Every team in the National Football League has that one player it would never let go of, whether that player is important to its offense or defense depending on what the team specializes in.
Quarterbacks always take precedent over other positions, though. The quarterback position is the hardest to fill with quality talent in the NFL, so when a team has its hands on a good to great signal-caller, you'd have to pry that QB from their cold, dead hands.
Skill position players can also be considered untouchable, although that's for the upper-echelon players who produce on a weekly basis, regardless of match ups. In order to top a quarterback, running backs and wide receivers must be elite playmakers who change their offense when on the field.
To a lesser extent, defensive players are also of the untouchable kind. Teams that lean on their defense like the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos have irreplaceable players on defense because their respective defenses are how they win games.
Once in a while you'll get a random position like an offensive lineman or tight end, but those are few and far between to say the least.
Let's take a look at each team in order to decide who on its roster is that one-of-a-kind talent that can't be replaced and will never be let go.
32 Arizona Cardinals - David Johnson
Taken in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, it didn't take Johnson long to make a mark on the Cardinals offense. After a late-season injury to fellow back Chris Johnson, David emerged as a star in his rookie season.
Johnson was a yardage machine down the stretch. He finished with 581 yards on the ground and an astonishing eight touchdowns to go along with 36 catches for 457 yards and an additional four touchdowns. Bear in mind, Johnson didn't get a full season as a starter and could have compiled one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history if he did.
The 24-year-old back is picking up where he left off this season and continues to be a lock for 100 total yards and a score each week. Johnson is that rare combination of explosiveness and toughness that many running backs can't match. He has also shown he can be a great two-way player as a fantastic pass-catching back.
31 Atlanta Falcons - Julio Jones
There are receivers and then there are guys like Jones, who is perennially near the top of the receiving yard leaderboards. In five total seasons in the NFL, Jones has hit 1,000 yards or more three times and would have hit that milestone every season of his career if not for injuries.
Jones' talent is one-of-a-kind and only comes around once in a generation. Not only does he have blazing speed, but Jones can run routes with the best of them and battle for jump balls with amazing success. What makes him even more amazing is that Jones is often battling injuries year in and year out, yet he still manages to play and put up great numbers.
30 Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco
Flacco may never put up huge numbers or be a Most Valuable Player candidate, but he has been more than effective for the Ravens during his time in Baltimore.
Flacco came into the league with a bit of hype; although fans and experts alike started coming down on the quarterback after he didn't seem to live up to expectations thanks to lackluster play.
29 Buffalo Bills - Stephon Gilmore
Head coach Rex Ryan's team has so many issues to speak of at the moment, however Gilmore remains one of the bright spots on a troubled team. Gilmore was the no. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and has since become one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL in Ryan's defense.
Gilmore was ranked as the no. 10 cornerback by Pro Football Focus last season and is in the discussion as a top-five corner in the league. In 2015 he finished with 18 passes defended, good enough for seventh in the league with more than guys like Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson.
28 Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton
Quarterbacks will always reign supreme when they are elite, and Newton certainly qualifies after he cemented his status as a top quarterback in the NFL. Newton was named the league's MVP in 2015 after throwing for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns, along with 636 yards on the ground and an additional 10 touchdowns.
To top it all off, Newton led the Panthers to a 15-1 season and a trip to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for head coach Ron Rivera, Newton was unable to come through in the big game and the Panthers dropped Super Bowl 50 to Denver's all-time great defense.
27 Chicago Bears - Alshon Jeffery
Head coach John Fox has his work cut out for him in rebuilding a Bears team that has been bad for years now, however at least he has one piece to build around on offense in Jeffery.
Jeffery started out his career as a sidekick to Brandon Marshall and did very well in that role with two 1,000-yard seasons lining up across the field from the veteran wideout. Now that Marshall has moved on to the Jets, Jeffery is the clear no. 1 receiver and best player on offense.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - A.J. Green
Another elite NFL receiver, Green is the go-to guy on the Bengals' offense, and that has continued right into the 2016 season. Since entering the NFL in 2011, Green has recorded at least 1,000 yards in every season, hitting double-digit touchdowns three times.
