The nose tackle is a unique species in sport. He’s the beast in the middle of your television screen on Sundays, looking less athlete than season ticket holder to a casino buffet. His inauspicious job is to occupy as many blockers as possible so that his teammates might roam free to glory. Yet Linval Joseph is a species unto himself. Though he weighs in at 329 pounds, he’s stunningly agile for a big man. Add to this a Herculean strength — teammate Alex Boone calls him the “strongest man alive” — and he’s become one of the best interior linemen in football. The evidence is in the stats: a combined 77 tackles last season in a job specifically designed not to produce fat stats. He also made his first Pro Bowl.
Readers’ Choice: Harrison Smith