2015 All-Movement Team: Defense & Special Teams

Defensive Line/End

General Movement Qualities Evaluated: First-step explosive burst, Ability to move rapidly change direction to move laterally to track down ball carriers

First Team: Khalil Mack (Raiders)

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders

– Versatile; some will say I cheated my list a bit by listing Mack as a DE but being that he earned All-Pro honors from the position (along with OLB) I felt okay with it! Besides, Mack is so athletic & versatile enough to be used just about anywhere in the first two levels of the defense and to be equally as effective

– Virtuous; is able to use a wide variety of movement strategies and motor solutions (i.e. biomechanics) to overcome a wide variety of problems. This quality led to opposing players having a hard time corralling him no matter what they seemed to try.

– Gas pedal; his biggest movement attribute is his explosive first step in any direction whether he’s coming out of his stance or if he needs to change direction

– Biomechanical efficiency; plays with a naturally low center of gravity, keeps his lead leg coiled in acceleration, will attack the ground enabling his body to use a tremendous amount of energy

Check out Mack in action here:


Second Team: Michael Bennett (Seahawks)

Third Team (tie): Everson Griffen (Vikings), Aaron Donald (Rams) & JJ Watt (Texans)

Inside Linebacker

General Movement Qualities Evaluated: First step explosiveness in all directions, Ability to rapidly cover ground laterally

First Team: Eric Kendricks (Vikings)

jea 1204 vikings vs seattle

– Headturning; this pick will likely come as a surprise to many of our readers as I think some are still in the dark regarding his playmaking ability. However, having had the opportunity to watch him week-by-week throughout this season, I am confident putting Kendricks ahead of guys the likes of Bowman, Kuechly, and Bobby Wagner

– Instinctual; watch Kendricks for one game…heck, one quarter or half (or even one drive), and you will immediately see a player with tremendous instincts who when he trusts these instincts is able to make plays that a rookie LB has no business making

– Explosive; when his intention is there and he makes the decision to go, he absolutely shoots out of any position in any direction. This explosiveness is transported to the field by coiled body positions (though when fatigued he does have a tendency to start playing with a little higher center of gravity that must be corrected to ensure performance level remains high and he doesn’t risk injury)

– Relentless; if #54 is on the field, you will know it because he will end up on your screen. Kendricks has a non-stop motor and a true aggressive mean streak

– Huge upside; obviously only a rookie and I saw maturity & evolution week by week (with the exception of a few game lull possibly due to a bit of a rookie wall and/or being hampered by some nagging injuiries)

Watch these college highlights of Kendricks here (sorry; couldn’t find a long enough highlight video of him at the Vikings):


Second Team: NaVorro Bowman (49ers)

Third Team: Luke Kuechly (Panthers)

Outside Linebackers

General Movement Qualities Evaluated: Accelerative burst, Deceleration/Cutting ability to be able to stop quickly to reaccelerate while tracking ball carriers

First Team: Von Miller (Broncos)


– Diversity in dynamics; Miller can be moving linearly on a line and then all of a sudden out of nowhere will drop his COG, throw his foot out wide to plant with a wider BOS, and drive in a powerful fashion

– Mastery; has achieved a high level of mastery & understanding of his body in relation to the common problems of the tasks that he is faced with. As noted on last year’s All-Movement Team, he has unique response ability when reacting to opponent’s movement in space and is able to put his body into optimal position based on offensive player behaviors

– Graceful; it’s often difficult to characterize a defensive football player as graceful but watching Miller move in slow-mo/frame-by-frame is something that allows one to understand the true intricacies of his brilliance in movement. Here you can see the connection between his understanding of the game, his sense of his own body in orchestration with his opponent(s), and the violent power of his biomechanics

– Attacking; watch his lead leg in his first and second step (either out of his 3 point stance or a stand-up position) and you will see a limb that jackhammers back in an attacking, violent fashion

Check out Von Miller doing his thing on this video here:


Second Team: Anthony Barr (Vikings)

Honorable Mention: KJ Wright (Seahawks)


General Movement Qualities Evaluated: Mastery of body position & control (especially during cover situations), Movement speed in multiple planes, Athleticism while ball in the air (leaping ability, tracking, kinesthetic awareness, etc)

First Team: Josh Norman (Panthers)


– Anticipation & Perception; he has the ability to read & recognize behavioral nuances of his opponent (which is very diverse among the individuals that he faces). This quality allows him to break on balls and/or moving receivers at the right time and place.

