Well here we are again with another article by your favorite Rank King. I had recently read an article by fellow bloggers Benny Buckets and Johnny Violence (aka Buckets of Blood) called “The Top 3 Duos of Every Sport”. I will say it was a decent read and I thought what can I write about duos since I already wrote “Top Ten Quarterback-Coach Duos of the 2000’s”? Then it hit me; What is better than shake n’ bake, baja blast and taco bell, or a tissue for a runny nose? When talking about the NFL I’d like to say that offense and defense are different, but help each other out when needed. So based on the 2018 season stats, I compiled a player from the offense and from the defense that were the best. Here we go!
David Johnson and Chandler Jones
The Arizona Cardinals were by far the worst team in the NFL this year. They faced countless odds and internal struggles, but two players stood out to me. For the offense, we have running back David Johnson. Johnson wasn’t as great as he was in 2016, but he still was able to make something out of nothing. He rushed for 940 yards and had seven rushing touchdowns. He was about the the only thing producing well on offense though.
For the defense we have Chandler Jones who had another monster season. He had three forced fumbles and 13 total sacks on the year. That might not seem like much, but remember that Arizona was awful throughout the 2018 season and it was good to see two guys make the most out of a bad situation.
Julio Jones and Damontae Kazee
The Falcons were one of the weirdest teams for the 2018 season. They had the offensive talent, but they had so many players hurt on the defense that it was simply hard for them to win games. They finished with a 7-9 record and hope to be better when their defense is healed up from such an injury filled season. However, two players stood out to me as the best from the offense and yes even the defense of the Atlanta Falcons. The offense of course would be wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones had a monstrous season in 2018 compiling 113 receptions with 1,677 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. People were concerned at the end of last season that he was in a touchdown drought only having three in 2017, but boy fans were treated with him doing much better in the end zone.
Safety Damonate Kazee takes the spot as our defensive player and it is really easy to see why. Even though he didn’t have any sacks, he had seven interceptions, one forced fumble and 82 total tackles. There was no sophomore slump in his future, and now he looks to do even better in the 2019 season.
Marshal Yanda and C.J. Mosley
Whatever, I know all you Ravens fans are expecting me to put Lamar Jackson in here and you can forget it. Jackson is overrated and I will enjoy seeing him get creamed in the 2019 season. Anyway for the offensive player for the Ravens I have to give to offensive tackle Marshal Yanda. I do not have much to say about Yanda’s incredible career other than he was named to his seventh Pro Bowl in 2018. Whether you were Flacco or Jackson you could always count on this guy to make sure you didn’t get hit. He is also a three time first team all pro selection which is impressive as well. No one else would have ever picked this man, but I firmly believe he is a future hall of famer indeed.
For the defense, I went with linebacker C.J. Mosley. Mosley had a better year than any Baltimore Raven defender compiling an interception and a half sack. Wait those seem like bad stats right? Well while those might not be as impressive his tackle count is. He has 105 total tackles in the 2018 season. I firmly believe I made the right selection with these two.
Josh Allen and Jerry Hughes
Before you all harp all over me about Josh Allen I am well aware he didn’t start out the best in the beginning of the season and he had more interceptions than touchdowns this season. I am not saying it was all his fault, but Buffalo had one of if not the worst offensive line this season so it was common for him to make some errors while running and fearing for his life. Later in the season though, he took the offense by storm and did damage not only with his arm, but he did it with his legs too rushing for 631 yards and having eight rushing touchdowns. If they get a decent offensive tackle in the draft that can protect him he can make even more of an impact than he did the 2018 season.
Jerry Hughes was my defensive pick. He did very well this season posting three forced fumbles, seven sacks and 37 total tackles (30 of them on his own). Hopefully I am right, but I see big things in Buffalo’s future.
Christian McCaffrey and Luke Kuechly
Was there any doubt that it would be these two? McCaffrey was a huge success in the offense this season posting a combined 1,965 yards and 13 touchdowns between his rushing stats and receiving stats. He even tossed a touchdown in the season. Can this kid do anything wrong? He literally made Carolina’s offense with Newton having a sub par year especially after his shoulder was injured. He looks to do even more damage with the 2019 season approaching.
Luke Kuechly was my defensive pick as he dominated a lot this season. He had one interception, two forced fumbles and 130 total tackles on the season. Overall, the season was very disappointing for the Panthers and if Newton sits out the 2019 season I am worried about their record, but these two stars should keep producing well.
