A lot of NFL players flash production from time to time. You'll see them on the plays of the week, but then they disappear and you cannot count on them consistently. The 25 guys on my 2016 All-Grinders Team heading into the season have never been named to the Pro Bowl, but every one of them is a day-to-day, down-to-down producer. These are disciplined, tough and often overlooked players -- many from humbler backgrounds.
The league is filled with guys who were drafted for their potential. Coaches can't play potential. They need production. They need reliability. These Grinders deliver, and it's time they finally get their due.
QB: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Cousins wasn't highly recruited to Michigan State or highly drafted to Washington, but he has proved himself at every turn, setting records in the process. Cousins' preparation, commitment and day-to-day grind are going to get him to a new contract.
RB: James Starks, Green Bay Packers
Starks is the best running back in Packers history whom people never hear about. He picks up blitzes, he catches it well -- he can do it all.
RB (third down): Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions
I've been making training tapes of halfback routes my whole life. Riddick is the star of these tapes. He might be the best route-running back in football -- and he showed why on Sunday with 63 receiving yards and a touchdown.