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In the NFL, each team has a few players that are indispensable which they could not afford to lose. Many expect that if you are the best player then you are the most important. Well, that’s not true all the time. For instance, Tom Brady was clearly the New England Patriots’ best player in 2007 but when he went down after tearing his ACL in the first game of the 2007 season, the team went 11-5 with Matt Cassell as their starting quarterback. Who was more important than their best player, Wes Welker at the time. The most important player is that guy where the team thrives off of, not just because of his skills but his presence as well.
This list will showcase the top 10 most coveted and important players to their team. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the best player on that team. The criteria to make the list is how valuable and has the team ever been successful without him.
10.) J.J. Watt- Houston Texans; Defensive End
One of if not the toughest players in the game today has been the heart and soul of the Texans. Watt plays on a great defense but he is the sole player that energizes this team. Yes, he gets sacks but his relentless pursuit to the quarterback which is causing pressure that turns into the quarterback rushing his throws makes the defense look that much better. Why is he on this list, the offense hasn’t been good for the last few years but because of Watt, they don’t need as much from them.
9.) Jarvis Landry- Miami Dolphins; Wide Receiver
Landry is one of the most electrifying players in the league. He is the one man show for the Dolphins. He is the No. 1 option at the wide receiver position, he gets a few carries a game and return punts for the team. Not only is he the first option at receiver but you can line him up out wide, in the slot and in the backfield. He’s basically your “Where’s Waldo”.
8.) Julian Edelman- New England Patriots; Wide Receiver
The Patriots got lucky in finding a receiver that replaces their prolific slot receiver Welker. Edelman is almost a replica of Welker but tougher. You might ask how is he more important than Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Well, with Edelman being so effective underneath, it has caused defenses to more so focus on him. This now gives Gronkowski one-on-one matches and it also gives Brady or whoever the quarterback is a reliable receiver in the slot. Edelman dominate games with catches and running after the catch.
7.) Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers; Quarterback
When “Big Ben” is at the helm, the Steelers machine is at it’s best. Everything is moving in rhythm and in sync. When he’s not there, not only does the offense suffer but the their best player, Antonio Brown, basically is nonexistent. His leadership consist of making sure everyone knows where to be and when to be there. When the game is on the line, his confidence alone carries the team to victories.
6.) A.J. Green- Cincinnati Bengals; Wide Receiver
Mr. Green might not be the most flashiest and talkative but he is the most popular in “Who Dey” nation. If Green doesn’t play well (which is rare) then the Bengals don’t win. The running game works better because of the attention he draws. He has gotten his wide receiver teammates nice contracts with other teams just because they get single coverages without safety help due to the defense focusing on Green. He can run every route they ask him (even decoy routes) and block exceptionally well which makes him the most important on this team.
5.) Julio Jones- Atlanta Falcons; Wide Receiver
In Atlanta, they usually have running plays or Julio Jones plays. Jones has emerged into a top tier wide out in the NFL and with the Falcons, he has become the go-to-guy on every pass play. He’s one of the hardest to guard in the league and even if he isn’t open, quarterback Matt Ryan considers him open if he doesn’t have four defenders on him. Jones’ ability frees up the rest of the receivers because of all the attention he causes. If you take Jones off the team, they only win four games.
4.) Kam Chancellor- Seattle Seahawks; Safety
This might surprise most just because Russell Wilson may be their best player. We know Wilson does everything on offense, the defense and the team isn’t quite the same when Chancellor isn’t in the lineup. Last year, the Seahawks struggled mightily early in the season without Chancellor. His ability to come up and play the run, shutdown the tight end, cover some wide receivers and and still be able to deliver the big hits makes him that valuable to the team. His knack for the ball is indescribable and he allows the defense to dominate despite them playing their basic defense and still be the best scoring defense in the league.
3.) Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints; Quarterback
Brees has been Mr. New Orleans for a while. But as of late, he might be the only player of the Saints that football fans outside of New Orleans know. No matter who you plug in as a wide receiver, He’s going to throw for over 4,500 yards and make all of his wide receivers look good. If you look at his targets that have left, you will see a dip in their production and they don’t even look like they are worth mentioning. If Brees was not on this team, the Saints would go back to being the “Aints”.
2.) Adrian Peterson- Minnesotta Vikings; Running Back
“A.P.” represents what a franchise player is. Besides Brett Farve and Percy Harvin, Peterson has never played with any good offensive players on the Vikings throughout his career and Farve and Harvin had short stints in Minnesota. Peterson might be the lone guy on here that is literally a one man show. How many times have their quarterback been the worst in the NFL and had the worst wide receiving core, but they continually make the playoffs.
1.) Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers; Quarterback
Newton seemed like he was destined for this from the first time he stepped on the field as a Carolina Panther. His skill-set is unmatchable. You might ask why is he No. 1 if A.P. carries the whole team on his back. That’s because Cam basically is their best offensive player. Anytime you have a quarterback throwing for 35 touchdowns and adding 1o rushing touchdowns, he’s the most valuable to the league let alone the team. He is an all-night nightmare for defensive coordinators. Maybe the only quarterback in the league who can play just about every position on offense.