|Torrey Smith, Super Bowl celebration from @torreysmithwr|
Think again football fans -- Instagram is an excellent way to supplement your football fandom. Many NFL players are using IG to share behind the scenes looks at life as a pro player. Hundreds of players are on IG including some of the top names in the game. And flipping through Instagram is easy on your smartphone. It is the perfect activity during annoying commercials.
You can also follow all of the NFL teams on Instagram but I have not included them here because it is very easy to do a search on IG and find the official account for your favorite team.
I am starting this week with some of the top Offensive Players to follow on Instagram. I will publish a second article next week with the top Defensive Players to follow. I have put a lot of research into finding these players IG accounts because there are not verified accounts like on Twitter. I hope you enjoy the article and follow many of these offensive players to enhance your NFL experience.
NOTE: Players are in alpha order by category. Please don't be offended if you could not find your favorite player, it probably means they do not have or are not active on IG.
There are not a lot of NFL Quarterbacks on Instagram, but luckily some of the most exciting young QBs are there:
|Kaepernick with Desean Jackson from @kaepernick7|
Few NFL stories last season were as compelling as Colin's. Taking over the team in Week 10 after an injury to Alex Smith, Kaepernick and the 49ers got on a roll that ended with them losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. This will be Colin's first full year as a starter and the future is looking very bright in SF.
160 photos 625,000 followers
Matt Hasselback (Indianapolis Colts)
A long-time NFL starter for the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans, Matt is now the backup in Indy and helping to mentor Andrew Luck in his QB role. Going into his 15th season in the NFL, Hasselback is the epitome of QB longevity.
230 photos 6,300 followers
Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings)
Christian Ponder is going into his 3rd season in the NFL after his playing his college ball at Florida State. Ponder became the starter midway through his rookie season and was firmly entrenched last year throwing for over 2,900 yards in his sophomore year. More importantly, he does not make a lot of mistakes (only 12 interceptions) so that the team can keep handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson.
45 photos 16,000 followers
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Wilson came into camp his rookie year as a sure backup, but he impressed the coaches so much that he ended up starting the his entire rookie season. He threw for over 3,100 yards his rookie year with a 100 QB rating. He did not make a lot of mistakes and the Seahawks are a serious contender again. Look for a great sophomore campaign this year.
250 photos 138,000 followers
Running backs have been more active on IG and here are some of the top running backs to follow on Instagram.
|Reggie and Calvin Johnson from @reggiebush|
Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions)
One of the most exciting runners in the game, Reggie Bush has been in the media spotlight since his playing days at USC. Now with his third NFL team, the Lions, he is teamed up with an explosive offensive that includes Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson. He is as good of a pass catcher as runner so perfectly suited for the Lions offense.
200 photos 276,000 followers
Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)
Unless you play fantasy football, you might not have ever heard of Jamaal Charles because he plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. However, he is one of the most dynamic young running backs in the game. In his first 5 seasons in the NFL, he has rushed for over 1,000 yards in 3 of them and was out with a knee injury for one of those seasons. In 2012, he gained for over 200 yards in two games demonstrating his explosive running abilities.
440 photos 19,000 followers
|Matt Forte at Camp for underprivileged kids @mforte22|
Matt Forte is one of the most flexible RBs in the NFL. In his first 5 seasons in the league he has combined for more than 1,400 total yards in 4 of them, including 2011 when he only played in 12 games. He is a great pass catcher and a quick fast runner that can elude tackles both at the line or downfield.
80 photos 12,000 followers
Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans)
Going into his 6th season in the NFL, Chris Johnson is one of the most powerful runners in the game. He has gained over 1,000 yards in each of his first 5 seasons in the league and ran for over 2,000 yards in second season, 2009-2010. He probably would have gained even more yards playing with a more consistent offense.
325 photos 19,000 followers
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)
Lynch is a large bruising back who is going into his 8th season in the NFL. He has split time between Seattle and Buffalo and rushed for over 1,000 yards in 4 of his 7 seasons. He is coming off his best year in 2012 when he gained over 1,500 yards.
|Doug Martin signing autographs from @dougmartin22|
45 photos 23,000 followers
Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Doug Martin was one of the most exciting rookies in the NFL in 2012. He rushed for over 1,400 yards and had another 470 receiving yards during his rookie season, including a 251 yard effort against the lowly Oakland Raiders. Bucs fans are excited about the future with this exciting Boise St player on the roster.
200 photos 12,000 followers
Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins)
Most of the rookie accolades last year went to the phenomenal RG3, however, another quiet rookie on the Redskins had a spectacular season, Alfred Morris. A little known player out of Florida Atlantic University, Morris shocked the world to amass over 1,600 yards during his rookie campaign. Redskins fans are quite happy with their two Sophomore superstars.
69 photos 36,000 followers
Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)
When healthy, Peterson is the currently the best in the game. After rehabbing reconstructive knee surgery during most of 2011, Adrian came back last year to gain over 2,000 yards rushing and joining an elite group of running backs in history. In only 6 seasons in the NFL, Peterson has racked up over 8,800 total yards. He is not yet very active on IG, but only just got started.
24 photos 18,500 followers
CJ Spiller (Buffalo Bills)
Like the Denver Broncos, the Bills have a real knack for finding great running backs. Their latest find is CJ Spiller out of Clemson. Last year was a breakout year for Spiller, who gained over 1,700 combined rushing and receiving yards last year. Fantasy fans expect more big things from Spiller in 2013-2014.
87 photos 25,000 followers
Receivers and Tight Ends
More than any other football group, the wide receivers and tight ends have embraced Instagram to share lots of photos and posts. You will find three of the most prolific NFL sharers in this group including Desean Jackson, Vernon Davis and Torrey Smith.
