The personnel people's mid-season all-pros

The NFL guys who evaluate talent for a living selected their mid-season all-pro team and only one Vikings made the cut. Plus, there's a new college all-star game starting up that could offer competition to the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine game.

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 were slightly beyond it when surveying our personnel men around the league last week, 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 a 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 very 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 already 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

Union matters: The players association made some news this week in announcing the new AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, to be played Jan. 21 at the Home Depot Center near San Diego, a game that supposedly will feature 100 prospects from the 2012 draft pool. The game will be unique in that, unlike the Senior Bowl or the East-West game, it will permit the participation of underclass players, a prospect that definitely got the attention of league scouts. Some of those scouts questioned just how many draft-eligible prospects will play in the contest because of the potential for injuries, but the other all-star games fill out their rosters, so such a concern might be just a red herring. The bigger question might be: If players choose to play in just one game, will they opt for the NFLPA-sponsored contest over the other all-star games? The AstroTurf game, after all, will be played the same week as the East-West contest. Admirable, too, is the fact that the AstroTurf game, in which the teams will be coached by Dick Vermeil and Tom Flores, will offer an educational chance in counseling players on the transition to the NFL for several days in advance of the contest. To suggest that the promoters of the other all-star games are concerned, and may step up efforts to secure commitments from players, is understatement at this point. The announcement of the game could be a public relations victory for the NFLPA, especially with the rookie symposium-style atmosphere created, and the opportunity to get some insights from former players. Of course, some of the P.R. bump is negated by the union's continuing and silly stance on HGH testing.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" 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 were slightly beyond it when surveying our personnel men around the league last week, 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 a 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 very 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 already been done. So, for good or bad, The Sports Xchange midseason all-pro team: 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 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 K: Josh Scobee, Jacksonville P: Andy Lee, San Francisco KR: Joe McKnight, New York Jets PR: Patrick Peterson, Arizona The players association made some news this week in announcing the new AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, to be played Jan. 21 at the Home Depot Center near San Diego, a game that supposedly will feature 100 prospects from the 2012 draft pool. The game will be unique in that, unlike the Senior Bowl or the East-West game, it will permit the participation of underclass players, a prospect that definitely got the attention of league scouts. Some of those scouts questioned just how many draft-eligible prospects will play in the contest because of the potential for injuries, but the other all-star games fill out their rosters, so such a concern might be just a red herring. The bigger question might be: If players choose to play in just one game, will they opt for the NFLPA-sponsored contest over the other all-star games? The AstroTurf game, after all, will be played the same week as the East-West contest. Admirable, too, is the fact that the AstroTurf game, in which the teams will be coached by Dick Vermeil and Tom Flores, will offer an educational chance in counseling players on the transition to the NFL for several days in advance of the contest. To suggest that the promoters of the other all-star games are concerned, and may step up efforts to secure commitments from players, is understatement at this point. The announcement of the game could be a public relations victory for the NFLPA, especially with the rookie symposium-style atmosphere created, and the opportunity to get some insights from former players. Of course, some of the P.R. bump is negated by the union's continuing and silly stance on HGH testing. 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