Green dealt with an injury in 2013 that forced him to miss three games but was still able to manage hitting the magical yardage milestone. His combination of size, speed and ball skills make Green a deadly receiver to opposing defenses and he's capable of putting up video game numbers the likes of which very few receivers in the NFL can.
25 Cleveland Browns - Joe Thomas
There isn't much to speak of on the Browns' lowly roster these days, so Thomas is the first one who comes to mind when you think about a special talent a team would consider untouchable.
Since entering the league in 2007, Thomas has represented Cleveland well as one of the best lineman in the league each and every season. In fact, Pro Football Focus ranks Thomas as the no. 1 lineman in the league and he has finished no worse than fifth every year.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Dak Prescott
The first name that comes to mind when you think untouchable is running back Ezekiel Elliot, who the Cowboys drafted with the no. 3 overall pick in the 2016 draft. But it's the guy who was drafted no. 135 overall that has supplanted him as a more important commodity.
Prescott is quickly blowing up in Dallas after getting off to a great start. All it takes is solid numbers and winning to become a star in Dallas and Prescott has done both. His poise as a rookie has been stunning and he isn't turning the ball over like a first-year player, either.
23 Denver Broncos - Von Miller
If you need proof of just how important the Broncos think Miller is, just look at his enormous contract. Before the start of 2016, Miller signed a six-year, $114.5 million deal that made him the richest defensive player in NFL history.
How did Miller earn that? By recording double-digit sacks in every season but one and becoming the best pass-rusher in the sport. Oh yeah, he also won MVP honors in Super Bowl 50 with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles that changed the game.
22 Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford
Short on elite talent, Stafford is easily the most untouchable player on the roster. Granted, he hasn't accomplished anything close to what his elite positional counterparts have throughout the league, but he's certainly been a second-tier talent.
Stafford looked to be on that truly elite level back in his sophomore season when he broke the 5,000-yard mark and threw for 41 scores. While he hasn't matched that production since, Stafford has gone for 4,200 yards or more in each of the past four seasons.
21 Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers was drafted back in 2005 in the first round by the Pack and sat for three full seasons behind Brett Favre before getting his chance. When the time came, Rodgers not only became a great quarterback for the Packers, he became an elite quarterback in the NFL.
In 2011, Rodgers cemented his status as a top QB when he won his first of two MVP awards after throwing for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Add to that a Super Bowl victory and a MVP in that game and you have a player who is in his own universe as a NFL quarterback.
20 Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins
The Texans put a lot of stock in Hopkins' skills when they drafted him in the first round back in 2013 needing a game-changing receiver. Houston's investment has already paid dividends as Hopkins is emerging as a top receiver in the NFL.
Hopkins flashed his talents during his rookie campaign when he topped 800 yards and scored two touchdowns on a horrific offense with even less talent behind center in Matt Schaub and Case Keenum.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck
The Colts and the rest of the football world figured Luck would be a superstar when he was drafted no. 1 overall back in 2012. Well, the neck beard hasn't disappointed at all and Luck has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
After breaking the NFL record for most passing yards by a rookie, Luck should have been voted Offensive Rookie of the Year but lost out to then Washington Redskins rookie signal-caller, Robert Griffin III. Luck didn't let it get him down and instead he went on to two more great seasons, with 2014 being his best after posting 4,761 yards through the air and 40 touchdowns.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Allen Robinson
On such a young and up-and-coming team there are several options to choose from; however Robinson takes the cake as the most untouchable. Robinson is a dynamic receiver with great hands and a knack for big plays that rival some of the best at his position.
The 23-year-old broke out for 1,400 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign, proving he was an elite target for quarterback Blake Bortles. The touchdown machine hasn't stopped chugging this season and Robinson looks set for another great year despite a slow start thanks to Bortles' struggles.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Spencer Ware
For years the Chiefs have been an anemic passing attack with quarterback Alex Smith behind center, so the running back position has been of vital importance to the Chiefs in that time.
Jamaal Charles used to be the guy carrying the weight of the Chiefs' world on his shoulders and he did a great job in that role until he tore his ACL in 2015. In his stead, Ware became a serious weapon for the Chiefs and filled Charles' shoes perfectly as a two-way back who could be a workhorse and make plays.