Tarik Cohen and Khalil Mack
Now you can argue putting Trubisky at the offensive spot, but no one on the offense surprised me more in the 2018 season than running back Tarik Cohen. He not only impressed me with his speed and rushing ability, but also he excelled in his receiving posting a combined 1,169 yards and eight touchdowns. He certainly was involved in the offense a lot this season, and it is incredible to believe he was selected for the Pro Bowl and was selected as a first time all pro for the 2018 season.
If you thought I was putting anyone else on here for the defense besides Khalil Mack, you were so wrong. Mack was on of the best defensive players in the 2018 season posting one interception, six fumble forces, 12 and a half sacks and finally 47 total tackles. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl and was also selected as a first team all pro like Cohen. The Bears defense was already good before they acquired him from the Raiders, but it went to a whole other level with his intimidating presence.
Joe Mixon and Geno Atkins
The Bengals were butt this season. There is no way around it. However, they still managed to have two players that excelled from the offensive and defensive perspective. Joe Mixon was my offensive pick and if you read my running back rankings of 2018 (which you all should have done) he was one of the best backs coming in at the number six position. He had a total of 1,168 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns and was a key threat in the passing game as well with stars like A.J. Green being taken out of the season. He did his job and did it well.
The Bengals defense came in last in virtually every category and was hardly looked at as threat to opposing teams. However, Gene Atkins was probably the only good defensive player on the Bengals team for the 2018 season. He had an impressive stat sheet of ten sacks 45 total tackles on the season. He was also named to the 2018 Pro Bowl. The Bengals will look to try to build a better defense and with a new coach to it who is stopping them from trying to get back into the serious talk of the NFL.
Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett
Before this season started the Browns had won one game out of 31 contests. It did not look for this franchise as teams lined up one by one to clean their clocks. Then something happened. They took baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. For some reason many critics compared him to the horrible career outing of Johnny Manziel when he was drafted. Baker quickly proved them wrong when he replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor in a week three matchup with the Jets. With his ability, Baker led the Browns to their first win since they won against the Chargers in week sixteen of the 2016 season. Baker accumulated 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the season. With those 27 touchdowns he set a record for an amount of touchdown passes by a rookie. Mayfield is indeed a franchise quarterback and if you’re a Browns fan you are finally relieved that you have him.
Myles Garrett the dreaded defensive end comes in as my defensive pick. Now a lot of people would probably also consider cornerback Denzel Ward for this spot and I can understand why. However, Garrett had an incredible season punishing opposing quarterbacks. He had three forced fumbles, an incredible 13 and a half sacks and 44 tackles on the season. It was an amazing thing to see as Garrett got banged up a bit in his rookie year and wasn’t able to produce the amazing stat list that we see today. He is well deserved at this spot.
Ezekiel Elliott and Leighton Vander Esch
Feed that bad man. That is what Dallas Cowboy fans say about their running back Ezekiel Elliott. He had a spectacular season leading the league in rushing yards with 1,434 yards, six touchdowns and had 567 receiving yards an three touchdowns to go along with them. Elliott continues his legacy of making defenses look like fools. With the amount of rushing opportunities the Cowboys give him (304), it is only a matter of time before they give him more and keep feeding him as the beast’s hunger is never satisfied.
When the Cowboys drafted in 2018 I was very surprised by their first round pick. Everybody knew with Dez Bryant being cut from the team that the Cowboys needed a really good wide receiver in the draft. So when they picked linebacker Leighton Vander Esch most fans were stunned and didn’t understand the value of the pick they got. The rookie was a monster as he only started in 11 games for the 2018 season, but racked up two interceptions and 140 total tackles. 140 is a crazy number especially for a rookie and it seems that the mantle of the torch has been passed from Sean Lee to Leighton Vander Esch.
Phillip Lindsay and Von Miller
This one kind of stings for me, but if you ask any of my football friends you’d understand that I picked Royce Freeman to be one of the best running back of the year before the 2018 season. I had also taken him as my fourth round pick in my fantasy football league. I watched all of Denver’s preseason games and he scored a touchdown in every single one of them. It was heartbreaking to see when out of nowhere undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay took the position and ran with it. Lindsay had an amazing rookie season for the Broncos as he landed at spot number eight in my running back rankings article. He rushed for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games. He also had 241 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Lindsay was an unexpected twist in the 2018 season and the offense needed him as quarterback Case Keenum didn’t play up to his value.
