John Adams: The best SEC players in the NFL

John Adams
Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field after the Colts were defeated by the New York Jets in the NFL playoffs.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field after the Colts were defeated by the New York Jets in the NFL playoffs.

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field after the Colts were defeated by the New York Jets in the NFL playoffs.

You won't know who the best team in the NFL is for another two weeks. But I've already got my best team of former SEC players for the 2010 season.

It includes three players - quarterback Peyton Manning, offensive guard Alan Faneca and tight end Jason Witten - who already have had careers worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It also includes two running backs, Arian Foster and Darren McFadden, who had breakout seasons at the pro level.

Arian Foster

Arian Foster

Jason Witten

Jason Witten

Chad Clifton

Chad Clifton

Jerod Mayo

Jerod Mayo

Kevin Burnett

Kevin Burnett

Eric Berry

Eric Berry

Offense

QB: Manning (Tennessee) of the Indianapolis Colts. Regarded as one of the game's all-time great quarterbacks, he finished second in the league in passing yards despite having his receiving corps decimated by injuries.

RB: Foster (UT) of the Houston Texans. Infamous for game-changing fumbles at UT, he made first-team all-pro after leading the NFL in rushing.

RB: McFadden (Arkansas) of the Oakland Raiders. The former Heisman Trophy runner-up rushed for 1,157 yards and caught 47 passes.

WR: Dwayne Bowe (LSU) of the Kansas City Chiefs. He made the Pro Bowl after catching 72 passes for 1,162 yards.

WR: Mike Wallace (Ole Miss) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He averaged 21 yards per reception on 60 catches and has more than 2,000 receiving yards after only two NFL seasons.

TE: Witten (UT) of the Dallas Cowboys. The seven-time Pro Bowler has averaged 77 catches per year through eight NFL seasons after catching only 78 passes in his entire college career.

C: Maurkice Pouncey (Florida) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He obviously knew what he was doing when he turned pro after his junior season. He won a starting job in preseason, made the Pro Bowl and is one victory away from the Super Bowl.

G: Faneca (LSU) of the Arizona Cardinals - The nine-time Pro Bowler has started all but six games in a 13-year career.

G: Ben Grubbs (Auburn) of the Baltimore Ravens. A first-round pick in 2007, he has started all but four games in four NFL seasons.

T: Chad Clifton (UT) of the Green Bay Packers. The two-time Pro Bowler is a former four-year starter for the Vols.

T: Jon Stinchcomb (Georgia) of the New Orleans Saints - The five-year starter was a Pro Bowler in 2009.

PK: John Kasay (Georgia) of the Carolina Panthers - He made 25 of 29 field-goal attempts, including three of four from 50 yards or further.

Defense

E: John Abraham (South Carolina) of the Atlanta Falcons - The 11-year veteran hasn't slowed down, as evidenced by his 13 sacks and fourth Pro Bowl selection.

E: Carlos Dunlap (Florida) of the Cincinnati Bengals - The first-round draft pick had 9.5 sacks as a rookie.

T: Richard Seymour (Georgia) of the Oakland Raiders - A six-time Pro Bowler in 10 NFL seasons, he tied his career-high with 36 tackles this season and also had 5.5 sacks.

T: Jay Ratliff (Auburn) of the Dallas Cowboys - The five-year starter was selected to his third consecutive Pro Bowl this season.

LB: Patrick Willis (Ole Miss) of the San Francisco 49ers. - He's averaging 148.5 tackles for his first four pro seasons and is in the conversation when you're talking about the best linebacker in the NFL.

LB: Jerod Mayo (UT) of the New England Patriots - Made first-team all-pro after leading the NFL in tackles in his third season.

LB: Kevin Burnett (UT) of the San Diego Chargers - The six-year NFL veteran had 90 tackles and six sacks while forcing two fumbles and intercepting two passes.

CB: Corey Webster (LSU) of the New York Giants - The former first-round draft pick had four interceptions and 52 tackles while usually covering the opposing team's best receiver.

CB: Joe Haden (Florida) of the Cleveland Browns - The seventh overall pick in the last draft played up to his billing with six interceptions and 64 tackles.

S: Eric Berry (UT) of the Kansas City Chiefs. Picked fifth overall, he had no more trouble making the transition from college to the NFL than he did the switch from high school to college, finishing the season with 92 tackles and four interceptions.

