GOAT - position by position

BaseballJones

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Inspired by the Gronk thread and which teams have the most GOATs at their respective positions...I know YMMV here. There's no way that any two of us will agree on all these positions, never mind hundreds of us agreeing. But here's what I got (note that I'm only picking one RB, one WR, one OT, one OG, one DE, one DT, one OLB, one ILB, and one CB, and I'm distinguishing between WR and slot WR because that has become a different position):

QB - Tom Brady, New England
RB - Jim Brown, Cleveland
WR - Jerry Rice, San Francisco
SWR - Julian Edelman, New England
TE - Rob Gronkowski, New England
OT - Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati
OG - John Hannah, New England
C - Dwight Stephenson, Miami
DE - Reggie White, Philadelphia/Green Bay
DT - Joe Greene, Pittsburgh
NT* - Joe Klecko, NY Jets (NT is a different position than DT)
OLB - Lawrence Taylor, NY Giants
ILB - Ray Nitschke, Green Bay
MLB - Ray Lewis, Baltimore
CB - Deion Sanders, Atlanta/Dallas
FS - Ed Reed, Baltimore
SS - Ronnie Lott, San Francisco
K - Adam Vinatieri, New England/Indianapolis
P - Shane Lechler, Oakland

I'm only splitting allegiances for the players for whom, to me, it makes sense, given their success with multiple franchises. So here are my totals:

NE - 4.5
SF - 2
Bal - 2
GB - 1.5
Cle - 1
Cin - 1
Mia - 1
Pit - 1
NYJ - 1
NYG - 1
Oak - 1
Atl - 0.5
Dal - 0.5
Ind - 0.5
Phi - 0.5

Edelman over Welker simply due to his unbelievable postseason success. Welker's regular season production has been better, but who knows how much longer Edelman will play. But that's my pick and you may think otherwise, which is fine.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It seems like you’re just trying to get as many Pats in there as possible. Edelman over a guy like Chris Carter (who operated out of the slot a ton) is hard to argue. Vinatieri made some great clutch kicks and has had incredible longevity but has been essentially a solid-to-above-average type kicker outside the 2001-2004 window. Morten Anderson was better relative to peers over a similarly long career. A guy like Justin Tucker is clearly better in terms of pure performance at accurately and powerfully kicking footballs on a consistent basis (although you can knock him for not having that many seasons yet).
 
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BaseballJones

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It seems like you’re just trying to get as many Pats in there as possible. Edelman over a guy like Chris Carter (who operated out of the slot a ton) is hard to argue. Vinatieri made some great clutch kicks and has had incredible longevity but has been essentially a solid-to-above-average type kicker outside the 2001-2004 window. Morten Anderson was better relative to peers over a similarly long career. A guy like Justin Tucker is clearly better in terms of pure performance at accurately and powerfully kicking footballs on a consistent basis (although you can knock him for not having that many seasons yet).
No I'm not trying to get as many Pats in there as possible. The game has changed where slot receiver is a legit position, and it's different from outside WR. Carter was a true WR, opposite Moss. He wasn't a slot guy, even if he occasionally lined up in the slot. When I look at kicker, most "best ever" lists have Vinatieri at #1, precisely because of his SB-game winning kicks and such. That stuff matters. But anyway, your mileage may vary and it's perfectly ok if your list looks different from mine.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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No I'm not trying to get as many Pats in there as possible. The game has changed where slot receiver is a legit position, and it's different from outside WR. Carter was a true WR, opposite Moss. He wasn't a slot guy, even if he occasionally lined up in the slot. When I look at kicker, most "best ever" lists have Vinatieri at #1, precisely because of his SB-game winning kicks and such. That stuff matters. But anyway, your mileage may vary and it's perfectly ok if your list looks different from mine.
Carter lined up in the slot a ton on those Moss teams, which ran a lot of 3WR sets. More generally, a position can’t be defined only in terms of where you line up (where does a SS line up?) but what you do. So if you want to consider slot receiver it’s own position then it has to be mainly about what a slot receiver does, which is run a mix of routes all over the field but mainly on the inside and in the short areas ( plus blocking responsibilities). Chris Carter has a similar portfolio to Jules but was a better player.

