Chicago Bears ER Khalil Mack

Rob Weintraub's 2020 All-NFC North Team

The first goal every NFL team sets is to win its division. How those eight fratricidal battles shake out usually determines team success in any given season. Yet postseason laurels are broken down by conference, if at all. That never made sense to me—even college football selects all-conference teams. Why don't the pros anoint the best each division has to offer?

Well, now they do. We continue our naming of the All-Division teams with the Black and Blue Boys of the NFC North.

OFFENSE

QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB

A-a-Rod trailed only Patrick Mahomes in DYAR, but was best in DVOA and QBR, not to mention MVP votes. Kirk Cousins was ninth; Matthew Stafford, in his farewell to the NFC North, finished 14th overall.

RB: Dalvin Cook, MIN
RB: Aaron Jones, GB

Two of the top four backs in the NFL by DYAR. Detroit rookie DeAndre Swift had a strong combined rushing/receiving season, but still trailed the two stars by a comfortable margin.

WR: Davante Adams, GB
WR: Justin Jefferson, MIN
WR: Adam Thielen, MIN
TE: Robert Tonyan, GB

Adams and Jefferson were our top two wideouts in the entire NFL by DYAR. Thielen and his 14 touchdowns get the nod over Allen Robinson, who in fairness was hindered by his quarterback play in Chicago. Tonyan emerged from obscurity to turn in the best season of any tight end not named Travis Kelce.

OT: David Bakhtiari, GB
OT: Taylor Decker, DET
OG: Elgton Jenkins, GB
OG: Dakota Dozier, MIN
C: Corey Linsley, GB

The Packers dominated the NFC North, and their overpowering offensive line was a big reason why. Tackle opposite the redoubtable Bakhtiari was wide open, with Decker having the fewest blown blocks among Minnesota's Riley Reiff and Brian O'Neill, Chicago's Charles Leno and Germain Ifedi, and yet another Packers lineman, Billy Turner. Tough break for Detroit center Frank Ragnow, who was excellent but not quite on par with Linsley.

DEFENSE

ER: Khalil Mack, CHI
ER: Za'Darius Smith, GB
DL: Akiem Hicks, CHI
DL: Kenny Clark, GB

Wherefore art thou, Romeo Okwara? Detroit's pass-rush specialist actually had two more charted pressures than Mack and just one fewer than Smith. But the two All-Div edgers had more well-rounded games than did Shakespeare's doomed suitor. Clark slips by Hicks' fellow interior lineman Bilal Nichols in a very close call.

LB: Eric Kendricks, MIN
LB: Danny Trevathan, CHI
LB: Roquan Smith, CHI

Kendricks missed several games to injury but was outstanding enough when out there (only four missed tackles in 11 games) that he gets on the All-Div team regardless, along with easy choices from the Monsters of the Midway.

CB: Jaire Alexander, GB
CB: Kyle Fuller, CHI
CB: Jaylon Johnson, CHI
S: Adrian Amos, GB
S: Harrison Smith, MIN

Only Alexander, perhaps the best corner in the game this season by our numbers, was an obvious choice. As with Kendricks, Johnson was so good (10th in success rate) that he makes the squad despite missing multiple games to injury, as does the slightly more durable Fuller. The redoubtable Smith was one safety, while Amos slips by his Packers teammate Darnell Savage, Anthony Harris of the Vikings, and Detroit's Duron Harmon for the other spot.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Mason Crosby, GB
P: Jack Fox, DET
RET: Cordarrelle Patterson, CHI

Crosby edged out Chicago's Cairo Santos, while Fox and Patterson were clear-cut choices.

Comments

15 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2021, 6:33pm

1 Very surprised to see…

Very surprised to see Trevathan on this list. I thought he took a big step back this year.

8 Green Bay was never going to…

Green Bay was never going to pay an average or even good middle LB 19 mil guaranteed. His cap hit last year was basically the same as all of GB’s off ball LBs combined. They, like many teams, don’t prioritize off-ball linebackers when spending money. If they can get a good one at the right price in the draft, they might. But I think they’re content with Martin and Barnes there, and will spend their money and draft capital on DL, OL, RB, and WR.

9 Christopher!

Most people said Martinez was below average.

I counter that he's above average.  Cap hit notwithstanding, he was better than any of their LB's on the roster now.

It's a position of need and GB's defense was the weak link and will continue to be.

I feel they've wasted so much of Rodgers' prime with bad supporting casts and trying to be cheap on the FA market.

They may have gotten Watt if the someone in the FO actually recruited him like Steve Keim did.

We'll never know...

11 However much I would have…

In reply to by DIVISION

However much I would have loved to see JJ in green and gold, I think it would have been a tough signing. They need to trim cap space, so why spend big on a position where they’re not bad on a guy who’s been hurt for 40% of the games over the past 5 years. I wanted to see it anyway, but it doesn’t seem like a smart move for them. 

2 Dakota Dozier

Was the weak link on the Vikings OL this year, once Ezra Cleveland took over for the Elflein/Samia mess at RG.  Was there really no better guard in the division?

10 Crazy that this division was…

Crazy that this division was blessed with a wealth of WRs while you have to dig deep for LBs. I would've gone with Allen Robinson over Thielen (though they were both great) and Jamie Collins over Trevathan (though neither was).

14 I'm very curious why David…

I'm very curious why David Montgomery isn't more talked about throughout the league. If I watch this guy on film he looks just as solid as a Dalvin Cook or Aaron Jones IMO. Now he's in the high 20s in almost every DYAR statistical category but could this be due to the handicap placed on him with the Quality of OL play? I just don't think there are 10-15 running backs better than him if placed in a better situation outside of Chicago.

 

Also I understand that Crosby was 16 for 16 on FG but I have to give Santos the edge their kicking double the amount of FGs only missing two and only missing 2 XPs I believe all while playing in the Windy City. 

15 Career 4 ypc

is nothing to write home about. Below average both years. Jones 5ypc last two years and Cook 4.8. Both in the top 9 of DVOA and positive. Montgomery 29th and negative.