To be considered one of the best your position is obviously a true honor. However, to be named the absolute greatest player at your position in the history of the game makes you a god. A select few in the Hall of Fame are considered the absolute best, but The NFL Report has decided to rank the greatest players in NFL history in each position, making the ultimate dream team. The rankings are below, and be sure to comment based on what YOU think.
Quarterback: Johnny Unitas: It is quite difficult to compare players from the past to the present, but the greatest quarterback of all time is Johnny Unitas. He completely changed the game of football, with his pure athleticism and skill. The 10-time pro bowler once threw for 32 touchdowns in only 12 games (the length of football seasons in 1959). Many would argue the game of football was not as complex as it is today, with its video recordings, play calling, audibles, and quarterbacks must attempt to read team's defensive set-ups (all of which is somewhat true). The legacy of Johnny Unitas is what makes him so spectacular, which is why he is the greatest quarterback of all time.
Runner-up: Tom Brady
Fullback: Jim Brown: With out a doubt, Jim Brown is the greatest football player of all time. In a single season, Brown rushed for 1,863 yards and 17 touchdowns in only 14 games, giving him a yards per rush of 6.4. Jim Brown had both speed and power, a lethal combination, which enabled him to tear apart defenses. Not many people expected a 225 pound man to out-run everyone on the field, but that is exactly what Jim Brown did. Brown is the only player in history to average over 100 yards per game and 5 yards in a career. With the statistics, abilities, and smarts that Jim Brown had, he is the clear choice for greatest full back of all time.
Runner up: No one
Running Back: Barry Sanders: Though he only played for 10 NFL seasons, each one was a stroke of pure greatness. Every year, he rushed for 1,100 yards or more, something few running backs have done. Sanders did an extraordinary job deking out defenders or bouncing off of a tackle, something no one had ever seen before. Unlike most running backs, avoiding a tackle appeared to be second nature to Barry, almost as if his moves required no thinking at all. Many people criticize Sanders for retiring at age 30, even though he was 1,457 yards from the career rushing yards record (which was later broken by Emmit Smith). Though he did not get the career rushing yard record, Barry Sanders still has great statistics, outstanding athleticism, and spectacular reflexes, making him the greatest rusher of all time.
Runner up: Walter Payton
Wide Reciever: Jerry Rice: What a surprise. Was there any doubt that Jerry Rice was going to be named the greatest wide receiver of all time. For a period of time, Rice was completely unstoppable. Even if teams tried to double cover him, Rice found a way to make a spectacular catch and score. From 1986 to 1996, he had at-least 1,000 yards each year and over 151 touchdowns in that time span. The 13-time pro bowler has three super bowl rings, all of which were with the San Francisco 49ers. With accomplishments like Rice has, he is the clear choice for the greatest wide receiver of all time.
Runner up: Randy Moss
Tight End: Tony Gonzalez: This may come as quite a shock, but I believe Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end of all time. Though he may not have had as consistent of a career as most receivers, Gonzalez has outstanding statistics. He has the most career receiving yards (11,760), receptions (994), and touchdowns (82) out of any tight end in NFL history. Amazingly, Tony Gonzalez was at his best while playing on the Chiefs, a team that has not been recently known for having a great quarterback. Many would argue that several earlier tight ends top Gonzalez due to the fact they 'changed the position', but Gonzalez has the statistics and reputation to compete with any tight end in NFL history
Runner up: John Mackey
Offensive Gaurd: John Hannah: Though there are not great statistics that can portray the athleticism of a offensive guard, John Hannah is by far the best guard of all time. Hannah had speed, great reflexes, and size (32' inch thighs), allowing him to dominate the offensive line. Many people considered Hannah and tackle Leon Gray the greatest guard/tackle tandem of all time. However, many people say right before the ball was snapped, Hannah would hit Gray's opponent in the head, allowing Gray to guard him more easily, and Hannah would go back to guarding his own man with ease. In 1978 while playing on the Patriots, Hannah was a major part in the record breaking season, where the Patriots team rushed for a total of 3,165 yards. Hannah's success allowed him to be the first Patriots player elected to the Hall of Fame, and rightfully so.
Runner up: Bruce Matthews
Offensive Tackle: Anthony Munoz: For 13 seasons, the NFL was dominated by offensive tackle Anthony Munoz. Before being drafted, several teams were skeptical about Munoz due to previous injuries. Once he was drafted by the Cincannati Bengals in 1980 NFL draft (3rd overall), his abilities shined through, and was dominate in protecting the Bengals' quarterback. Munez had the quickness, footwork, and size (similar to Hannah) necessary to block large defensive ends. The 11-time pro bowler is easily considered the greatest offensive tackle in NFL history.
Runner up: Forrest Gregg
Center: Mike Webster: From 1974-1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers dominated the NFL, winning 4 Super Bowls in total. A huge part of that success was due to Hall-of-Fame center Mike Webster. After being drafted in the 5th round by Pittsburgh, Webster shared the starting job with Ray Mansfield. Once he was named starter, Webster played in 150 consecutive games using his strength to over power defenders. Not only did he play in 9 pro bowls, but Webster also won the 1980 Ironman competition, proving the overall athleticism of the All-Pro center. Webster was a key to the Steelers dominance, and is the greatest center to ever play the game.