16 Los Angeles Rams - Todd Gurley
The Rams certainly took a chance drafting Gurley, who was recovering from a torn ACL injury, with the no. 10 overall pick in 2015. Despite his knee injury, the Rams like many teams saw superstar potential in the Georgia product.
Gurley lived up to expectations after missing the first three games of 2015. After being eased in for his first contest, Gurley went on a mad tear the next four games with 128 yards or more on the ground in each, with three total touchdowns. He went on to finish with almost 1,300 total yards, 10 touchdowns, and an Offensive Rookie of the Year award with absolutely zero talent around him.
15 Miami Dolphins - Jarvis Landry
The Dolphins are another one of those teams that don't have much game-breaking talent on the roster, making Landry the obvious choice as Miami's best and most irreplaceable star. Landry does most of his damage in the slot as opposed to on the outside, but that hasn't stopped him from putting up big numbers and making big plays.
Landry's breakout year came last season when he posted a career-high in receiving yards with 1,157. A pretty impressive season considering Landry had Ryan Tannehill throwing him the football. Just imagine what Landry could do if he wasn't limited with a subpar player behind center.
14 Minnesota Vikings - Anthony Barr
Minnesota has put an added emphasis on defense while building its current roster and Anthony Barr is the face of that defense. Not only is he a rock for his teammates as the leader of the unit, he's also the team's best player now that running back Adrian Peterson and QB Teddy Bridgewater are on the shelf with serious injures.
Barr has 138 tackles and 7.5 sacks in two seasons in the NFL and he was voted to his first Pro Bowl game in 2015. Barr is the total package as a linebacker and is one of the premier 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL.
13 New England Patriots - Tom Brady
Anybody who thinks head coach Bill Belichick will kick Brady to the curb for Jimmy Garoppolo or any other quarterback of that ilk, think again. Brady is here to stay and won't be leaving until his arm falls off or he retires.
Brady's resume is already well known. Four Super Bowl wins in six tries, two NFL MVPs, three Super Bowl MVPs and one of just five quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season.
12 New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees
Brees is another NFL quarterback still playing at a high level in the final stage of his career, making him the undisputed most important player on head coach Sean Payton's roster.
It's really no surprise, as Brees has been putting up Madden numbers since joining the Saints back in 2006. Four seasons of 5,000 yards or more and a Super Bowl makes Brees the greatest player in Saints history. Like Luck, Brees is also saddled with a lackluster roster most seasons and Payton's defensive unit is normally ranked among the league's worst every season.
11 New York Giants - Odell Beckham Jr.
To think Beckham Jr. was passed up 11 times before being taken as the no.12 overall pick by the Giants in 2014 is mind-boggling. Beckham Jr. made teams regret their decision very quickly after posting over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games his rookie season.
Beckham Jr. improved on his numbers in 2015 by posting over 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Giants. On top of his insane numbers week-to-week, Beckham Jr. has also made incredible catches along the way that have him showing up on highlight reels regularly.
10 New York Jets - Brandon Marshall
On a team that relied on its passing attack last season, Marshall was the man. The veteran receiver revived his career in New York after having his fair share of issues in Chicago and he did so by posting a career-best 14 receiving touchdowns. His 1,502 receiving yards were just six short of his career-high.
It's no coincidence that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had his best statistical season with Marshall—and to a lesser extent Eric Decker—on the roster. Marshall was more important because it was he who was more consistent making big-chunk gains and helping the Jets most when needing to move the ball down the field.
9 Oakland Raiders - Derek Carr
This was one of the closest races on the list, but Carr gets the nod over receiver and future star, Amari Cooper, who was among the best rookies to take the field last year.
Carr gave the Raiders' fan base new hope in 2014 when he had a solid rookie season with 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns. Carr took the next step in 2015, when he improved on his passing yards (3,987) and touchdowns (32). It was the first season in a long time that the Raiders were relevant, especially behind center.
8 Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz
Wentz had plenty of uncertainty entering the league as the Eagles' pick at no. 2 overall. Experts had Jared Goff as the no. 1 overall pick and the better option for the Rams, which is quickly turning out to be a false prediction.
