the Cowboys are into the playoffs.
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