The NFL is full of talented players. From 2010 through 2019, some of the best players of all-time hit the gridiron. Every Sunday athletes like Tom Brady and Richard Sherman left their blood, sweat, and tears in the green grass. They’ve earned their place on the All-Decade team. The rest of the field wasn’t so easy to choose. Which wide receiver jumped higher than their peers? Which running back bull-rushed through defenders with more vigor than the others? This is our list of NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
LeSean McCoy Is The Lead Back
Choosing the lead back for the All-Decade team wasn’t easy, but at the end of the day, we went with the most explosive player available. During the last decade, McCoy was the only running back to rush for over 10,000 yards.
Even though his career hit a nosedive near the end of the decade, it’s impossible to deny his credentials. Starting his career with the Eagles, McCoy also played with the Buffalo Bills, where he earned three Pro Bowl nominations. In 2019 he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Calvin Johnson Earned His Nickname
Calvin Johnson played six out of ten possible seasons and but he’s still our top wideout. Nicknamed Megatron, Johnson was a freak athlete on a perennially bad Detroit Lions team. In 2012, he even set the single-season record for receiving yards with 1,964.
In his six eligible seasons, Johnson also caught more TD passes (62) than anyone else. He won’t be the last WR on this list, but because of what he meant to the NFL while he played, it was hard to deny him the top spot.
Tom Brady Can’t Be Denied
Even if you think that Tom Brady isn’t the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL, you can’t deny that he was the best of the last decade. After all, he literally spent half the decade playing in the Super Bowl.
In the last ten years, Brady has thrown for over 300 touchdowns and has set records that will be hard for anyone to catch. While players like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, or even Ben Roethlisberger could have been our starting quarterback, it really wasn’t that much of a competition.
Brady Needs Rob Gronkowski
If Tom Brady is the decade’s best starting QB option, then his safety blanket at tight end, Rob Gronkowski, has to join him. No tight end in the last ten years was as explosive, exciting, or as injured as the big fella.
Really, the only aspect of Gronk’s career that hurt him are those injuries. When he played, he was unstoppable. When his body gave out on him, he was forced to retire at 29 years old. When Brady’s first Gronk-less season rolled around, the offense had trouble finding a new rhythm.
J.J. Watt Never Let QBs Get Comfortable
Several players warranted consideration as our first defensive lineman named, but none had the resume of J.J. Watt. He is the only player in the last decade to record two 20 plus sack seasons. Despite his multiple injuries, he is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer and the best defensive lineman of the 2010s.
Watt’s big breakout came in 2012 when he recorded 20.5 sacks and 69 solo tackles. Two years later he recorded another 20.5 sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown!
Von Miller Holds The Edge
Von Miller has been everything the Denver Broncos could have asked for since drafting him in 2011. A one-man wrecking crew on the edge, he amassed over 100 sacks during the last decade and didn’t turn 30 until 2019.
With a promising new foundation in place in Denver heading into the next decade, Miller will now look to cement his status as one of the greatest edge rushers of all time. Will we see him on this list again in ten years?
Bobby Wagner Deserves More Respect
As the Seattle Seahawks rose to prominence, a lot of players and coaches were given credit: Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, and Richard Sherman, just to name a few. Of those people, Bobby Wagner is never given the credit he deserves.
As the defense changed and the Legion of Boom dissipated, Wagner stayed the Pacific Northwest as the anchor of an always great defense. He might be one of the least recognizable names on this list, but now you definitely know who he is.
Luke Kuechly Keeps The Carolina Defense Chugging
Another knockout linebacker from the last decade, Luke Kuechly has been the beating heart of the Panthers defense since entering the league. He won one Defensive Player of the Year award once and recorded more than 160 tackles in three separate seasons.
We’d be hard-pressed to find another linebacker to line-up so perfectly in our all-decade team alongside Bobby Wagner. While injuries have become a concern in his still-young career, they couldn’t stop him from earning his spot on this list!
Richard Sherman Could Have An Island Named After Him
While Darrelle Revis was busy at the start of the decade having an island named after him, Richard Sherman was making life miserable for wide receivers. Protecting one side of the field, Sherman has collected more interceptions (35) in the last ten years than any other player.
A bad break-up with the Seahawks didn’t slow down the future Hall of Famer either. After tearing his Achilles, he signed with the 49ers, where he picked up right where he left off.
Patrick Peterson Was Great For Bad Teams
In the last decade, few players have been as important to their teams as Patrick Peterson. Playing for bad teams in Arizona, the eight-time Pro-Bowler rarely if ever complained and was rewarded with a $70 million payday in 2014.
In his first eight seasons, Peterson never missed a game. An injury in his ninth season finally slowed him down but didn’t keep him out of the Arizona lineup for too long. A free agent in 2021, could we see him on another team in the next decade?