Runner up: Jim Otto
Cornerback: Deion "Prime Time" Sanders: A pass to an open receiver; surely it will be a touchdown pass. Out of no where comes a flash of red, and the ball has been pulled out of the air. An interception. This was quite common for wide receivers being covered by Deion Sanders. Sanders is one of the most versatile players in NFL history. He was a wide receiver, a starting punt returner, and an MLB ballplayer. However, what Sanders is most known for is being a spectacular cornerback. He was able to shut down great receivers, taking them out of the game completely. What separates Deion from great cornerbacks is his outstanding speed. When Sanders picked off a pass, he would basically taunt the defender by galloping to the endzone. In his career, Sanders had 53 interceptions and a total of 22 touchdowns. In 2011, he was inducted to the Hall of Fame, and has been named as the greatest cornerback of all time.
Runner up: Night Train Lane
Defensive End: Reggie White: In the game of football, Reggie White contains each skill set necessary for him to be known as an amazing pass rusher. White was extremely strong, yet surprisingly fast for a 300 pound defensive end. Whenever White powered through a blocker, he would use his sensational agility to demolish an unsuspecting quarterback. Even though teams would double team this tackling machine, that did not stop White from breaking the NFL record for most consecutive double digit sack seasons. His most amazing statistic is by far earning 21 sacks in only 12 games. By the end of White's career, he had a total of 198 sacks (a record at the time) and averaged 13.2 sacks per season, an NFL record. He also won two Super Bowl rings and two Defensive Player of the Year awards, earning the top spot at defensive end.
Runner up: Deacon Jones
Defensive Tackle: "Mean" Joe Green: In the 1981 NFL draft, a defensive tackle by the name of Joe Green was taken 4th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving many fans asking Who's Joe Green? In his first year, Green showed his speed, amazing strength and spectacular reflexes, earning him the 1969 Rookie of the Year award (even though the Steelers were 1-13 that year). It was not until 1972 when the Steelers had a winning season with Joe Green on the roster, who went on to win the 1972 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Then, from 1975 to 1980, the Steelers won 4 out of 6 Super Bowls, mostly due to the defensive presence of "Mean" Joe Green. Green played in 10 Pro Bowls, was named to the 1970's All Decade team, and won 2 DPOTY's. The athleticism and toughness allowed Joe Green to be named the greatest defensive tackle of all time.
Runner up: Merlin Olsen
Middle-Linebacker: Dick Butkus: In the 60's, no one was meaner then Dick Butkus. His ferocity on the field made him one of the most feared players in the game. What separated him from most linebackers was the ability to rip footballs out of the ball carriers hands. Unfortunately, statistics like fumbles recovered was not kept during that age of football, so there is no way in measuring his specific ability. In 1969 and 1970, Butkus won the NEA Defensive Player of the Year award, and played in 8 Pro Bowl games. Not to mention, he was named to the 60's and 70's All-Decade Team. After a tragic knee injury in 1975, the linebacker was forced to retire from the league. Though his career was short, Butkus was dominate for a period of time, and is the best middle linebacker of all time.
Runner up: Ray Lewis
Outside-Linebacker: Lawrence Taylor: In NFL history, the best defensive player of all time is clearly Lawrence Taylor. Taylor made an immediate impact on the league, winning both the Defensive Player of the Year award, and the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1981. From 1981 to 1990, there was no one quarterbacks feared more then Lawrence Taylor. Every tackle he made, Taylor intended to tear the ball carrier apart. What LT is most known for is the career ending injury he put on Joe Theismann in a Monday Night Football game, which emphasized the ferocity of Taylor. Offensive tackles could not stop the unstoppable force of LT, forcing offensive coordinators to make plays preventing Taylor from dominating the game. Taylor has won two Super Bowls, an MVP award, three Defensive Player of the Year awards and has played in 10 Pro Bowl games. With the skill set that LT has, he is obviously the greatest Outside Linebacker of All Time.
Runner up: Jack Ham
Safety: Ronnie Lott: In NFL history, there is no player more devoted than Ronnie Lott. After his finger was crushed in a 1985 game, Lott decided to amputate the tip of his finger so he would not have to miss another NFL game. In his 14 NFL seasons, he recorded 63 interceptions, 5 of which were returned for touchdowns. He also started in 10 Pro Bowl games and won 4 Super Bowls during the 49ers dominating run. The safety was amazing at making devastating hits, sometimes sacrificing his body in order to make the tackle. Ronnie Lott will go down in history as the heart and soul of the NFL.
Runner up: Ed Reed
Kicker: Adam Vinatieri: Less than 10 seconds left in the Super Bowl. Kicker Vinatieri steps onto the field, hoping to kick the game winning field goal. The ball is snapped with the crowd on its feet. Vinatieri makes contact with his foot, and the ball splits the uprights; the Patriots have one the Super Bowl. This routine has happened not once, but twice in Vinatieri's career. Though he may not be the most outstanding kicker in the middle of the game, Vinateiri is the best to have kicking a field goal with the game on the line. Precipitation clearly does not stop Vinatieri from making field goals; in the 2001 AFC Championship game, he nailed an overtime field goal to win, sending the Patriots to the Super Bowl. In his prime, no kicker is more clutch than Adam Vinatieri.
Punter: Shane Lechler: Many football view punters as an unimportant position. However, that is not entirely true; they can be quite key when you need the opponent to be as far away from the end zone as possible late in a game. That is why it is important to have Shane Lechler as a punter. Lechler averages 47.5 per punt in his 11 year career, currently a record in the NFL. The six time Pro Bowler is the best at his position, and is clearly the greatest punter of all time.
Runner up: Ray Guy
Returner: Devin Hester: As a punt returner, no one is better than Devin Hester. Hester is entering his sixth NFL season, and has 11 punt return touchdowns and 5 kick return touchdowns. He also owns the record for career yards per punt return in a Super Bowl. The 3 time Pro Bowler also owns the record for the most punt return yards in a single season with 17.1. Good things are in store for Hester, and he already has been labeled as the greatest returner of all time.