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Tom Brady, Jim Brown, Jerry Rice Named GOAT NFL QB, RB, WR in ESPN Expert Poll

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A listing of the greatest ever at each NFL position is for certain to generate a lot of debate, but Tom Brady and Jerry Rice have separated themselves as clear top options within their roles.

ESPN‘s staff held a survey of 50 experts, reporters and analysts naming the very best at each position in NFL history. Brady was the runaway winner at quarterback with 44 votes, while Rice earned 45 votes because the best receiver ever.

There is more uncertainty at running back, but Jim Brown took the very best spot with 23 votes. Rob Gronkowski was named the very best tight end, while Anthony Munoz, Larry Allen and Mike Webster got probably the most votes at tackle, guard and center, respectively.

The defense and special teams positions will undoubtedly be named on Wednesday.

Rice received probably the most votes at any offensive position, only ceding four to Randy Moss and something to Don Hutson.

“He’s the no-brainer of most no-brainers,” ESPN’s Rich Cimini said. “Rice could’ve stopped playing after 11 years (he finished up playing 20), and his receiving yardage total still would’ve been sufficient for third on the all-time list (16,377). To paraphrase Bill Parcells, he visited Canton on roller skates.”

Joe Montana (four votes) and Peyton Manning (two votes) were the only real other nominees in the quarterback category, although most gave it to Brady along with his seven Super Bowl titles.

As Evan Kaplan of ESPN Stats and Info noted, “you can argue he’s got a Hall of Fame resume in two different decades.” With two MVP awards and four championships in the initial 1 / 2 of his career and four titles and something more MVP in the next half, Brady has clearly been probably the most successful quarterback in league history.

There have been more quality choices at running back, with the all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith only getting three votes. Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson and LaDainian Tomlinson all got consideration aswell, nonetheless it was Brown who earned probably the most votes.

The former Cleveland Browns star was truly dominant in his era, leading the NFL in rushing yards in eight of his nine seasons. He won three MVP awards, assisting to separate himself from the field.

At tight end, there is a hardcore call between Gronkowski and Tony Gonzalez, but voters narrowly gave the edge to the former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers player. Injuries slowed up Gronk’s career, but he was still on four Super Bowl teams and was as effective as anyone ever sold when he was on the field, both as a blocker and receiver.

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