Ymmv and all that but over the top fanboyism makes this forum a worse place.
 

BaseballJones

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Carter lined up in the slot a ton on those Moss teams, which ran a lot of 3WR sets. More generally, a position can’t be defined only in terms of where you line up (where does a SS line up?) but what you do. So if you want to consider slot receiver it’s own position then it has to be mainly about what a slot receiver does, which is run a mix of routes all over the field but mainly on the inside and in the short areas ( plus blocking responsibilities). Chris Carter has a similar portfolio to Jules but was a better player.

Ymmv and all that but over the top fanboyism makes this forum a worse place.
Please stop with the fanboy accusation. I never thought of Carter as a slot receiver. If he was mainly that, fair enough.
 

Super Nomario

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A lot of trouble with Edelman on the list. First of all, fundamentally - how are we putting only one CB on the team but justifying having a separate outside WR and slot?

Second, Edelman is flanker, like Rice or Lance Alworth or Steve Largent. Do the Patriots line him up in the slot more than a traditional flanker, sure. I don't know that that merits classifying him as an entirely different position.

Third, I don't know that Edelman's argument as the greatest slot ever is all that strong. Aside from Welker, Hines Ward, Anquan Boldin, and Marques Colston have superior claims. Heck, Larry Fitzgerald has arguably been a better slot receiver than Edelman since he moved to primarily the slot in 2013, and he had a whole Hall-of-Fame career as an outside WR before moving!

Bottom-line: you've got a list of all-time greats like Brady, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, etc., and one name that sticks out like a sore thumb.
 

pappymojo

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It certainly is suspicious that the only two active players on the list are Patriots. Now, Brady is certainly worthy but Edelman? Nope.
 

BaseballJones

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Your list is good but putting Edelman on a greatest of all time list is laughable. He's not even a hall of famer, so he's not within a mile of a GoAT list.
The thing is, the "slot receiver" is a relatively new thing in the NFL. That is, yes whenever teams went with 3 WRs throughout history, there's a guy in the slot, but its modern usage has made it almost its own position. So when I think of Boldin or Carter, I think of guys who were outside receivers mainly, but who could play slot. Welker played some outside, but was almost the quintessential "slot receiver". I think of Edelman in that vein.

Just curious: How many slot receivers have:

- 499 receptions
- 5390 yards
- 30 touchdowns
- 115 postseason receptions
- 1412 postseason yards
- 5 postseason touchdowns
- 3 Super Bowl rings
- 1 Super Bowl MVP

I bet the list is very very small. So small as to include just one player, I'd imagine. I don't think you need to be a HOFer to be on the list of "best ever". There is an all-time best ever punt or kickoff returner, or gunner on special teams, and that guy probably will not be in the NFL hall of fame.

And the postseason stuff matters. It's one reason why, for years, we argued that Brady was better than Manning even though Manning's regular season numbers - for many years - dwarfed Brady's.

If you guys make your own list and want to just eliminate the slot receiver, that's cool with me. Or if you want to put your own guy in there, that's also cool with me.
 

BaseballJones

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Just for fun...Edelman's last 11 playoff games:

W, 35-31 vs Bal: 8 rec, 74 yds, 0 td (one 51-TD pass thrown)
W, 45-7 vs Ind: 9 rec, 98 yds, 0 td
W, 28-24 vs Sea: 9 rec, 109 yds, 1 td
W, 27-20 vs KC: 10 rec, 100 yds, 0 td
L, 20-18 at Den: 7 rec, 53 yds, 0 td
W, 34-16 vs Hou: 8 sec, 137 yds, 0 td
W, 36-17 vs Pit: 8 rec, 118 yds, 1 td
W, 34-28 vs Atl: 5 rec, 87 yds, 0 td
W, 41-28 vs LAC: 9 rec, 151 yds, 0 td
W, 37-31 at KC: 7 rec, 96 yds, 0 td
W, 13-3 vs LAR: 10 rec, 141 yds, 0 td

TOT (11 games; 10 wins, 1 loss): 90 rec, 1164 yds, 2 td
AVG: 8.2 rec, 105.8 yds per game

Forget slot receiver. How many WRs have done THAT in the playoffs? Obviously there's much more to a player's profile than postseason success. Obviously. But let's make sure that when we evaluate Edelman, we do so taking this into account. Because he's been absolutely ridiculously productive in his postseason career.
 