The Eagles are flying out to a great start in 2016 and Wentz has been a huge part of it. Philly has woken up defensively and is playing the best football it has in years, with Wentz looking like the franchise QB the Eagles hoped they were getting. On the flip side of that coin, Goff hasn't even taken a snap in the NFL yet and wasn't able to beat out fellow quarterback Case Keenum for the starting job in L.A.
7 Pittsburgh Steelers - Ben Roethlisberger
In many circles, Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the game and you'll never sound stupid saying that. Regardless, it's Roethlisberger who gets him the ball deep or in spots he can get yards after the catch to help make Brown the superstar he is. Can we talk about Le'Veon Bell also? I guess, however just remember how great DeAngelo Williams was in the same role while Bell was suspended.
The Steelers quarterback showed his importance more than ever in 2015 when Roethlisberger went down with an injury, forcing him to miss four games during the season. Without Big Ben, Brown's production fell off a cliff and he understandably wasn't the same receiver with the likes of Michael Vick and Landry Jones playing quarterback.
6 San Diego Chargers - Keenan Allen
When on the field, Allen is the Chargers' no. 1 receiver and among the better wideouts in the entire league. His rookie season was a great sign of things to come with Allen breaking 1,000 yards through the air and scoring eight touchdowns.
Allen took a step back in 2014 with a subpar season, but was able to return strong in 2015 with 67 receptions for 725 yards and four touchdowns in just eight games. Sadly for Allen he suffered a lacerated kidney in Week 8 that forced him to miss the remainder of what was shaping up to be a monster season. The 2016 campaign was supposed to be the year that Allen finally cemented his elite status. In his first game Allen was well on his way to doing just that when he racked up six catches for 67 yards in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs.
5 San Francisco 49ers - NaVorro Bowman
For as bad as they are, the Niners do have a few options for their most untouchable player. You could argue for Carlos Hyde, however Bowman still takes it despite suffering two major injuries in three seasons, with his latest coming in 2016 with a torn Achilles.
Bowman is the heart and soul of the Niners defense and is an elite linebacker when on the field. He earned All-Pro honors in 2015 and led the league in tackles just one season after tearing his ACL and MCL.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Russell Wilson
The true definition of a dual-threat quarterback, Wilson has become the face of the franchise for the Seahawks. After beating out quarterback Matt Flynn for the starting job in his rookie season, Wilson hasn't looked back since and has established himself as a top signal-caller in the NFL.
Wilson's 2015 season was by far his best, proving he is still getting better and better each season. After a slow start, Wilson turned on the jets and finished with over 4,000 yards passing for the first time in his career, with a career-high 34 passing touchdowns.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans
Evans' ability as a big-time receiver came to light in his first season in the NFL. The 23-year-old amassed over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Bucs, and that was with guys like Josh McCown and Mike Glennon behind center.
While his touchdown totals took a nosedive the following season with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston throwing the football, Evans was able to reach 1,206 yards, improving on his rookie output. There's no doubt Evans has helped Winston progress into a pretty good quarterback by making his job a lot easier.
2 Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota
The Titans are focusing their rebuild around quarterback Marcus Mariota and so far the results are pretty mixed for the Oregon product.
Mariota was forced to miss four games of his rookie season due to injury, but showed flashes of brilliance when healthy. He finished just shy of 3,000 yards passing and added 252 yards on the ground for 21 total touchdowns. Things haven't gone as well in 2016 for the sophomore signal-caller, as Mariota's completion percentage is down and he has become a turnover machine to start the season.
1 Washington Redskins - Jordan Reed
The talent was always there for Reed, he just needed to stay healthy. In his first two seasons, Reed missed a total of 12 games and looked primed to be a guy who spends every week on the injury report.
Reed put an end to that last season when he stayed healthy enough to play in 14 games while totaling 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. After that, Reed is now in the discussion as one of the best tight ends in the NFL.
The Redskins' tight end continues to make plays this season and could easily reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career if he can put in a full season. As the best weapon Washington has on offense, Reed is one of those rare talents at tight end who is a reliable and explosive target in the passing game.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!