Former Badgers Watt, Thomas among 8 unanimous picks for NFL All-Decade Team

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Joe Thomas and J.J. Watt are among eight unanimous selections to the 2010s NFL All-Decade Team announced Monday by the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Watt was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011 after spending two years in Madison where he compiled 106 tackles and 11.5 sacks while earning All-American and All-Big Ten recognition.

The Waukesha, Wisconsin native has been voted the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times, while leading the league in sacks twice and earning five first-team All-Pro and five Pro Bowl selections.

Thomas graduated from Wisconsin in 2006 after leading the Badgers to a 12-1 season including a Capital One Bowl victory. Thomas also earned the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior lineman that year along with being named a first-team All-American.

Thomas went on to spend his entire 11-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns.

The Brookfield, Wisconsin native voted first-team All-Pro seven times and earned Pro Bowl honors ten times.

Aaron Rodgers shares being the All-Decade Team's quarterback with Tom Brady, who was also a unanimous selection.

Also chosen on every ballot of the 48-member Hall of Fame selection committee are Adrian Peterson, Von Miller, Aaron Donald, Marshal Yanda and Justin Tucker. All but offensive tackle Joe Thomas and guard Marshal Yanda are active.

The 55-member team is comprised only of players who made an AP All-Pro team, a Pro Bowl or a Pro Football Writers of America all-conference squad from 2010-19. Four of the unanimous players — Brady, Miller, Yanda and Tucker — won Super Bowls during the decade.

Seattle has the most honorees with five: linebacker Bobby Wagner, safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, running back Marshawn Lynch and coach Pete Carroll.

Brady is joined at quarterback by another NFL champion, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. Brady, of course, took three of his six Super Bowl victories during the decade with New England, going 141-42 overall, and recently left the Patriots as a free agent for Tampa Bay.

Rodgers went 112-63-2 in the decade winning Super Bowl XLV and MVP honors in that game as well. Rodgers was voted league MVP twice, in 2011 and 2014 while earning seven Pro Bowl selections during that span.

Peterson, the only non-quarterback to win MVP honors in the 10-season span, is accompanied by Lynch, Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy in the backfield. Darren Sproles is the flex player — and one of the punt returners.

Calvin Johnson, who becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, is joined by Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Brown at wideout. The tight ends are Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce.

Along with Thomas, the tackles are Jason Peters, Joe Staley and Tyron Smith. Yanda’s fellow guards are Zack Martin, Logan Mankins and Jahri Evans. Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey are the centers.

Up front on defense with end Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and tackle Donald are ends Calais Campbell, Cam Jordan and Julius Peppers, tackles Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox and Ndamukong Suh.

Wagner’s and Miller’s mates at linebacker are recently retired Luke Kuechly, Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones, and Patrick Willis.

The three cornerbacks are Sherman, Darrelle Revis and Patrick Peterson. Safeties are Earl Thomas, Eric Weddle and Eric Berry. Selected as defensive backs, in recognition of slot cornerbacks and other versatile players in the secondary, are Chris Harris Jr., and Tyrann Mathieu.

Harris and former teammate Miller — Harris left the Broncos for the Chargers this offseason — both entered the NFL in 2011. Now they are together on the All-Decade squad.

“It’s an honor and a great feeling to make the All-Decade Team with Von,” said Harris, who was an undrafted free agent in 2011. “He’s definitely worked extremely hard to get it. We came into the league together and he’s one of those staple guys who have been great from the moment they stepped onto the football field and are still amazing. To get this honor with Von is a great feeling.”

Tucker is joined by Stephen Gostkowski as placekickers. Shane Lechler and Johnny Hekker are the punters. Tyreek Hill and Sproles are the punt returners, while kickoff returners are Cordarrelle Patterson and Devin Hester.

Carroll and Bill Belichick are the coaches.