Rodgers Leader of NFL Pack, Too

Len Pasquarelli polled 20 personnel men and executives to identify his midseason all-pro team. There was only one unanimous selection. No surprise, it was Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Try as we might, we couldn't ascertain the genesis of midseason all-pro teams. Granted, just like the assessment of clubs that include the disclaimer "if the season ended now," they don't have any tangible benefit to the players selected, save for personal satisfaction. Bonuses or incentives aren't awarded — at least we've never unearthed one — based on midseason awards.

But the midseason all-pro teams have become popular barometers of who is playing well at the halfway point of a season. And this year, for a change, most media outlets actually waited until the 2011 campaign reached its midpoint — we are now slightly beyond it, with 131 of 256 games having been played as of Thursday night — to select the midseason teams.

Who are we to, even with our contrarian leanings, quibble with popularity, right?

So, we spent the last few days surveying general managers, personnel directors, pro scouts, head coaches and assistant coaches — a group of nearly 20 NFL executives — about the players who stuck out over the first half of the campaign. Typically, some of the choices were relatively easy: Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, probably on his way to Most Valuable Player honors, was a unanimous pick at quarterback, the lone player cited by every voter.

Several other "skill position" players, like wide receiver Calvin Johnson, tight end Jimmy Graham, and cornerback Darrelle Revis, had sparse competition.

There were other positions, however — like running back (where Fred Jackson and Adrian Peterson were just behind Matt Forte), offensive left guard (Mike Iupati just edged out Rob Sims and Carl Nicks), 3-4 inside linebacker (Patrick Willis was nearly as popular as San Francisco teammate NaVorro Bowman), and both safety spots (perennial choices Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed had plenty of support) — that were difficult to parse.

The results might prompt plenty of debate, particularly at positions where statistics aren't necessarily available as a measuring stick, but the ballot recount has been done. So, for good or bad, The Sports Xchange midseason all-pro team:

Offense

WR: Calvin Johnson, Detroit

WR: Steve Smith, Carolina

TE: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

LT: Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati

LG: Mike Iupati, San Francisco

C: Eric Wood, Buffalo

RG: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore

RT: Eric Winston, Houston

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

RB: Matt Forte, Chicago

FB: Vonta Leach, Baltimore

Defense

LE: Jason Babin, Philadelphia

DT: Haloti Ngata, Baltimore

DT: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit

NT (3-4): Sione Pouha, New York Jets

RE: Jared Allen, Minnesota

SLB: Von Miller, Denver

MLB (4-3): Curtis Lofton, Atlanta

ILB (3-4): NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco

WLB: Lance Briggs, Chicago

OLB (3-4): DeMarcus Ware, Dallas

CB: Darrelle Revis, New York Jets

CB: Corey Webster, New York Giants

FS: Eric Weddle, San Diego

SS: George Wilson, Buffalo

Special teams

K: Josh Scobee, Jacksonville

P: Andy Lee, San Francisco

KR: Joe McKnight, New York Jets

PR: Patrick Peterson, Arizona


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