Troy Polamalu: 63rd
Troy Polamalu is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, and there’s no taking that away from him. While I think he could have been higher on this list, I understand the reasoning.
Polamalu’s career ended in 2014, so there were five years of this decade that he didn’t even play. Here is Monson’s reasoning behind Polamalu’s selection to the All-Decade team:
"63. S TROY POLAMALU Polamalu hasn’t played since 2014, but he was right in the middle of his prime at the start of the decade. He was the epitome of a game-changing safety who could line up all over the field, play the run, rush the passer, drop into coverage and disguise his intentions as late as possible with an incredible feel for where he needed to be. Polamalu ranked ninth in the NFL in PFF grade in 2010 before ranking first in 2011, 10th in 2012 and seventh in 2013 before tapering off in his final season in 2014. Few safeties could impact the game at all levels of the field like Polamalu, making him a unique Hall of Fame-caliber player who was still among the league’s best at the start of the 2010s."
During his time, Polamalu was the best in the business. Even in the back-half of his career, Polamalu made two All-Pros and three Pro Bowls from 2010-2014. He finished his career as a two-time Super Bowl winner and Defensive Player of the Year award winner.
The safeties ahead of him on this list include Eric Weddle (15th), Earl Thomas (20th), Harrison Smith (22nd), Devin McCourty (26th), and Kam Chancellor (55th).