New Orleans Saints DT David Onyemata

Rob Weintraub's 2020 All-NFC South 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. Over the next two weeks, we will unveil our annual All-Division teams. In honor of the Super Bowl champs, let's start with the NFC South.

OFFENSE

QB: Tom Brady, TB

In addition to grabbing his seventh championship ring, Brady matched his uniform number by posting the 12th top-five DYAR finish in his astounding career (he has been top-10 every season save his first year at the helm in 2001 and 2019). Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, 10th and 12th respectively, were far behind Brady's third-place spot.

RB: Alvin Kamara, NO
RB: Ronald Jones, TB

Kamara was fifth in rushing DYAR and first in receiving among all running backs league-wide. His backup in the Big Easy, Latavius Murray, also had a strong combined season, but not enough to get him past Jones, who was our sixth-best runner.

WR: Michael Evans, TB
WR: Chris Godwin, TB
WR: Julio Jones, ATL
TE: Jared Cook, NO

After the Bucs wideouts, who were easy calls, the third spot was a toughie between Falcons teammates Calvin Ridley and Jones. Various injuries hindered JJ's time on the field, meaning that he got fewer than half the targets Ridley did. He was excellent when the ball came his way, however—second in DVOA (Ridley was 27th) and somehow still one spot in front of Ridley in the counting stat, DYAR. While there is something to be said for Ridley's more consistent availability, Jones slips past him nonetheless.

OT: Ryan Ramczyk, NO
OT: Tristan Wirfs, TB
OG: Ali Marpet, TB
OG: Andrus Peat, NO
C: Ryan Jensen, TB

We might have had an all-Saints day at tackle, but the sensational rookie Wirfs outpointed Terron Armstead, though the latter had a couple of fewer blown blocks. Tampa Bay's Donovan Smith and Atlanta's Jake Matthews were also solid. Marpet had far fewer blown blocks (eight) than did his nearest competition, Chris Lindstrom (23) and teammate Alex Cappa (19), though he did miss three games. Jensen, who is lauded by Twitter's offensive line analysis community, just squeaked past Erik McCoy of the Saints for the center spot.

DEFENSE

ER: Cameron Jordan, NO
ER: Shaq Barrett, TB
DL: David Onyemata, NO
DL: Grady Jarrett, ATL

We charted Barrett with more pressures (49) than any other defender, and Jordan was likewise a no-brainer.

LB: Lavonte David, TB
LB: Devin White, TB
LB: Demario Davis, NO

Tampa Bay's dynamic duo helped mightily in their run to the championship. Davis was no David, or even White, but with just six broken tackles he provided the Saints with steady play.

CB: Janoris Jenkins, NO
CB: Marshon Lattimore, NO
CB: Carlton Davis, TB
S: Antoine Winfield, TB
S: Jordan Whitehead, TB

Tampa Bay's secondary was so deep and talented, the All-Division team looks like a Bucs team photo. Jenkins had far superior charting numbers to his more heralded teammate Lattimore. Davis edges out teammate Jamel Dean mainly thanks to playing roughly 200 more snaps with similar (solid) numbers.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Younghoe Koo, ATL
P: Thomas Morstead, NO
RET: Deonte Harris, NO

Morstead, surprisingly, had the most punts of any of his NFC South compatriots, and while his average was lowest, his ability to prevent returns (along with good gunner play) allowed the Saints to finish sixth in overall punting by our numbers. Arguably, New Orleans' postseason turned when Harris was hurt against Tampa Bay; he had fewer overall returns than Pharoh Cooper of Carolina but parted the sea of tacklers more effectively.

Comments

3 comments, Last at 09 Mar 2021, 10:28am

1 Carolina?

The Panthers were so bad that they couldn't claim one of the 27 spots on Division Team?

Were there any bright spots on the roster? 

2 McCaffrey injured

In reply to by Trinian

CMC is their best player, but obviously didn't play enough.

Not a CAR fan, but the NFCS is deep with good receivers. Mike Thomas didn't play enough, but played great when available; he was the best WR in the NFL in 2019, and didn't even make honorable mention in the article. CAR's WR's, while good, are not in the top 5-6 WR's in the division. Antonio Brown is probably at least as good as CAR's receivers.