The New England Patriots get the top two awards on my All-Pro ballot for the 2010 NFL season.
The MVP award was a tight race for much of the year between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick. Brady finished the year with the league's best passer rating (111.0) and the best touchdown-to-interception ratio of his great career. He had the most TD passes (36) and the fewest interceptions (4) of any QB. Amazing. Oh yeah, and his team had the best record (14-2). New England's Bill Belichick gets this vote for coach of the year. He cut Randy Moss, remade his offense and got a suspect defense to finish with the eighth fewest points allowed. Belichick never ceases to amaze, either.
Baltimore and Kansas City tied for the most All-Pro players with three apiece. The picks were made after consultation with numerous NFL scouts. Here's the team:
* Quarterback: Brady. Vick is second, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers third.
* Running backs: Houston's Arian Foster, Kansas City's Jamaal Charles. Foster became the second undrafted player since 1967 to win the rushing title. The first was Priest Holmes in 2001. Foster's 2,220 scrimmage yards were 18th most in history. Charles was the most dangerous home-run back in the NFL and finished second in scrimmage yards with 1,935. More impressive: Charles averaged 6.37 yards a carry, the best by a running back with 1,000 yards in 47 years, since Jim Brown averaged 6.4 in 1963. Quarterback Michael Vick averaged 8.5 a carry in rushing for 1,039 yards in 2006. Players have rushed for 1,000 yards 544 times in NFL history. Only one other player besides Brown and Vick did better than Charles' 6.37 average. That was Chicago's Beattie Feathers in 1934. All of this shouldn't make the Bills feel any better. Buffalo gave up 177 rushing yards to Charles on 22 carries, an 8.04 average. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson remains the best overall back in the game, but he didn't have as good a season. Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew was a close fourth.
* Receivers: Atlanta's Roddy White, Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne. White led the NFL in catches (115). Wayne was second in catches and yards, despite an ever-changing cast around him on the injury-plagued Colts. The second team is Houston's Andre Johnson and Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe, who had a league-high 15 TD catches. It's tough to leave Johnson off the first team. The third team is Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson. Wallace averaged 21 yards a catch and had 10 TDs. Jackson averaged 22.5 yards a catch with six TDs. That was the highest per-catch average by a receiver with 1,000 yards since the Rams' Flipper Anderson went for 26.0 in 1989.
* Tight end: Dallas' Jason Witten. He led all tight ends with 94 catches for 1,002 yards. Second was Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis.
* Tackles: Miami's Jake Long at LT, the Giants' Kareem McKenzie. Long was a little nicked up part of the year but still got the most respect from players polled. Second-teamers: Cleveland LT Joe Thomas and the Jets' Damien Woody. Third-teamers: Carolina LT Jordan Gross and Baltimore RT Marshall Yanda. Young player on the rise: the Bengals' Andrew Whitworth.
* Guards: San Diego's Kris Dielman, New Orleans' Carl Nicks. Second-team: the Jets' Brandon Moore and New Orleans' Jahri Evans, who is revered by scouts. But Evans' league-high nine holding calls this year dropped him just behind his teammate.
* Center: The Jets' Nick Mangold. Behind him it's Baltimore's Matt Birk, the Colts' Jeff Saturday and Jacksonville's Brad Meester. Rising stars are Maurkice Pouncey of Pittsburgh and Ryan Kalil of Carolina.
* Fullback: Baltimore's LeRon McClain.
* Defensive end: Atlanta's John Abraham, Chicago's Julius Peppers. Abraham led all ends with 13 sacks. It's good to reward D-ends for being stout against the run. Peppers was an all-around monster and an unselfish leader for the Bears, in addition to getting eight sacks. Second-team goes to the Giants' Justin Tuck and the Colts' Dwight Freeney. Third-team: Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and San Francisco's Justin Smith.
* Defensive tackles: Baltimore's Haloti Ngata, Minnesota's Kevin Williams. Baltimore ranked in the top eight in run defense for the 14th straight year. Ngata is the best player in the Ravens' front seven. For the second team, the scouts favored Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and Oakland's Richard Seymour. The Bills' Kyle Williams ranked second among DTs in tackles and seventh in sacks. Two young run-stuffing studs to watch in the AFC are San Diego's Antonio Garay and Miami's Paul Soliai, who was great vs. the Bills.
* Outside linebackers: Pittsburgh's James Harrison, Green Bay's Clay Matthews. Harrison is one of the top 10 players in the league. Matthews edges out Cameron Wake, who had a league-best 14 sacks. Scouts think Matthews is more complete than Wake. We'll give No 4 to Kansas City's Tamba Hali, a hair ahead of Dallas' DeMarcus Ware.
* Inside linebackers: San Francisco's Pat Willis, Kansas City's Derrick Johnson. Miami's Karlos Dansby and the Jets' Bart Scott were nasty, too.
* Cornerbacks: Kansas City's Brandon Flowers, Philadelphia's Asante Samuel. Second-team: Tampa's Aqib Talib and Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha.
* Safeties: Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu, Baltimore's Ed Reed. Polamalu is one of the top 10 in the league, as well. I wanted to pick somebody besides Reed, because he missed the first six games. But he had a league-high eight interceptions, and six of them came in tight games.
* Punter: Dallas' Matt McBriar. He had the best net average, 41.7, second best in league history to Shane Lechler's mark of 43.85 last year.
* Place-kicker: Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski edges out Baltimore's Billy Cundiff. These two by far are the best on kickoffs. Cundiff had 40 touchbacks, Janikowski 29. Janikowski made four kicks from 50-plus yards and 12 from 40 or more. Cundiff made seven from 40-plus and none from 50 or more.
* Kick returner: Chicago's Devin Hester.
>Bills series slated
Buffalo News NFL reporters Mark Gaughan and Allen Wilson break down the 2010 season in a nine-part series beginning Monday.
The Bills missed the playoffs for an 11th straight season. Our experts pore over each position, as well as the coaches and front office, to provide a capsule look back and assess the future for Bills Nation.
On newsstands beginning Monday.