I was really tempted to put Bradley Chubb on this list for his amazing rookie performance, but I just couldn’t with how Von Miller produced in 2018. Miller compiled an interception, four forced fumbles, a sensational 14 and a half sacks and 48 total tackles. Miller was named to his seventh Pro Bowl and continues to be one of the best pass rushers in the entire NFL. Chubb will get there soon and with Miller coaching him through it these two will be unstoppable in the 2019 season.
Kenny Golladay and Darius Slay
The Lions were a very disappointing team in the 2018 season. You would think by getting a coach that had his job under Patriots coach Bill Belichick would be good, but sadly new head coach Matt Patricia didn’t bring much hope to the Lions team this season. There were only two real stars that shined bright in this very dark team. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay came out of his shell and was the only offensive player that produced. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson made an impact for the first time in the run game, but it wasn’t enough in my mind to qualify him. Golladay racked up 1,063 receiving yards and five touchdowns and in my mind became the clear number one wideout in Detroit.
Darius Slay is my defensive pick. The Detroit Lions didn’t have the best defense even with a new defensive head coach. Darius Slay however proved that he still has what it takes even in bad circumstances. Now his 2018 season wasn’t as great as his 2017, but he still racked up a decent stat line. He had three interceptions and 43 total tackles. It doesn’t seem great, but it is the best that Detroit can offer.
Green Bay Packers
Davantae Adams and Blake Martinez
The Packers had one of the most disappointing 2018 seasons of all. They went 6-9-1 and also fired Mike McCarthy before the season even ended after losing to the Arizona Cardinals. Aaron Rodgers is turning into a diva quarterback and I just can’t put him as my offensive pick due to his attitude. Davantae Adams takes my pick for the offensive player. Adams had a breakout year accumulating a whopping 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also named to the 2018 Pro Bowl. He became really the only reliable target for Aaron Rodgers to throw to so it is not surprising why he is my offensive pick.
Someone you probably might or might not expect (depending how you view defense) is my defensive pick. Linebacker Blake Martinez takes this spot. He had five sacks on the season and a very impressive tackle stat coming in at a total of 144 tackles which was second in the NFL 2018 season. It is hard to imagine why he wasn’t invited to the Pro Bowl, but I guess with the amount of linebacker talent in the NFL it really isn’t that crazy to imagine.
DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt
The Texans went on a huge winning streak only to lose in dreadful fashion to the Colts. There was a lot of talent on this team, but there were defiantly two that stood out from all the rest. DeAndre Hopkins takes the offensive pick as the star wide receiver had another fantastic season. He came third in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,572. An incredible stat on its own, but he also had 11 touchdowns on the season. Hopkins continues to thrive in the NFL as he was named to the 2018 Pro Bowl and was also voted first team all pro. This was the second year he has gotten these two great honors.
There were two candidates for my defensive pick for the Texans, but it was ultimately decided that it would be J.J. Watt. Watt had an incredible comeback in the 2018 season as he actually played the whole season. In his two past seasons he played a total of eight games. Not only did he play the whole season, but he also racked up an incredible stat line. He racked up 16 total sacks on the season with seven forced fumbles and 47 total tackles. He was voted to the 2018 Pro Bowl and was nominated as a first team all pro. An incredible comeback to say the least and a well deserved spot as my defensive pick.
Andrew Luck and Darius Leonard
The Colts came back in 2018 with a vengeance. From coming in near dead last in the 2017 season to getting to the NFL playoffs in the 2018 season. A huge part of their success came when they got their playmaker back. Andrew Luck returned after missing the entire 2017 season trying to repair his throwing arm. Most people thought Andrew Luck would have never thrown a football again so people were kind of skeptical to see how he would do this season. Luck shattered those thoughts as threw for 4,593 yards. He also had 39 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. He put his general hat on and led the Colts all the way up to a hard fought loss against the Chiefs in the playoffs. He also was nominated to the 2018 Pro Bowl.
The defense for the Colts wasn’t half bad this season. One star came out of their was their second round pick in the 2018 Draft. Darius Leonard came and dominated in his rookie year and became one of the best defensive stars in the NFL 2018 season. He had two interceptions, four fumble forces, seven sacks and had the most tackles in the NFL with 163. There was no player on the defense probably more dominant than this bad man right here.