Earl Thomas Stopped Peyton Manning In His Tracks
Playing safety in Seattle, Earl Thomas was one of the key cogs in the Seahawks’ vaunted Legion of Boom defense. Carrying the torch as the best free roamer on defense, Thomas took on his biggest challenge in the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning.
Manning had thrown for 55 touchdowns during the season, an NFL record. The Seahawks’ defense was expected to be no match for his unstoppable attack. Thanks to Thomas, Manning couldn’t find space through the air, and Seattle won 43-8.
Justin Tucker Doesn’t Miss Field Goals
It’s rare to be a kicker or a punter in the NFL and wind up in the Hall of Fame. Justin Tucker is going to be one of those players. He spent the last decade completing field goals at a 90 percent rate, three percent higher than the current all-time rate.
The only kicker that comes close to Tucker in the last decade is Stephen Gostkowski, who has become a legend in New England. Still, who can forget Tucker’s game-winning field in sub-zero temperatures against the Broncos in the 2012 playoffs?
Johnny Hekker Is Only Logical
Johnny Hekker might be the most dynamic punter the NFL has ever seen. A QB by trade, Hekker has separated himself as a punter who can fake a fourth down and throw for a first down instead at any time.
By the time he turned 28 years old, Hekker was named a first-team All-Pro four times. He also single-handedly kept the offensively-challenged Rams in the Super Bowl against the Patriots in 2019. His effort, of course, was all for nothing as Los Angeles lost the game 13-3.
Where Would The Browns Be Without Joe Thomas?
We can’t deny that over the course of the last decade the Cleveland Browns have been a bad football team. But can you imagine how much worse they would have been without stand-out offensive tackle Joe Thomas?
Thomas earned five first-team All-Pro honors over the last ten years and never missed a game until 2017. Sadly, the injury that Thomas sustained ended his career before he tasted what it was like to win.
Maurkice Pouncey Made The Pro Bowl His Home
By the time he turned 29 years old, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey had been voted into seven Pro Bowls. The feat was the most by any player at the position since 1970 when the NFL and AFL merged.
Adding to Pouncey’s resume are the running backs he has created holes for – James Connor and Le’Veon Bell. Since moving onto the New York Jets, Bell hasn’t seen the same kind of success he had since Pouncey turned him into a superstar.
Zack Martin Unleashed Zeke Elliot
As a rookie in 2014, Zack Martin became the first guard in 75 years to be named a first-team All-Pro. In the following years, he has made the Pro Bowl five times and led the way for two running backs to win rushing titles.
The first of those running backs was DeMarco Murray. The tall and powerful runner thrived on his Dallas’ power offense. And when Zeke Elliot came to town, the story on Martin was officially written. Until 2019, Elliot has been one of, if not the best, running backs in the NFL, in no small part thanks to Martin.
Frank Gore Was A Menace For Defensive Lines
Never the league’s most explosive runner, Frank Gore gets our nod here for just how consistent he was during the last decade. Most RBs have a “lifespan” of three to four years. Gore rushed for over 900 yards seven times in ten years and broke the 1,000-yard mark five times.
In 2019, Gore passed Barry Sanders as the NFL’s third all-time leading rusher. While he has slowed down a bit as the decade has come to a close, he still knows how to find the endzone.
Julio Jones Just Gains Yards
While you can fairly argue that Antonio Brown and not Julio Jones should be here, we would politely disagree. Drafted in 2011, Jones will end the decade with more than 11,000 receiving yards. From 2014 through 2018, he never caught for less than 1,400 yards in a season.
In 2019, Jones signed a three-year fully guaranteed contract extension with the Atlanta Falcons, making him one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the league. It will be fun to see what the next decade brings for the franchise icon.
DeAndre Hopkins Was Great Without A QB
Until Deshaun Watson rolled into Houston, DeAndre Hopkins was the only superstar keeping the team afloat offensively. A shortlist of quarterbacks he had to deal with includes Tom Savage, Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, and Brock Osweiler.
If none of those names ring a bell, that’s okay. The most notable of the group was Osweiler, but he never proved he could be anything more than a viable NFL backup. Still, with those players, Hopkins scored touchdown after touchdown and torched defenses with five 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Terrell Suggs Was Hungry For Sacks
Terrell Suggs set the defensive tone for edge rushers in 2010 when he recorded five sacks in the playoffs. As the decade wore on, he continued to set the bar higher and higher, including a dominant Super Bowl performance in 2012 against the San Francisco 49ers.
The only other player that could challenge him for this spot would be Cameron Wake. A Canadian Football League find, the Dolphins edge rusher recorded 95 sacks in the decade.