Ale Xander

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Slot/Flanker WR Steve Largent
FB Tom Rathman
TB Barry Sanders
Edge Derrick Thomas
Traditional all around OLB Lawrence Taylor
MLB Dick Butkus
PR Eric Metcalf
KR Dante Hall
 
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InstaFace

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Ymmv and all that but over the top fanboyism makes this forum a worse place.
I was enjoying your post up until the point where you decided to be a dick to a guy who put a lot of thought into starting an interesting thread, for no reason. You made a case for another player - can't that case stand on its own, or do we also have to attack the person behind an opposing view?
 

SMU_Sox

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Yeah, I disagree with @BaseballJones too. Edelman is a z and slot guy. Also, I love the guy but he’s not a GOAT there.

I don’t agree with how he is getting attacked for it on a personal kind of level. No need for that imo. You can let someone know they might have come to the wrong or a bad conclusion without rubbing his nose in it. That’s all.

I’d have Welker over Edelman for slot greats.
 

rymflaherty

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In re: to Edelmn...Jarvis Landry has put up almost those same regular seasons numbers in 5 seasons...with crap Quarterbacks (most of the time).
He obviously doesn’t have the post-season numbers, but much of those are simply based on opportunity. Especially at a position like WR. I get those holding some importance, but when you place to much value on them, that’s the sort of faulty logic that winds up with people saying Eli Manning is an all-time great and Hall of Famer.

And that doesn’t even get into the fact that you can find legitimate sites that would qualify guys like Fitzgerald and Allen slot receivers, as well as younger talents like JuJu and Thielen. I’d take any of those guys, because they aren’t limited to one specific role. I also think the public perception of Edelman is hurt because of the narrative that the Patriots always have a productive guy like that in the slot. So even if he may be the best of them, there’s still going to be the prevailing thought that there’s a dozen guys in the league that could recreate that production if they played in that offense and with Brady.
 

Gunfighter 09

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-You can perhaps leave out one of Art Shell or Gene Upshaw, but not both. The right answer is just to put the two of them next to each other, where they belong. (Edit : yeah, this is wrong, Shell and Upshaw are just better than Hannah and Munoz, but Larry Allen is better than Upshaw. Shell and Allen are the correct answer)

-Deacon Jones is the second greatest defensive lineman in history. You have to find a position for him.

-I think it makes more sense to differentiate defensive ends rather than NT and DT. This is especially true because it gets the very worthy Charles Haley onto the list ahead of the not a HoFer Joe Klecko.

-Also, it seems really weird to have a slot receiver and not a slot or nickel corner. Essentially you have to have one of either Rod Woodson or Charles Woodson on this list, your pick, you know where I lean.

-If you are splitting teams, the 9ers deserve some Deon credit, the Raiders deserve some Rice credit, and the Texans some Lechler credit. Either a significant portion of your prime or a key role on a Super Bowl team should earn a team a credit split on a player.

- I like Emmit, Barry and Walter over Jim Brown. If longevity is the key consideration, you have to take Smith or Payton over Brown. If you are not penalizing for retiring early, than Sanders is the pick over Brown for me.

-Obviously, we should put Marcus Allen at Fullback. He played the position and is the greatest short yardage back in NFL history.
 
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E5 Yaz

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I think it makes more sense to differentiate defensive ends rather than NT and DT. This is especially true because it gets the very worthy Charles Haley onto the list ahead of the not a HoFer Joe Klecko.
Heck, Curly Culp is a far better pick for a NT than Klecko
 

bankshot1

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slot/flanker Lance Bambi Alworth

and fwiw Jim Brown was a fullback with the speed of a halfback and the size of a linebacker and the best running back in NFL history.
 

BaseballJones

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As I said in the OP: "There's no way that any two of us will agree on all these positions, never mind hundreds of us agreeing."
 

