One Man Gang Members

One Man Gang Members

Steve Tasker and Ron Wolfley are just a couple of men you may or may not know, who had long successful NFL careers, and not because of their contributions on offense or defense, but because of their ability to play Special Teams at an All Pro level.  I would argue that they deserve to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. They've set the standard for all the great Special Teamers, or “transitional technicians” as Wolfley describes it, currently in the NFL.

A transitional technician, in most cases, is a non returner and plays all four phases: punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return.  They're usually backups or have a minor role on defense or offense, and except for tackles, the majority of their stats aren't recorded but significantly impact the game.

But just as Tasker and Wolfley have been overshadowed by offensive and defensive stars, many transitional technicians of my era don't get the credit they deserve either. Each year, two players get the nod to take part in the Pro Bowl for their Special Teams production and never get a mention for being a top 100 NFL player, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say there won't be one core special teamer on this year’s list either.  But what about Devin Hester and Jacoby Jones? Sure they were recognized in 2012 and 2013 respectively, but I consider them to be great returners, not transitional technicians.

This year I have decided to come up with my favorite 10 NFL transitional technicians. The men on the this list make big plays, big hits and set the tone, so without further ado, here is the 2016 season One Man Gang Members.

  1. Roosevelt Nix - A rookie fullback who made his presence felt with his physical play on kickoff and punt coverage units. Reminds me of former Washington Redskin Mike Sellers. One of the few guys during my career who has dropped the boom on me.

nix

  1. D.J. Alexander - A young athletic and physical Linebacker, which makes him a difficult matchup for most teams in the NFL. Played with his hair on fire destroying everything in his way en route to the ball. Did a great job blocking in the return game as well.

alexander

  1. Eric Weems - One of the best perimeter players since entering the NFL, and until Atlanta signed Devin Hester, was a strong and effective Kickoff returner. As a guy who played in the wedge, I always had to keep an eye out for Weems because he was going to be rolling off the backside.

weems

  1. Dwayne Harris - A good returner and coverage player who is aggressive and physical. Always looked forward to Dallas week mainly because I knew he was going to try and do damage.

harris

  1. Colt Anderson - Mr. Dependable! Always around the ball and does a good job in the return game as blocker. The type of guy that you don’t appreciate until he’s gone. We had some great battles back in our NFC East days. Excited about playing together.

anderson

  1. Cedric Peerman - I’ve always respected Cedric as a transitional technician, but being in the AFC last year and watching more film of him, I got a real understanding of what he brings to the table on a weekly basis.  He’s built low to the ground, strong and fast, making him a matchup nightmare.

peerman

  1. Johnson Bademosi - Took his game to another level this year by making what seemed like every play on kickoff and punt coverage. Even though he is a Stanford guy, I have a lot of respect for his game.

bademosi

  1. Darrell Stuckey - One of the toughest players to block in the NFL because of his great pad level and balance.  Even when you think you have him blocked, he finds a way to escape and make the tackle.

stuckey

  1. Justin Bethel - Even with an increased role on defense, he was still dominant on special teams. Utilizing his speed and cat-like quickness, he is still arguably the best coverage player in the NFL.

bethel

  1. Matthew Slater - The best gunner in the NFL and perennial Pro Bowler. Commands double and triple teams and still finds ways to make plays on punt and kickoff coverage.

slater

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