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Dr.Z's All Pro team


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--I have only listed 3 of the positions --this is we need to know about him--or I should say--for him, it's business as usual.--


all-pro team

Posted: Thursday December 26, 2002 1:15 PM

Updated: Thursday December 26, 2002 1:51 PM


Chris Hovan, Minnesota

Rod Coleman, Oakland.

Hovan was my top grader. Off the ball like a shot, technically sound against the run. Coleman is a strange case, and I'll probably get some heat for picking a guy who doesn't start. But Al Davis rewards size, and Coleman's a little guy, so Sam Adams starts, then Coleman comes in and plays so well that you don't see much more of Big Sam. He's a John Randle-type, a terrific inside pass rusher. Randle, though, is a guy I've never picked because of his complete indifference to the run. Coleman will pick up the ball carrier on the go, in his pursuit of the quarterback.

I wish I had more looks on the Cowboys' La'Roi Glover. He had a terrific game against the Redskins on Thanksgiving. In my other looks, he was pretty decent, and his overall grade was about even with Coleman's. My rule of thumb in these cases is to go with the guy I've never picked before. I guess you're wondering about Warren Sapp. On a strict grade average, he finished sixth behind the three players I named, plus the Redskins' Daryl Gardener and the Saints' Grady Jackson, who might have made my team if he hadn't come off the field so often. No tackle got double-teamed as much as Sapp did, but you don't make all-pro simply by eating blocks. There's got to be production, too. Everyone talked so much about the Chargers' Jamal Williams that he became one of my candidates for grading. I had him fairly consistent and just a shade under Sapp.


Joey Porter, Pittsburgh

Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay.

I've always tried to pick one of each type, the Rush-LB and the Cover-LB, when selecting a pair of outside backers. The only competition Porter had at the rush position, i.e., someone who frequently lines up as a DE in the nickel, was the Bears' Roosevelt Colvin, who started off the season in a, well, in a rush, but tailed a bit as the team's fortunes fell. Brooks was the best of the space linebackers, those who usually played the weakside in the base defense and had major coverage responsibilities. He seems just about back from the multiple injuries that ruined his 2001 season.

This was a crowded position, though, with so many challengers that I considered picking two of them and then selecting a rusher as an extra LB. The Raiders' Eric Barton ("still learning the position," one opposing offensive coach told me) kept lifting his game week by week, and graded high enough to have made my all-pro team in another year. So did the Titans' dynamic Keith Bulluck, who really looks comfortable playing in space now, and the Panthers' Mark Fields. Those were my finalists.


Ronde Barber, Buccaneers

Fred Thomas, Saints.

Barber was my front-runner from the go, and he did nothing to disappoint me. Many teams stayed away from him for almost an entire game, which is why Brian Kelly at the other corner got so much work, and so many picks. The last weekend that fell into my grading scheme was Dec. 15-16, which was a good thing for Barber, since he had a terrible night against the Steelers this past Monday. But so did a lot of other Bucs, in a game that didn't seem very high on their priority list. Thomas emerged from the forests of the charts. While I was checking my other finalists, and grading them in the following order -- Aaron Glenn, Troy Vincent, Patrick Surtain, Mario Edwards and Antoine Winfield -- I kept bumping into Thomas' numbers. So I backed up and ran a study on him by himself and he came up with a grade second only to Barber's. Nobody seems to give him much credit for anything. I know I've seen him playing hurt, knocking down passes with a cast on his wrist. If I am to believe in my grading system, then I have to believe in Fred Thomas as one of my top two corners this year. ---------- Do you know of anyone that would take Thomas over Champ----

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