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Wide receivers are some of the best athletes across the league, and Calvin Johnson stands above the rest. At 6'5", 235 pounds, Johnson boasts a vertical leap of 42.5 inches and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson are both prototypical wide receivers, and they handle themselves with a great deal of class.
Vonta Leach, however, is a true "throwback" player at the fullback position.In 2012, there isn't a clear-cut answer as to who the league's top running back is—unlike the mid 2000s, when La Dainian Tomlinson stood head and shoulders above his peers.Le Sean Mc Coy, Arian Foster and Ray Rice give opposing defenses nightmares, but it's tough to take anyone over a healthy Adrian Peterson.If not for an injury that's keeping Jason Peters out of the entire 2012 season, he'd rival Thomas as the league's top tackle.But without Peters in the picture, Thomas is clearly the NFL's best offensive tackle.The NFL boasts exceptional talent at every position.
There's a host of of game-controlling runners, a slew of dominant defenders and certainly no shortage of elite quarterbacks, but who is the best NFL player at each position?
Although Gronkowski is more of a traditional tight end than Graham, the 6'7" former Miami basketball player is likely the biggest mismatch in the entire NFL. Since coming into the league in 2007, Thomas has been one of the most reliable tackles in football.
Deciding between Graham and Gronkowski is like choosing between a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce. Honorable mentions: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots As the NFL has transformed into a pass-happy league, teams place a high importance on reliable pass-protecting offensive linemen. The only reason his greatness has been relatively quiet is that he plays in Cleveland without much offense to speak of.
Houston's Chris Myers garners consideration, but Mangold is a "throwback" as a prototypical road grader in the middle of the Jets' line.
With two below-average quarterbacks and an average receiving corps, the Jets' best bet is to utilize a true "ground-and-pound" offensive philosophy. Honorable mentions: Chris Myers, Houston produced a popular episode featuring a cartooned Al Gore, called "Man Bear Pig." While the character is completely fictitious, I'm somewhat certain that 49ers defensive end Justin Smith is not human. Smith is a 285-pound mammoth at defensive end in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.
This guy has only scratched the surface of what he could one day become.