One of my favorite ways to see how teams stack up is to ask myself, "What player from the other team would start for the Packers?"
Based on that premise, I started to think about what the All-NFC North team would look like.
My thoughts after the jump...
The only caveat I will follow is that I am picking starters for Green Bay's system. I will be making some assumptions on the defensive side of the ball.
QB: Aaron Rodgers: Slam dunk starter. No other QB in the North has a ceiling as high as Aaron's current floor, and that is hardly an insult to the other guys.
RB: Adrian Peterson: Definitely the best back in the division. He came to camp ripped this season too.
3rd Down Back: Matt Forte: I don't know much about his blocking ability, but his other talents match up nice. Starks and Best fit here too, and Alex Green might be better then all of them, in this role, by next season.
FB: John Kuhn: I don't see any obvious upgrades, so he stays on my team.
TE: Jermichael Finley: Super talent needs to stay healthy but he earns a pretty obvious spot here.
TE: Brandon Pettigrew: He is a tier below Jermichael but a tier above everyone else.
WR: Greg Jennings: He runs perfect routes with extreme quickness and catches everything while making it all look smooooth, doo.
WR: Calvin Johnson Jr.: I will start with this; if he was playing for Jimmy Robinson or Edgar Bennett, his butt would not be allowed to start until he learned to run his routes better while playing hard every play. If he adhered, he would be the best WR in the league. He still makes my team nonetheless.
WR: Percy Harvin: Perfect slot guy for the 'now', but this was not easy. Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver, Devin Hester and even Randall Cobb could make a claim to Percy's spot by Week 6. Percy seems to play hard enough to be a Packer.
T: Chad Clifton: The North offensive lines, besides the Packers, suck. I think I would take Sherrod here too, given Jansen's age and injury, and yes, I know Cliffy is old too. He has always been better then Jansen.
T: Bryan Bulaga: He will have to hold off Carimi and Loadholdt, but he has a firm grasp on the spot for now. Loadholdt will be much better this year, he came to camp ready to freaking play.
G: Josh Sitton: Another easy choice. I wouldn't trade him for another guard anywhere. Simply elite.
G: Sherrod/Lang: Idk, someone make an argument for someone else. This division is filled with below average offensive lineman. If Cherilous moved inside, maybe him. Hutch is toast.
C: Scott Wells: For the Packers system, he is the pick. I would love to hear arguments for another player here too.
DE: BJ Raji: Obviously Jared Allen was considered here. I have serious doubts about him in a 3-4 though. He is like AK in that regard. Raji, who has been playing mainly DE lately, is overshadowed by Ndamukong Suh, but he really shouldn't be. He is nearly has physically gifted while also displaying incredible smarts and natural feel for the game.
NT: Ndamukong Suh: A pure beast. Josh Sitton called him the toughest guy to block in the league.
OLB: Clay Matthews III: A pure beast. I cannot emphasize enough how CMIII is perfectly groomed is to be football player. It makes sense, he is the son of the best defensive player in Browns history.
ILB: Desmond Bishop: My how far he has come in a year. It will be interesting to see if he keeps up the elite level of play this season. He looked a step slow in the Browns game to an untrained eye (mine)?
ILB: Tie: Brian Urlacher/AJ Hawk/EJ Henderson: All three of these guys are pure tacklers. All three of these guys can, and do, call the defenses for their teams. All three of these guys are leaders and would be equally successful, today, in the 3-4 Packers D.
OLB: Chad Greenway: Maybe he is undersized, but he is pretty good cover guy to put opposite of Clay. Briggs is tempting too. Both guys certainly have more pure talent than JonZomWalden, so I trust they could make it work. I will say that I could see Zombo taking a big step his year.
CB: Tramon Williams: This is pretty clear in my book.
CB: Charles Woodson: For the Packers defensive scheme, he is another clear choice.
CB: Charles Tilman: He and Woodsen are a bit redundent, but he is big and tough, and I'm sure TT would love to have him. Sam Shields is pretty dang close to taking this spot but not yet. Winfield was a lock 3 years ago, but not anymore.
S: Nick Collins: Another clear choice here. Safety is the other clear weakness in the NFC North.
S: Louis Delmas: Please read this Morgan Burnett and get pissed. Delmas is a pretty dumb player, but I do think working with the Packers could help that. He would not see the field unless he corrected his assignment mistakes. Major Wright has a chance in my book too.
K: Not my forte here. Mason Crosby is fine because of his huge leg, but he doesn't kick it very straight. Gould is pretty good too I think. No way on Longwell. Edit: I think it is pretty clear that Robbie Gould is better.
KR/PR: Devin Hester: This is pretty obvious I think. I hope Randall Cobb is 75% the returner that Hester is.
So, by my count:
I think we stack up very well. Am I missing some guys from other teams? The clear advantages for the Packers is the offensive line and the QB position. The secondary and receivers are also clearly ahead of the rest of the division. We have the best 3-4 LB's in the North, but we are the only team that runs a 3-4, haha, so that makes sense. Anything else stick out?