Al Zarilla

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slot/flanker Lance Bambi Alworth

and fwiw Jim Brown was a fullback with the speed of a halfback and the size of a linebacker and the best running back in NFL history.
Good to see the support for Jim Brown as the greatest. As great as Barry Sanders and Walter Payton were, Brown was it, but you see those other two sometimes. So, for those that put Tony Gonzalez ahead of Gronk for all time best because of stats, I’d like to point out that Brown “only” played 9 seasons, like Gronk, and there’s not a lot of dispute about Brown as GOAT running back. So, Gronk vs. Tony G and nobody else is close IMO.
 

InstaFace

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And the postseason stuff matters. It's one reason why, for years, we argued that Brady was better than Manning even though Manning's regular season numbers - for many years - dwarfed Brady's.
If that's so, then the likes of Hannah probably can't be considered a strong contender just on their individual merits, no?
 

E5 Yaz

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As I said in the OP: "There's no way that any two of us will agree on all these positions, never mind hundreds of us agreeing."
You need to step back from saying this and allow the thread to live or die on its own merits. The more times you interject in this fashion, the more it looks as though you're posting from a stance of being personally affronted.

You posted your team, people are responding with agreements/disagreements. That's how things go.
 

bankshot1

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Good to see the support for Jim Brown as the greatest. As great as Barry Sanders and Walter Payton were, Brown was it, but you see those other two sometimes. So, for those that put Tony Gonzalez ahead of Gronk for all time best because of stats, I’d like to point out that Brown “only” played 9 seasons, like Gronk, and there’s not a lot of dispute about Brown as GOAT running back. So, Gronk vs. Tony G and nobody else is close IMO.
In one respect Gronk reverted back to what the TE originally was (Ditka) basically an OL-that had good hands and decent speed. Gronk could flatten LB and was huge in the running game. Dude was a complete TE.

Re; Jim Brown, To me he was like Bobby Orr, watching those guys it was pretty obvious they were the best players and dominated the game.
 

simplyeric

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Don't we need to check in with Giselle on this one?
TB12 is probably great at most (if not quite all) of them.

missionary
cowboy
etc...
 

BaseballJones

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If that's so, then the likes of Hannah probably can't be considered a strong contender just on their individual merits, no?
Good point. But I think it's much harder to evaluate offensive linemen in this fashion. Partly because I know a lot less about how to evaluate linemen and also because there's not really statistics to look at. But yes, I hear you.
 

BaseballJones

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You need to step back from saying this and allow the thread to live or die on its own merits. The more times you interject in this fashion, the more it looks as though you're posting from a stance of being personally affronted.

You posted your team, people are responding with agreements/disagreements. That's how things go.
I'm just trying to acknowledge that it's cool for people to have different views than mine and that that's to be expected. But if that takes away from the thread, I'll refrain.
 

KiltedFool

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I'm just trying to acknowledge that it's cool for people to have different views than mine and that that's to be expected. But if that takes away from the thread, I'll refrain.
Perils of the text format, tone of voice and inflection doesn't come through, gives a bit of a defensive vibe.

And while yeah it was known from the start that not many people would agree with all or even a majority of your names, the vast majority of your names most posters seem to agree are at least in the discussion. I half thought you had stuck Edelman in there intentionally to trigger a bunch of back and forth, IMO there's a "one of these things is not like the other" seeing his name there. I wouldn't go to fanboy but there is some home cooking in that list. Agreed on Anderson over Vinatieri, and Ray Guy.

I actually don't agree with your tendency to only pick one at each position that there are two on the field, in some cases (OT) there's some variation between the two positions, in others it just makes the discussion richer. And there have always been shifty inside possession type receivers going back to the Smurfs and further, the role has always been there, the label has changed.

Similar to the meme tournament in P&G recently, it would be interesting to seed some GOAT threads for various positions, interesting discussions come out of those, especially comparing across eras, such as the much more physical corners decades ago, thinking about Blount and either Woodson against Sanders or Revis. Or offensive lines as a group. Lot more meat on that bone.
 

mwonow

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Slot/Flanker WR Steve Largent
FB Tom Rathman
TB Barry Sanders
Edge Derrick Thomas
Traditional all around OLB Lawrence Taylor
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PR Eric Metcalf
KR Dante Hall
I feel like you need to make room for Devin Hester in here somewhere. And while I'd be happy to defer final judgments to folks with deeper knowledge than I have, wouldn't Larry Csonka and maybe Reggie White or Mike Singletary be in a couple of these conversations?
 

