See our All NFC North offense selections here ...
Jared Allen, Minnesota *
The Vikings gave up an awful lot to get Allen out of Kansas City and ramp up their pass rush, and the former Chief certainly didn't disappoint on the way to 14.5 sacks and his second consecutive Pro Bowl berth.
Bill Huber: "Just ask Aaron Rodgers if Allen is the best in the NFL."
Kevin Williams, Minnesota *
Pairing with Pat Williams to form the immovable object that is the Williams Wall, Kevin Williams is a four-time Pro Bowler and also a four-time All-Pro who can get after the quarterback and eliminate the running game simultaneously.
John Crist: "StarCaps or no StarCaps, running the football consistently on the Vikings just doesn't happen because of the Williams Wall anchoring the middle."
Tommie Harris, Chicago
Even though he's dealt with knee and hamstring issues that have cut into his production the last two seasons, Harris is borderline unblockable when operating at full capacity and makes a living in enemy backfields.
Tim Yotter: "Guys like Pat Williams and Ryan Pickett deserve mention if Harris can’t stay healthy."
Aaron Kampman, Green Bay
Kampman has a tough task ahead of him in 2009 as he switches to outside linebacker in the Packers' new 3-4, but he still deserves the benefit of the doubt at end on this team since he has 37 sacks the last three years combined.
TY: "Why the Packers moved Kampman to linebacker is beyond me."
Lance Briggs, Chicago *
One of the best open-field tacklers in the NFL and a shoe-in for 100-plus stops each and every season, Briggs is coming off his fourth straight Pro Bowl berth and a career high in '08 with three interceptions.
Nate Caminata: "Produces every year within one of the league's more aggressive defenses."
Brian Urlacher, Chicago
A former Defensive Player of the Year and one of the faces of the league the last decade, Urlacher isn't quite the sideline-to-sideline terror he used to be but is still the class of the NFC North at this important position.
NC: "Needs to make 2009 count, as he doesn't have many years available atop his perch, especially with a divisional youth movement at the position."
Julian Peterson, Detroit
While Ernie Sims is a pretty good player in his own right, his new teammate, Peterson, gets the nod here despite being a newcomer to the division because of his experience, playmaking ability, and pass-rushing prowess.
BH: "Gets the nod over end-turned-linebacker Aaron Kampman just because he's done it."
Charles Woodson, Green Bay *
Still the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Woodson has been nothing short of sensational after leaving the Raiders for the Packers and has 19 interceptions during his three seasons in Titletown.
TY: "A tremendous cover corner in Woodson, even if he is getting long in the tooth."
Nick Collins, Green Bay *
Truly coming into his own this past year, Collins is beginning to resemble a more athletic LeRoy Butler patrolling centerfield for the Packers and took back three of his career-high seven INTs all the way to paydirt.
JC: "With decorated veterans like Mike Brown and Darren Sharper no longer around, Collins is now the premier safety in the NFC North."
Daniel Bullocks, Detroit
Despite the fact that the Lions have been atrocious defending the pass recently, Bullocks is a sure tackler in the secondary and may pair with promising rookie Louis Delmas to form a dynamic duo in the Motor City.
JC: "It's easy to overlook Bullocks because the Lions have been torched through the air, but he and Delmas could be tremendous together."
Antoine Winfield, Minnesota
Arguably the best pound-for-pound tackler in all of football at just 5-9 and 190 pounds, Winfield went to his first Pro Bowl last year at 31 years old thanks to two sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and the first defensive touchdown of his career.
BH: "One of the best combo run-pass corners."
* Unanimous selection
(Note: Bullocks and Green Bay's Atari Bigby both received two votes at safety, but Bullocks got the selection because Bigby missed nine games last year due to injury. Winfield and Chicago's Charles Tillman both received two votes at cornerback, but Winfield got the selection because he's coming off a Pro Bowl.)
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