Anquan Boldin (San Francisco 49ers)
Anquan is going into his 11th season in the NFL. He played with Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona for the first 7 years and then played three seasons with the Ravens including getting a Super Bowl ring last year. He is now with the 49ers and looking to get another ring with this contending NFC team.
54 photos 37,000 followers
|Vernon Davis after practice from @vernondavis85|
Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers)
One of the early adopters of Instagram, Vernon Davis is probably the most followed NFL player with over 1.1 million followers. Vernon is a testament to the fact that you will gain more followers if you actively post photos and he has posted hundreds of photos for fans. As one of the key components to the 49ers Super Bowl run, Davis is a must follow for any NFL fan.
740 photos 1.1 million followers
Desean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles)
Maybe the most prolific sharer in the NFL, Desean has posted over 1,300 photos on IG. In his 6th season in the NFL, Desean is a speedster out of California (Berkeley). He has gained for over 1,000 yards in 2 of his first 5 seasons and it could have been more if Philadelphia could get a consistent QB starter.
1300 photos 207,000 followers
Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals)
There are three receivers in the NFL that you would come to mind for both greatness and longevity, Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson (Houston) and Steve Smith (Carolina). Fitzgerald is going into his 10th season and has gained over 10,000 receiving yards in his first 9 years. He is a sure NFL Hall of Famer and a must follow for true NFL fans.
120 photos 48,000 followers
|Garcon signing autographs from @pierregarcon|
In his 6th NFL season, Garcon started his career playing with Peyton Manning at Indianapolis but he spent a few years as a backup before getting the starting job in 2011. He amassed over 900 yards receiving that year. Last year, he moved to Washington to pair with RG3. He was hobbled by injury in 2012 and only played in 10 games but still caught 67 balls for over 600 yards. Redskins fans are excited to see what a healthy RG3 to Garcon connection will produce in coming years.
91 photos 21,000 followers
A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals)
Often the third year is the breakout year for a wide receiver. However, it is hard to imagine AJ Green getting better than his first two seasons in which he had over 1,000 receiving yards in both. Last year, he caught 97 balls for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs. He is a dynamic receiver who stands 6'4" and is nearly impossible to cover. His future is very bright.
140 photos 51,000 followers
Andre Johnson (Houston Texans)
Andre Johnson is often overshadowed by the other prolific Johnson receiver in the NFL, because he plays down in Houston and is less flashy than Calvin. However, fantasy fans have known Andre is a consistent fantasy superstar for years. Going into his 11th season in the NFL (all with Houston), Andre has gained over 11,000 yards receiving in his first 10 years. He has 6 years of receiving over 1,000 yards, including 3 where he caught for over 1,500 yards -- thus his moniker ajohnson1500!
140 photos 75,000 followers
Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons)
Julio is off to an amazing start to his NFL career. In his first two seasons, he caught 133 balls for over 2,100 yards and 18 TDs. He is a TD maker, with dynamic moves that lead to lots of yards after the catch. Playing in the explosive Falcons offense will give Julio lots of chances to show of those moves in the years to come.
82 photos 63,000 followers
Brandon Marshall (Chicago Bears)
Brandon Marshall clearly has a special relationship with QB
Jay Cutler. His first two full years with Cutler at the Broncos, he averaged about 1,300 yards per year. During his next 3 seasons with other QBs, he only averaged 1,100 yards per season. Then reunited this past years, Marshall exploded for 1,508 yards. It will be exciting to see what they can do together in the years ahead.
|Torrey & Coach Harbaugh - White House @torreysmithwr|
100 photos 11,000 followers
Like Vernon Davis, Torrey Smith is an incredibly active Instagram user sharing nearly 1,000 photos. Given his breakout year with the Super Bowl Champion Ravens, Smith is a great follow for football fans. Smith is going into his 3rd year out of Maryland and he caught over 900 yards in each of his first two seasons. I am guessing, 2013-2014 produces his first 1,000 yard season as the go-to guy in Baltimore.
914 photos 133,000 followers
I have to admit that the offensive lineman were the toughest group to research. First, there is not a clear ranking of o lineman like you find with the scoring positions -- because of fantasy football. Second, these guys fly below the radar. They are not followed by as many of the typical outlets I use to find players on Instagram. Having said that, I was able to find some of the top offensive lineman on Instagram and have shared them here.
Bryant McKinnie (Baltimore Ravens)
The Ravens offensive line is considered one of the top 10 in the NFL and McKinnie is one of the keys in this top line. In his 12th year in the NFL, McKinnie has moved to the starting LT position for the 2013-2014 season. McKinnie is also one of the most active IG users among NFL players having posted almost 1,000 photos.
967 photos 25,000 followers
Michael Oher (Baltimore Ravens)
Michael Oher brings both a Hollywood and NFL connection. If you have seen the tremendous movie, The Blind Side, it is the story of Oher's life. A heart warming story, Oher is a great NFL follow because you get some NFL, some Hollywood stars and a brief glimpse into the family behind the story.
270 photos 50,000 followers
|Joe Staley looking dapper with fiance' from @jstaley74|
Wade Smith is a the starting LG for the Texans, a Top 15 offensive line. He is going into his 11th season in the NFL, all with the Texans. The Texans continue to threaten a deep run to the Super Bowl so Smitty is a good follow for NFL fans.
200 photos 6,900 followers
Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers)
Staley is a 7th year player with one of the Top 3 offensive lines in the NFL. Staley is the LT anchoring the solid left side of the 49ers line.
143 photos 25,000 followers