BaseballJones

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I feel like you need to make room for Devin Hester in here somewhere. And while I'd be happy to defer final judgments to folks with deeper knowledge than I have, wouldn't Larry Csonka and maybe Reggie White or Mike Singletary be in a couple of these conversations?
In my OP I have White at DE. Singletary certainly is in the conversation for MLB but I went with Ray Lewis instead.
 

BaseballJones

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Perils of the text format, tone of voice and inflection doesn't come through, gives a bit of a defensive vibe.

And while yeah it was known from the start that not many people would agree with all or even a majority of your names, the vast majority of your names most posters seem to agree are at least in the discussion. I half thought you had stuck Edelman in there intentionally to trigger a bunch of back and forth, IMO there's a "one of these things is not like the other" seeing his name there. I wouldn't go to fanboy but there is some home cooking in that list. Agreed on Anderson over Vinatieri, and Ray Guy.

I actually don't agree with your tendency to only pick one at each position that there are two on the field, in some cases (OT) there's some variation between the two positions, in others it just makes the discussion richer. And there have always been shifty inside possession type receivers going back to the Smurfs and further, the role has always been there, the label has changed.

Similar to the meme tournament in P&G recently, it would be interesting to seed some GOAT threads for various positions, interesting discussions come out of those, especially comparing across eras, such as the much more physical corners decades ago, thinking about Blount and either Woodson against Sanders or Revis. Or offensive lines as a group. Lot more meat on that bone.
Yeah I thought about putting together a full 22 man roster (2 WRs, 2 RBs, etc) but refrained because the original conversation in the Gronk thread simply mentioned the best of all time at their respective positions. Typically they just talk about, for example, the best *WIDE RECEIVER* of all time, not differentiating. I went added the slot receiver not to make room for Jules, but rather because I think the evolution of the game has been such that it's a much different position than traditional WR. But I could be wrong about that.
 

E5 Yaz

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Sorry...I forgot that we went puritanical on this site. A pox on me and my prurient ways!
You dumped a game-thread level P&G post into a thread that is neither a game thread or in P&G.

You deserve what you get
 

Captaincoop

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I don't even agree with you on what the positions are, let alone who the GOATs are.

Slot receiver but no fullback? We're going with the last 10 years over the entire history of football there?
 

Kliq

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Give me Night Train Lane over Deion at CB; at least Night Train wasn't afraid to hit anybody:

 

sheamonu

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Hey - I started this over on the Gronk thread - didn’t even differentiate between guards and tackles. O-line, d-line TE, QB, RB, LB, corner, safety, WR, punter, kicker, coach.

Hannah
Greene
Gronk
Brady
Brown
LT
Lane
Lott
Rice
Guy
Vinatieri
I’m going back and forth between Brown and BB. Screw it - a decade of being a great positional/assistant coach gets BB the nod.

And I know it’s hard to not expand into specialities like “edge”, “slot” FB, etc. but think of it like haiku- minimizing focuses the mind.
 

Al Zarilla

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Give me Night Train Lane over Deion at CB; at least Night Train wasn't afraid to hit anybody:

Lane's hits were all time football porn because there were hardly any roughness clauses when he played and he didn't care. Mention Lane and you have to mention Emlen Tunnell. 79 career interceptions, second all time to Paul Krause.
 

SMU_Sox

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I feel like you need to make room for Devin Hester in here somewhere. And while I'd be happy to defer final judgments to folks with deeper knowledge than I have, wouldn't Larry Csonka and maybe Reggie White or Mike Singletary be in a couple of these conversations?
Punt Returner. He is probably the GOAT punt returner. CP84 is already close to be GOAT as a kick returner. I think he could finish his career as the GOAT kick returner.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Yeah I thought about putting together a full 22 man roster (2 WRs, 2 RBs, etc) but refrained because the original conversation in the Gronk thread simply mentioned the best of all time at their respective positions. Typically they just talk about, for example, the best *WIDE RECEIVER* of all time, not differentiating. I went added the slot receiver not to make room for Jules, but rather because I think the evolution of the game has been such that it's a much different position than traditional WR. But I could be wrong about that.
What struck me was that you distinguished WR from the slot role and the DT from the NT role but then left out other roles such as FB (which has become much less common in the evolution of the game but still exists as a distinct role) or slot CB which are probably as distinct as the roles you did distinguish.