Dede Westbrook and Calais Campbell
The Jaguars went from being a decent threat in the 2017 season to being a complete joke in the next year. Quarterback Blake Bortles became a laughing stock after being paid a huge amount of money to produce results that were ultimately carried out by defensive talent and a decent running game. There wasn’t anyone that really stood out on the offense except wide receiver Dede Westbrook. Westbrook improved his stats a lot from his past season accumulating 717 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He also demonstrated his running ability rushing nine times for 98 yards. With a new quarterback in the future of the Jaguars it will be interesting to see how Bortles produces in the 2019 season, but I think he will be better than ever at the position.
The Jaguars defense was turned into a complete joke this season. they went from being one of the toughest match-ups for offenses. Sadly, I believe star corner back Jalen Ramsey started this decline by putting out a list of the quarterbacks that he thought were quote on quote “trash”. This was by far the funniest thing in the world as Josh Allen who Ramsey said was the worst at his position threw and ran all over this team and Ramsey still he was trash afterward. With this attitude Ramsey couldn’t be considered for this spot as my defensive player. Calais Campbell on the other hand is my pick. He defended two passes, had one forced fumble, had ten and a half sacks and had a total of 72 tackles in the 2018 season. A very impressive task to do indeed.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes and Dee Ford
The Chiefs were on a list of teams I predicted would succeed well in the 2018 season. I never imagined they would be as good as they were though. A lot of the success had to do with two players in particular coming from this team. Patrick Mahomes comes in as my offensive pick as the 2018 offensive MVP had many reasons why he deserved to have that title. People didn’t really know what to expect from Mahomes since they only saw him play in one game subbing in for Alex Smith. Smith was traded to the Redskins of course and after the injury to him this season I am still left wondering if he will ever play football again. However, Mahomes flourished as he threw for 5,097 yards, a momentous 50 touchdown passes and 12 picks. He also ran for 272 yards and had two rushing touchdowns. He was nominated to the 2018 Pro Bowl and was also voted as first team all pro. Not bad for a sophomore season.
The defense however for the Chiefs was not the greatest. They were terrible in coverage and continued to get gashed week after week by any running back that stepped up to them. There was one player that did decently well in the 2018 season though. That player was Dee Ford. Ford had a very impressive season racking up seven forced fumbles, 13 sacks and had 55 total tackles on the season. He was also nominated to his first Pro Bowl in 2018. Here is hoping he will have an even better season in 2019.
Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers and Derwin James
The Chargers were an honest surprise coming into this season. I’d go as far as to say they were probably one of the most underrated teams of 2018. One man that in my mind had a career resurgence came in the form of quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers has been a good quarterback in the past, but this year he was better than good, he was great. If you read my quarterback ranking article he came in my top ten of the 2018 season. he led the Chargers to a 12-4 season and ultimately got up until they were defeated by the New England Patriots and knocked out of the playoffs. Rivers threw for 4,308 yards and had 32 touchdowns accumulated with 12 interceptions. He was also nominated to his eight Pro Bowl since 2006. Receivers like Mike Williams came alive for the first time in the NFL because of Rivers and it was because of that throwing talent they were able to get so far in the season.
With Rivers being the veteran it was interesting to see how a veteran defense would do. Surprisingly, Joey Bosa was out of commission for most of the season due to injury missing ten total games on the season. I was very surprised as the rookie Derwin James was outstanding this season, and the Chargers did the right thing selecting him as their number one pick in the 2018 Draft. James had three picks, 13 passes defended, three and a half sacks and 105 total tackles. James had one of the better rookie campaigns of 2018 and I am very excited to see what 2019 has in store for him.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald
What a year it was for this Rams team. They came back and created a huge sequel campaign for supremacy by defeating teams left and right in 2018. They got so far in the year as they found themselves competing in the Super Bowl against the very much hated New England Patriots. The offense and defense both got a jolt start of confidence this year after a huge success in 2017. Todd Gurley got back into a groove for the offense as he rushed for 1,251 yards and 17 total rushing touchdowns. He had the most rushing touchdowns for the season and had good receiving yards as well. He had 580 yards and four touchdowns for the season. Later in the year he was either injured or mismanaged, but that didn’t stop being probably the best running back for the 2018 season.