S: Ryan Clark (LSU) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The nine-year NFL veteran had a career-high 90 tackles in the regular season, then forced a fumble and intercepted a pass in the Steelers' playoff victory over Baltimore.

P: Donnie Jones (LSU) of the St. Louis Rams - A seven-year NFL veteran, he averaged 45. 5 yards per punt.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 19

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

Adams loves the SEC...yea!

Pullingguard writes:

Interesting, just goes to show the strength of SEC, for this team made up of SEC players could compete and be a force within the NFL.

rootin4volz writes:

You neglected to mention that one of Berry's INT's went for 6, Johnny-Boy. We can always find something to slam you for, cause you're sloppy.
Just. Plain. Sloppy.

murrayvol writes:

And not 1 Alabama player to be found....interstin'.

bigorangeinNC writes:

No mention of Ellis? He's only played in a pro bowl as well as being a key reason my J-E-T-S beat the evil patriots last week.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bigorangeinNC:

No mention of Ellis? He's only played in a pro bowl as well as being a key reason my J-E-T-S beat the evil patriots last week.

Ellis was hobbled by injuries for much of this year. He has been a good one for a good long time, but this listing seems to be based mostly on this season, though with Adams you can never be sure.

TheOpinion writes:

Former Vols in the NFL
Morgan Cox LS Ravens 1 2010 FA --
Montario Hardesty RB Browns 1 2010 2 59
Jacques McClendon OG Colts 1 2010 4 129
Chris Scott OT Steelers 1 2010 5 151
Dan Williams DT Cardinals 1 2010 1 21
Robert Ayers LB Broncos 2 2009 1 18
Britton Colquitt P Broncos 1 2009 FA --
Brad Cottam TE Chiefs 3 2008 3 76
Arian Foster RB Texans 2 2008 FA --
Ramon Foster OT Steelers 2 2008 FA --
Jerod Mayo LB Patriots 3 2008 1 10
Justin Harrell DE Packers 4 2007 1 16
Robert Meachem WR Saints 4 2007 1 27
Turk McBride DE Lions 4 2007 2 54
Marvin Mitchell LB Saints 4 2007 7 220
Jonathan Wade CB Bengals 4 2007 3 84
Jason Allen CB Texans 5 2006 1 16
Omar Gaither LB Eagles 5 2006 5 168
Parys Haralson LB 49ers 5 2006 5 140
Tony McDaniel DE Dolphins 5 2006 FA --
Kevin Burnett LB Chargers 6 2005 2 42
Dustin Colquitt P Chiefs 6 2005 3 99
Jabari Greer CB Saints 7 2004 FA --
Anthony Herrera OG Vikings 7 2004 FA --
Scott Wells C Packers 7 2004 7 251
Gibril Wilson DB Bengals 7 2004 5 136
Aubrayo Franklin NT 49ers 8 2003 5 146
Kelley Washington WR Chargers 8 2003 3 65
Jason Witten TE Cowboys 8 2003 3 69
Albert Haynesworth DT Redskins 9 2002 1 15
John Henderson DT Raiders 9 2002 1 9
Donte Stallworth WR Ravens 8 2002 1 13
David Martin TE Bills 9 2001 6 198
Chad Clifton OT Packers 11 2000 2 84
Shaun Ellis DE Jets 11 2000 1 12
Deon Grant S Giants 11 2000 2 57
Peyton Manning QB Colts 13 1998 1 1

TheOpinion writes:

And think about this.

Manning-The best QB in the NFL.

Foster-Led the NFL in rushing.

Mayo-Led the NFL in tackles.

Then you look at the past.

Jamal Lewis-Ran for 2,000 in a season.

Reggie White-Greatest D-Lineman of all time.

I mean you can keep going. There are stories for days when it comes to former Vols.You have to give credit to Fulmer that man really brought in a lot of talent in the 90s and early '00s. Really sad that he got lazy at the end of his career and we're still trying to recover from that.

TheOpinion writes:

Also Tyler Bray is dating a girl named Paige. Not going to say the last name but he needs to let her go. She's attractive but the girl is a cleat chaser and gold digger. She's at every party and is only seeking out the athletes or money makers. She will have his head in shambles. If he wants to be a good qb he needs to let her go because she will mess with his head. That type of girl welcomes attention from anyone.