As an aside, it did sound like you were also making an Edelman HOF case but IMO if you’re defining a position that narrowly it’s quite plausible that the GOAT at a given position isn’t even a Hall of Famer, just as there are no long snappers in the HOF.

For my money, if we do define the way slot WR has evolved as a distinct role, I’d say Hines Ward or Larry Fitzgerald is the GOAT over Edelman. But Fitzgerald makes it to the HOF only on the strength of his previous career, and I’m not sure Hines Ward will ever make it.
 

Michelle34B

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I'm not following this well either. Ronnie Lott was CB, then FS, SS later in his career.

  • Charley Culp is the only Nose Tackle in the hall of fame. Class of 2018.
  • GOAT 3rd down RB Marshall Faulk goal line, short yardage, didn't fumble much, pass blocking, pass catching. Kevin Faulk is the closest choice to someone that was a true 3DRB his whole career.
  • CB Albert Lewis GOAT at blocked punts. Underrated corner, and part of a great secondary group(that all played ST) for some bad Chiefs teams.
  • Johnny Hekker lost out (unfairly IMO) to Dickson for first team ALL-Pro. He has 4 firsts and two seconds. Ray Guy has 6 firsts and 2 seconds. He maintains this level for a couple more years and he will be the GOAT.
  • Bruce Smith is the GOAT 34 defensive end. You can make a case for him as GOAT DE.
  • In 1983, LT played inside when Harry Carson was hurt, and still was All-Pro. He played like a middle linebacker on the goal line most of the time, and excelled.
 

kolbitr

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I'm not following this well either. Ronnie Lott was CB, then FS, SS later in his career.

  • Charley Culp is the only Nose Tackle in the hall of fame. Class of 2018.
  • GOAT 3rd down RB Marshall Faulk goal line, short yardage, didn't fumble much, pass blocking, pass catching. Kevin Faulk is the closest choice to someone that was a true 3DRB his whole career.
  • CB Albert Lewis GOAT at blocked punts. Underrated corner, and part of a great secondary group(that all played ST) for some bad Chiefs teams.
  • Johnny Hekker lost out (unfairly IMO) to Dickson for first team ALL-Pro. He has 4 firsts and two seconds. Ray Guy has 6 firsts and 2 seconds. He maintains this level for a couple more years and he will be the GOAT.
  • Bruce Smith is the GOAT 34 defensive end. You can make a case for him as GOAT DE.
  • In 1983, LT played inside when Harry Carson was hurt, and still was All-Pro. He played like a middle linebacker on the goal line most of the time, and excelled.
LT is not really in question, is he? I wouldn't want to live with an All-NFL team that left out Lawrence Taylor.
 

garlan5

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Isaac Bruce was more of a pure slot reciever than Larry Fitz or Hines Ward.

also would like to make a case for Barry Sanders as goat rb. No line, no qb, not much of anything but his pure ability to elude and rack up yards. Emmitt had aHOF line and Brown likely played against a much weaker grade of competition. The 90s was bigger, faster, and full of roids on defense. I guess one could argue Sanders could have been juicing but he doesn't seem the type
 

Average Reds

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Ray Guy for Punter
Guy was so much better than every punter who came before him that he revolutionized the position. His career stats would probably make him an average to slightly below-average punter today, but were he to have the benefit of modern coaching/training/philosophy, it's hard for me to argue that he wouldn't have been the best.

Transformative, for sure.

Good to see the support for Jim Brown as the greatest.
Jim Brown is arguably the greatest athlete of all time.
 

Average Reds

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Give me Night Train Lane over Deion at CB; at least Night Train wasn't afraid to hit anybody:

Sanders was/is the greatest cover guy ever. (With Revis as a close #2, IMO.) But it's hard for me to argue that he was the best cornerback, for the simple reason that he did not tackle. And I'm not talking about the fact that he was a bad tackler. I mean he literally wouldn't tackle. He'd just throw a shoulder at ball carriers who came his way and that was it.

I'm partial to Charles Woodson - an outstanding cover man, a ferocious tackler and one of the best all-around defensive players ever.