Smith, a 2017 All-Pro selection after two straight Pro Bowl nods, is a freak show, and this season he has been arguably the NFL’s best safety. In his sixth season, all with Minnesota, Smith matched a career high with five interceptions, and he set a new career high with 12 passes defensed.
Kelce, who has been the Eagles’ starting center (when healthy) for seven years, still has a case to be made as the NFL’s best at his position. He remains the anchor of what has become one of the league’s best offensive lines, even without Jason Peters.
After the Raiders’ 30-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, Del Rio announced that he’s been fired and in something that came as a surprise to absolutely no one, Jon Gruden has been hired to replace him.
To lure Gruden out of the ESPN broadcast booth, the Raiders gave him a 10-year deal that will be worth up to $100 million. Although the Gruden hire makes plenty of sense for the Raiders, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work out. Gruden has coached since 2008 and hasn’t won a playoff game since leading the Buccaneers to a win in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Abdullah Anderson, DT, Bucknell — Anderson was one of the defensive stars at the Rose Bowl. He’s quick off the snap with a strong push. The 6-4, 295-pound pass rusher knows how to use his hands and he had a strip-sack that led to Herron’s touchdown in the NFLPA Bowl.
Jacob Alsadek, OG, Arizona — Alsadek is huge at 6-7, 325, and understands how to redirect pass rushers. He has good balance and bends well and does a good job of getting to the next level.
Troy Apke, S, Penn State — Apke was an excellent special teams player at Penn State and showed off his ball skills at the NFLPA Bowl. After having just one interception all season and two for his career, the 6-1, 198-pound safety picked off Michigan quarterback John O’Korn in Saturday’s NFLPA Bowl and was named game MVP.