The Rams defense was highly stacked with talent this year. They had stars like Aaron Donald, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh. Aaron Donald was the true star here proving every bit why that extension he got was so huge. He had four forced fumbles, an incredible 20 and a half sacks and 59 total tackles. I mean did you really think it would have been anything other defensive player besides him?
Kenny Stills and Xavien Howard
The Dolphins had one great moment this season and that was it. That was the last second win against the Patriots. Other than that this team has been highly disappointing this season as always. My offensive pick was wide receiver Kenny Stills. He didn’t have his greatest year, but still did better than most of the offense. He had 553 yards on 37 receptions and a total of six touchdowns. Again, it is not the greatest, but in my mind that is the best the Miami offense could do this season.
The defense is a different story. There was a clear cut player who deserved this spot. Originally I thought it was going to be rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick. However, that player turned out to be corner back Xavien Howard. Why you ask? Yes, he only had 35 tackles and no sacks, but he did have a huge turn for interceptions getting seven of them on the season. I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings this man.
Adam Thielen and Harrison Smith
The Vikings bet all their chips on Kirk Cousins and it did not go the way they expected. Now they are stuck with him and have to learn that sometimes you have to think before you make deals like that. However, someone that did well on the offensive side of the ball was wide receiver Adam Thielen. Thielen came out of the 2017 season looking strong, but I guess he wanted to be stronger in 2018. He posted his highest receiving numbers yet with 1,373 yards and had nine touchdowns on the season. he kind of got in a slump down the down of the season, but this was still an incredible thing to witness. It was no wonder that he would be nominated for his second Pro Bowl.
The defense for the Vikings took a huge hit this year. It doesn’t make sense as to why, but it happened. However, one player that did not slump this year was safety Harrison Smith. He might have had two interceptions less than his previous year, but he still had three on the season. He also had one fumble force and three sacks. He even had 84 total tackles on the season. He did better than a lot of his teammates and even got nominated to his fourth Pro Bowl of his career.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady and Stephon Gilmore
Why is Tom Brady always on my lists? People are gonna think I have freakin crush on Tom Brady or something. Believe I kind of wanted to put Julian Edleman on here, but to me his stats just weren’t good enough. Brady was kind of mediocre this season tossing three less touchdowns and three more interceptions than his 2017 campaign. For those of you that do not look at stats that is 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for 2018. I did not believe they deserved to win the Super Bowl, but whatever it is done and it is over with. I just hope Brady gets knocked down this year and we will see what the true star can do. Yes that is right. I am talking about the true goat; Brian Hoyer.
The Patriots defense was going to be put to the test now that Matt Patricia went off and took the head coaching job of the Detroit Lions. Corner Back Stephon Gilmore took this spot as he had two interceptions, 20 passes defended, two fumble forces, a sack and 45 total tackles (40 of them on his own). Gilmore is a vital piece of the defense as he finishes his second year with the Patriots. He was also nominated to the 2018 pro Bowl and voted first team all pro.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees and Cameron Jordan
The Saints should have been in the Super Bowl facing the Patriots. I don’t care what anyone says. Anyway, quarterback Drew Brees had an incredible 2018 season. I put him as my number two quarterback on my rankings for the year. It is hard to argue why as Brees threw 3,992 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He had his down games, but overall he did very well that he almost won offensive MVP as he broke record left and right this year. He was also able to be nominated to his 12th Pro Bowl in his career. Somehow he just needs to win the big one maybe one more time before he retires. Don’t get crazy though I would much rather have the Steelers get another trophy and then maybe Brees.
My defensive pick goes to Cameron Jordan. The defensive end did very well in 2018 with his impressive stat line. He had six passes knocked down, one fumble force, 12 sacks and finally 49 total tackles on the season. He is not much of a speaker though. When he tries to speak he spouts crazy things, but hey maybe some people should just stick to football and nothing else.
New York Giants
Saquon Barkley and Olivier Vernon
If you think i am putting anybody other than Saquon Barkley as my offensive pick then there is something wrong with your head and you should get it check out. Barkley had a huge year in his rookie campaign. He rushed for 1,307 yards and a total of 11 rushing touchdowns. He was also a threat in the passing game as he had 721 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. You all know how much I love Barkley as I took him as my number one pick in my main fantasy football league and I had him as my number three running back on my running back rankings for 2018. I see big things for Barkley going forward. Now all they have to do is get a new quarterback and everything will be perfect.