– Kinesthetic sense & awareness; this is especially true when a ball is in the air (whether it’s on a rope or thrown with more air underneath it). Norman knows not only how to position his body in relation to his goal but also in reaction to his opponent’s movement actions.

– Technically sound; not the biggest, fastest, or most explosive CB playing the game. However, where he does excel is in his technical proficiency (especially in & out of his backpedal) which takes advantage of the physical qualities he does possess and puts them to use in very sport functional fashions which allows him to adequately solve the majority of movement problems he is faced with

– Offensive; can be dangerous once he has a ball in his hands. Like so many of the great defensive backs of all time, he has movement tendencies like an offensive player looking to make a game changing play at all times.

– Authentic swagger & fire; some will criticize his antics at times however being authentic is one of those qualities which allows him to do what he does and he backs up his behaviors & words by matching up with some of the best WRs that the game has to offer

Not familiar with Josh Norman? Take a peek at this video to get more acquainted:


Second Team: Patrick Peterson (Cardinals)

Third Team: Marcus Peters (Chiefs)


General Movement Qualities Evaluated: 360 degree movement ability (acceleration, stopping, changing direction), Movement speed to snipe guys from anywhere in the field in both aspects of the game, Athleticism while ball in the air (leaping ability, tracking, kinesthetic awareness, etc)

First Team: Earl Thomas (Seahawks)


-Best of the best; still the cream of the crop for movement qualities as it pertains to the Safety position. Our 2014 Mover of the Year (at all positions) has movement proficiency that is truly special (but will it be enough to be our Mover of the Year for a 2nd year in a row?)

– Range, range, range; due to a combination of his top-end speed and his reading/recognition, no play anywhere on the field is too daunting or out of Earl’s range. If the play is still going, and the whistle has not been blown yet, Earl can still get to it

– Masterful & diverse; not only will you rarely see Earl get out of position but if you key in on him during any Seahawks game, you will also see that he can move under a variety of demands & situations and is able to match optimal movement mechanics to what the given problem requires (i.e. watch him decelerate under a multitude of situations)

– Burst; when Earl makes the decision to attack something he sees (or someone) in the environment, he is coming in a blink and a hurry. He uses superb but authentic acceleration mechanics

If you watch this short video I think you will get an idea as to why Earl was last year’s top Mover:


Second Team: Tyrann Mathieu (Cardinals)

Third Team: Reggie Nelson (Bengals)

Kick Returner

General Movement Qualities Evaluated: Top end speed (mechanics & ability), Curvilinear running ability (mechanics & speed), Open-field decision-making

First Team: Tyler Lockett


– Blazing; real, real, REAL fast in the open field and this speed is attained in just a few rapid steps once he makes the decision to put the pedal to the floor

– Crafty; will set guys up in space in front of him for changing direction. This skill & quality is usually something that takes years to develop & acquire but Lockett is already well on this way with this special ability (i.e. check out his crossover cutting mechanics in the open field on the video below)

– Technically proficient; fantastic midrange to top end speed mechanics with little energy dissipation

Take a peek at what this rookie has done in his short period of time in the League:


Second Team: Ameer Abdullah (Lions)

Punt Returner

General Movement Qualities Evaluated: Stopping in multiple biomechanical positions, Movement strategy use in chaotic conditions, Rapid acceleration

First Team: Tavon Austin


– Stopping on dime; 1 of the most efficient decelerators in the game (due rapid eccentric loading ability and ability to preload upon ground contact response)

– Diverse; can use multiple movement strategies and solutions namely in regards to cutting (in both in tight spaces as well as in open areas)

– Evolved; as noted in one of our Movement Plays of the Week this season, his patience & understanding of the typical movement problems presented to him in the game have allowed him to begin using movement solutions that a year or two again he never would have

– Explosive; is able to hit high relative speeds in short periods of time

Check Tavon out here:


Second Team: Dwayne Harris (Giants)


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