The first half of the 2015 season is in the books. Several players have stood out, but here are the ones who deserve the most accolades.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: His 44 catches put him on pace for another 90-catch season, but the big thing this year is getting downfield. He is averaging a career-high 15.8 yards a reception.
Richie Incognito, Buffalo Bills: It helps that he's not a right guard, a position that has stars such as Marshal Yanda, Zack Martin, Kevin Zeitler and others, but Incognito re-established himself as a top guard after being out last season.
Patrick DiMarco, Atlanta Falcons: DiMarco is on the field more than any other fullback (22.8 plays a game), and his impact as a blocker has allowed Devonta Freeman to rush for 721 yards in nine games.
Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers: Short has emerged as one of the most dominating interior presences in the league for the Panthers' 4-3 defense. He's been a force.
Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks: It's hard pinning down a position for him because he lines up at every spot along the defensive line. But it's easy putting him on this list with his 6.5 sacks and numerous disruptive plays.
DeMarcus Ware, Denver Broncos: Surprisingly, sack numbers for 3-4 outside linebackers were down in the first half of the season. Ware leads the group with 6.5 in seven games on a Broncos defense geared for speed and sacks.
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers: He earns every dollar as the highest-paid inside linebacker in the game. He's a leader and a tackling machine.
K.J. Wright, Seattle Seahawks: Wright, Thomas Davis of the Panthers and Jamie Collins of the Patriots are among the best coverage linebackers in football. Wright had the slight edge in the first half.
Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers: Norman was smart in turning down early offers to sign him. He has emerged as a No. 1 corner with four interceptions.
Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots: He had a perfect first half, going 19-for-19 on field goals and 31-for-31 on extra points, edging Josh Brown of the New York Giants, who made all 19 of his field goals but missed an extra point.
Sam Koch, Baltimore Ravens: Koch averaged 49.4 yards per punt and had an incredible 45.6-yard net in the first half.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks: With no returner with more than 19 returns, the numbers don't really stand out. Dwayne Harris of the Giants had the best average (33 yards), but on only 13 returns. I'll give the nod to Lockett, who had a 25.4-yard kickoff return average and one touchdown. (He also had one punt return for a score.) Only four kickoffs have been returned for touchdowns this year.