2014 Midseason All-Pro

With two months down and two more to go, here are the obvious (J.J. Watt, Peyton Manning) and surprise (Golden Tate, Jerry Hughes) stars of the first half
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From left to right: Peyton Manning, Jerry Hughes, J.J. Watt and Golden Tate. (Getty Images/4)

From left to right: Peyton Manning, Jerry Hughes, J.J. Watt and Golden Tate. (Getty Images/4)

We’re at the halfway mark of the 2014 season, so The MMQB is pressing pause to take a look back at the storylines, teams and players that made an impact or headlines in the first half of the season. After eight weeks of studying tape, Andy Benoit unveils his midseason All-Pro team.



Peyton Manning, Broncos

Midseason Report: 2014

The MMQB breaks down the first-half winners and losers, picks award winners and predicts what will happen down the stretch. FULL REPORT

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Cris Collinsworth said it best

to Peter King

: the 38-year-old Manning is still ascending.

Second Team: Philip Rivers, Chargers

Running Back 

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

O-line not the only improvement in Dallas. Murray has found more wiggle, leading to better lateral agility.

Second Team: Arian Foster, Texans

Wide Receivers 

Demaryius Thomas, Broncos

It’s rare to see such explosive run-after-catch acumen from a big man. Route running is pristine, too.

Antonio Brown, Steelers

No wideout is more valuable to his offense.

Golden Tate, Lions

Sharp change-of-direction ability has made him devastating inside. Has elevated his game in the absence of Calvin Johnson, too.

Second Team: Jordy Nelson, Packers; Dez Bryant, Cowboys; T.Y. Hilton, Colts

Tight End

Antonio Gates, Chargers

Consistently finds the end zone, often making contested catches. Defenses still reluctant to leave him single-covered.

Second Team: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions (60) and is second in yards (852). (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions (60) and is second in yards (852). (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Offensive Tackles

Tyron Smith, Cowboys

Unmatched athleticism, and now has polished technique and football IQ.

Joe Thomas, Browns

Has brought much-desired physicality to Cleveland’s zone running scheme.

Second Team: Jason Peters, Eagles; Joe Staley, 49ers


Marshal Yanda, Ravens

Quick feet and surprising strength have made him dominant on the ground and reliable in pass pro. 

Mike Iupati, 49ers

There’s a reason the Niners like to run left so much.

Second Team: Ronald Leary, Cowboys; Weston Richburg, Giants


Travis Frederick, Cowboys

Sensational as a reach-and-seal blocker on zones, also uses mobility well as a pull-blocker.

Second Team: Rodney Hudson, Chiefs


Defensive Ends

J.J. Watt, Texans

Peter King's Week 8 Mailbag

Explaining the scope of our Midseason Report, which runs through Friday. Plus, answering your questions about the J.J. Watt-Zach Mettenberger flap, the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning debate and whether Mike Smith's to blame for the Falcons’ woes. FULL STORY

J.J. Watt mocked Zach Mettenberger by miming a selfie after sacking the Titans rookie Sunday. (Mark Zaleski/AP)

No explanation needed.

Jerry Hughes, Bills

Has given Bills what Colts once hoped he’d give them: consistent speed off the edge.

Second Team: Ziggy Ansah, Lions; DeMarcus Ware, Broncos

Defensive Tackles

Jurrell Casey, Titans

Might call him a defensive end in Ray Horton’s 3-4, but most of his damage comes from inside. And it’s a lot of damage.

Ndamukong Suh, Lions

There isn’t a more consistent run disruptor in football.

Second Team: Marcell Dareus, Bills; Corey Liuget, Chargers

Outside Linebackers

Von Miller, Broncos

Back to his usual form.

DeAndre Levy, Lions

Far and away the NFL’s best 4-3 linebacker this year.

Second Team: Connor Barwin, Eagles; Justin Houston, Chiefs

Inside Linebackers

Larry Foote, Cardinals

Proficiency as an A-gap blitzer is the lynchpin to Arizona’s pressure-based scheme.

Luke Kuechly, Panthers

Has become a better blitzer this season. Not that he wasn’t excellent before.

Second Team: C.J. Mosley, Ravens; Curtis Lofton, Saints

Aqib Talib has been a steady, play-making presence in his first season with the Broncos. (Jack Dempsey/AP)

Aqib Talib has been a steady, play-making presence in his first season with the Broncos. (Jack Dempsey/AP)


Aqib Talib, Broncos

Has been everything the man-to-man-centric Broncos have needed. Great feel for driving on routes, even out of man coverage.

Jimmy Smith, Ravens

Steady success shadowing opposing No. 1 receivers.

Vontae Davis, Colts

Has also shadowed many No. 1 receivers, often with no safety help.

Second Team: Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Keenan Lewis, Saints; Darrelle Revis, Patriots


Troy Polamalu, Steelers

Excellent in run support and takes away route combinations that teams show him twice. 

Earl Thomas, Seahawks

Rangiest safety in the game. Has operated both in box and at his usual centerfield spot.

Second Team: Harrison Smith, Vikings; T.J. Ward, Broncos



Dan Bailey, Cowboys

Has missed one field goal, a 53-yarder at the end of regulation in a game where he came back to kick the game-winner in OT (Houston). His average field goal distance: 43.5 yards.

Second Team: Chandler Catanzaro, Cardinals


Pat McAfee, Colts

Leads league in net average by almost a full yard. Good with ball placement and doubles as kickoff specialist.

Second Team: Jon Ryan, Seahawks

Return Specialist

Devin Hester, Falcons

Second in punt return average, granted three full yards behind Sproles. But factor in the advantage Atlanta gains from punters’ exaggerated efforts to avoid him.

Second Team: Darren Sproles, Eagles

Special Teamer

Matthew Slater, Patriots

Highly regarded veteran tied for league lead in special teams tackles.

Second Team: Kavell Conner, Chargers

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