An unusual selection here as some people are probably wondering “Who in the world is Olivier Vernon”? Not a surprise as only Giants fans and true fans of football would have picked up on this guy. he is vastly underrated at his position and had very good stats in the 2018 season. He had one fumble force, seven sacks and had 30 total tackles getting 23 of them on his own. Plus Landon Collins really wasn’t the greatest this season. Here is hoping that Vernon and Collins have better years even though it looks like Collins will have to do it on another team unless the Giants were to franchise tag him which is unlikely.
New York Jets
Robby Anderson and Jamal Adams
The Jets suffered another disappointing season, and it got so bad that they finally fired head coach Todd Bowles. They now have the third pick in the draft again and they hope that this might finally be their year. There wasn’t much to celebrate for the offensive side of the ball, but if I had to pick one it would be wide receiver Robby Anderson. He downgraded from last season, but he still had a decent stat line with the situational talent around him. He had 752 receiving yards and six touchdowns. I personally also hope he is consideration for the Steelers to pick up in free agency if we do not draft a receiver.
Jamal Adams was an easy choice for the defensive pick. He improved a great deal from his rookie campaign as he recorded an interception, three forced fumbles, three and a half sacks and 115 total tackles on the 2018 season. Overall, Adams did very good in his sophomore season and was able to make his first Pro Bowl. I also very much enjoyed him tackling the Patriots mascot at the Pro Bowl so he gets brownie points there as well.
Jared Cook and Marcus Gilchrist
Wow did Jon Gruden screw up this organization. Actually, I hope this comes back and completely blows everyone’s minds and actually works and the Raiders finally get good again. Surprisingly enough if you trade away your best receiver and your best defensive player chances are you know your team was gonna be a piece of crap. Some might argue that Derek Carr would be my offensive pick, but I am going instead with tight end Jared Cook. This individual had excelled in everything this season as he became Carr’s number one and favorite target to throw to. He had more receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in his 2018 season than he has had in every other season in his career. An amazing resurgence for him indeed. He had 101 receptions, 896 receiving yards and six touchdowns. It would have been hard to top, but no other Raider offensive player came close to him.
Marcus Gilchrist takes the spot as the best defensive player for the 2018 Raiders. The defense was the worst part of the Raiders this season and it was really easy to spot any sort of talent considering the defense had hardly any of it. Gilchrist had three interceptions, six passes batted down and 58 total tackles. He looks to remain firth as the Raiders’ main man on defense.
Zach Ertz and Fletcher Cox
The Eagles almost had another shot at Super Bowl glory by getting into the 2018 playoffs. Sadly, their attempt at victory was cut short by a loss to the New Orleans Saints. Nick Foles made another peak at being number one and he will surely end up somewhere in need of a starting quarterback. The real star on offense here was tight end Zach Ertz. He made history as he became the tight end with the most receptions in a single season. He previously took out the former leader of that stat line Jason Witten. Ertz also had his first 1,000 yard season coming up with 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns. This was also the second year he made the Pro Bowl and he looks to keep this streak of success going into the 2019 season.
Fletcher Cox takes the defensive pick for the Eagles. It is hard to argue why he should not be the pick given his statistics. He had one forced fumble, ten and a half sacks on the season as well as 46 total tackles. I didn’t really see any other talent squeaking by for the Eagles so Cox will take the pick as well as he received his nomination for the 2018 Pro Bowl and nomination for first team all pro.
Ben Roethlisberger and T.J. Watt
The Pittsburgh Steelers probably had the most disappointing season in the 2018 NFL season. They had all the talent needed to be a success and drama, bad play calling, a certain kicker, horrible time management, etc. Many people are looking to blame someone and for some reason they look to sometimes blame my pick for the offense; Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben hit his first ever 5,000 yard passing season having 5,129 yards, 34 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The interception count bothered me a little bit considering it was the most interceptions by a quarterback in the 2018 season, but Ben also threw the ball nearly 700 times meaning it would eventually come with the territory. The franchise quarterback doesn’t have many years left, but I hope he would love to have one more ring before he retires.
The Steelers defense took a nosedive letting certain teams with no talent take the victory over them. One player that stood out however is linebacker T.J. Watt. He might not have had an interception like he did in his rookie season last year, but he did show off his stats in other ways. He had six forced fumbles, 13 sacks and 68 total tackles. Watt looks to keep up his amazing stat line in the 2019 season.
