Every NFL team has a series of superstars on both offense and defense who steal the limelight, but in order for a team to be successful, they need quality starters at every position and strong reserves/role players.
Often, it’s those role players who are ultimately the difference between a championship run or a story about what could have been.
Here’s a look at every NFL team’s key role player.
Arizona Cardinals – John Brown, wide receiver
This spot could have just as easily have gone to wide receiver J.J. Nelson, but John Brown has been an under-the-radar gem for the Cardinals several years running. He finished fourth on the team in all purpose yards (697) in 2016 despite starting only six games, and did his damage through the air, on the ground and returning both kicks and punts. Unfortunately he is currently being limited by a quad injury.
Atlanta Falcons – Adrian Clayborn, defensive end
After starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over four seasons, Adrian Clayborn joined the Falcons as a reserve and like many others on defense, plays a key role. A rotational defensive end with quality experience, Clayborn recorded 7.5 sacks with Atlanta over his first two seasons and provides a solid third-and-long option. The 29-year-old has one sack this season, and made his presence felt with a big hit on Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.