Volgrad777 writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Former Vols in the NFL
Morgan Cox LS Ravens 1 2010 FA --
Montario Hardesty RB Browns 1 2010 2 59
Jacques McClendon OG Colts 1 2010 4 129
Chris Scott OT Steelers 1 2010 5 151
Dan Williams DT Cardinals 1 2010 1 21
Robert Ayers LB Broncos 2 2009 1 18
Britton Colquitt P Broncos 1 2009 FA --
Brad Cottam TE Chiefs 3 2008 3 76
Arian Foster RB Texans 2 2008 FA --
Ramon Foster OT Steelers 2 2008 FA --
Jerod Mayo LB Patriots 3 2008 1 10
Justin Harrell DE Packers 4 2007 1 16
Robert Meachem WR Saints 4 2007 1 27
Turk McBride DE Lions 4 2007 2 54
Marvin Mitchell LB Saints 4 2007 7 220
Jonathan Wade CB Bengals 4 2007 3 84
Jason Allen CB Texans 5 2006 1 16
Omar Gaither LB Eagles 5 2006 5 168
Parys Haralson LB 49ers 5 2006 5 140
Tony McDaniel DE Dolphins 5 2006 FA --
Kevin Burnett LB Chargers 6 2005 2 42
Dustin Colquitt P Chiefs 6 2005 3 99
Jabari Greer CB Saints 7 2004 FA --
Anthony Herrera OG Vikings 7 2004 FA --
Scott Wells C Packers 7 2004 7 251
Gibril Wilson DB Bengals 7 2004 5 136
Aubrayo Franklin NT 49ers 8 2003 5 146
Kelley Washington WR Chargers 8 2003 3 65
Jason Witten TE Cowboys 8 2003 3 69
Albert Haynesworth DT Redskins 9 2002 1 15
John Henderson DT Raiders 9 2002 1 9
Donte Stallworth WR Ravens 8 2002 1 13
David Martin TE Bills 9 2001 6 198
Chad Clifton OT Packers 11 2000 2 84
Shaun Ellis DE Jets 11 2000 1 12
Deon Grant S Giants 11 2000 2 57
Peyton Manning QB Colts 13 1998 1 1

I think you left out Erik Ainge.

Volgrad777 writes:

BTW Opinion, why dont we as fans start interjecting ourselves into 19 year old kids personal lives because we sit at home and have nothing better to do than try and live through someone who actually had the athletic ability to make it. How about we actually have the audacity to assume we somehow have the knowledge or authority to tell a kid who he should and should not boing. I mean all of which would make us real losers, but hell, why not. Lets go ahead and do it. Let the kid be and i for one dont think its appropriate to be naming (either first or last name) a girl on this site and verbally assaulting her morals, reputation and intentions. She no doubt has a father somewhere and if i were him id hunt you down and beat the ever loving phooey out of you. Poor post in poor taste.
BTW.......anyone else think Jerod Mayo looks like hes 68 years old? Good gosh almight that guy looks wacky. More power to him as hes bustin heads out there though.

okievol1 writes:

Nice post Volgrad777 to the "opinion". Those opinions have no place on this site. Idiot.

Ringleader writes:

And where is ..........Hines Ward.......

Einstein writes:

Punter? What abour Dustin and Britton Colquitt?

CroKev writes:

in response to Volgrad777:

I think you left out Erik Ainge.

Does Crompton count?

CroKev writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are there any decent Tide boys currently playing in the league?

Sovol writes:

Leave off Stallworth too. He doesn't claim to have played at UT. When introduced before the game he gives his high school as his school of choice.

billwall writes:

Vols have 7 on this list which constitutes primarily the last decade. Bama has none. It is interesting that we have had several losing seasons during this period, not one SEC championship and Bama has one NC during this decade when they were supposedly "down" due to sanctions. I think we are headed for another decade of mediocrity.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Sovol:

Leave off Stallworth too. He doesn't claim to have played at UT. When introduced before the game he gives his high school as his school of choice.

That has always annoyed me about Donte, but LOTS of those guys do it these days. Most of us would have never heard of these guys if they hadn't gone to the colleges they did. Most of those who do that are "kippin' it rill for the homies". It's a tribute to their posses and hangers-on rather than to those who helped them get where they are today.

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