San Francisco 49ers
George Kittle and DeForest Buckner
The 49ers didn’t have the best circumstances in the 2018 season. They lost their starting running back to injury before the season started and star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also went down with an injury in the middle of the season. The only offensive star came from young tight end George Kittle. He set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a season with 1,377 yards. He also had five touchdowns on the season. He did most of this damage without Garoppolo. So I am wondering how the season will be with him back to give Kittle an even bigger opportunity.
The San Francisco defense wasn’t the worst defense in the 2018 season, but it certainly wasn’t the best either. So I figured my pick so match that. So he was good, but not the best. My pick is DeForest Buckner. He had 12 sacks on the year along with 67 total tackles. He was also named to the 2018 Pro Bowl. Let us hope the 49ers will have less of a unlucky 2019 season.
Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner
The Seahawks did well in the 2018 season until they were knocked out of playoff contention by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card match up. My offensive pick is Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. He tossed the most touchdowns in his career with 35 and also tied for the lowest interceptions of his career as well with seven. He threw for 3,448 passing yards and also used his legs well running for 376 yards. Wilson looks to take the Seahawks to new places in 2019.
My defensive pick is linebacker Bobby Wagner. He is a huge star in Seattle and basically the last remaining member of the legendary “Legion of Boom”. He had another incredible season in 2018. He had one interception that turned into a pick six, two fumble forces, a sack and 138 total tackles. He was nominated to a fifth Pro Bowl and became a four time first team all pro. Wagner has been an important part of the defense and with Earl Thomas likely on his way out of Seattle he will have to improve himself even more for the 2019 season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans and Jason Pierre-Paul
The Buccaneers went through a weird 2018 season constantly focusing on the quarterback position switching back and forth. The position for the offense that stood out to me however was at wide receiver. Mike Evans had another amazing year catching passes from his quarterback whether it would be Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Evans had the most receiving yards of his career accumulating to 1,524 yards. He also had impressive year when it came to scoring as he had the second most in his career with eight touchdowns. He was also named to his second Pro Bowl. Evans has had a 1,000 yard receiving season every year since he was drafted by the Bucs and I believe he will continue to thrive.
The former New York Giant Jason Pierre-Paul lands on this as my defensive pick. Now at Tampa Bay, Pierre-Paul looked to have an awesome 2018 and he did just that. He racked up a fumble force, 12 and a half sacks and 58 total tackles on the year. It was his first year as a Buccaneer so I bet the future will be very generous to the defensive player.
Derrick Henry and Jurrell Casey
Every year I do not expect the Titans to do well in the NFL. It may be just because I have no faith in Marcus Mariota or maybe it is because the Titans are the team I pay the least attention to during the season. Either way there were two players that jumped out at me as the best offensive and defensive individual for the team. Running back Derrick Henry didn’t start out well in the season especially since he only started 12 games and the Titans also had former New England Patriot Dion Lewis. He did however record his first 1,000 yard season of his career recording 1,059 yards. He also recorded 12 touchdowns on the 2018 season which was more than he had in his previous two seasons combined. Hopefully better judgment on how to use Derrick Henry will come in the 2019 season so he can record better stats.
Honestly, the only defensive player I knew going into the season for the Titans was former New England Patriot cornerback Malcolm Butler. Since he didn’t really do anything this season I did some digging and found my defensive pick; defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Casey had two forced fumbles, seven sacks and 62 total tackles on the 2018 season. He was also named to his fourth Pro Bowl. Hopefully something changes my mind about the Titans so I can know more about their players.
Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan
The Washington Redskins entered another season badly injured and mismanaged. With stars like Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson back on the offense you figured I would just choose one of them. However, I am going with a different approach. Which talent on this team helped both of those men out. That would be offensive tackle Trent Williams. He had an incredible season. Even though Alex Smith got brutally hurt and may never play football again, he protected him for there other times he was in. Also do you think Adrian Peterson got a lot of those rushing yards on his own. I do not believe so. Peterson was able to rush for so long because he had some help on the offensive line.
The Redskins defense could use some work, and if there is one player they can build off of it is Seth MacFarlane look a like Ryan Kerrigan. Even though he is a defensive end it says he plays linebacker and has done very well since he was drafted in 2011. This year he had three fumble forces, 13 sacks and 43 total tackles. He was also nominated to the Pro Bowl in 2018 and it was his fourth Pro Bowl appearance. It is a shame this team keeps getting mismanaged, but hopefully they will get it right soon.