Last week the Associated Press announced their annual All-Pro team, and after a long season it’s time we do the same.
What makes our a little different is what we have to work with. At Pro Football Focus we have four people watching every game. Two collecting player participation data, one running through analysis with broadcast footage and another using the fantastic All-22 footage provided by Game Rewind to run the rule over that. Contentious plays go to our arbitration process and all told we’ve spent roughly 30 hours on each game.
The upshot is we’ve spent more time watching and analyzing NFL players than anyone else, and why we feel this is the most authoritative set of All-Pro selections available anywhere.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning (DEN)
Was there ever any doubt? Manning was our top-ranked quarterback and a consensus pick by our five judges. His numbers may actually be slightly flattering, but there’s no denying his +43.3 grade was significantly better than Rivers’ +26.5.
Second Team: Philip Rivers (SD)
Running Back: LeSean McCoy (PHI)
Not just the league rushing champion, but the champion of our grades by some distance. McCoy does benefit from an excellent offensive line that puts him in good situations, but he still makes plenty happen once he gets past the line of scrimmage. We said last year that Charles wasn’t quite back to his 2010 best, but you can forget about that now with some tremendous work with ball in hand.
Second Team: Jamaal Charles (KC)
Fullback: Anthony Sherman (KC)
We believe a fullback should be a lead blocker, not just a bigger back. Hence why Sherman, the best lead blocker in the league this year, gets the nod. Tolbert wasn’t endorsed by all our voters for this reason, but the logic is he does enough lead blocking and well enough that when put with his other skills he’s better than the rest on offer.
Second Team: Mike Tolbert (CAR)
Tight End: Jimmy Graham (NO)
It wasn’t exactly the year of the tight end this year. Graham, who is a glorified receiver in how he blocks, was a monster catching the ball with a huge 16 touchdowns and 1,215 yards. Normally we might look for a more rounded guy, but there just wasn’t one. Davis is a worthy second-teamer, though both men can be counting their lucky stars that the excellent Rob Gronkowski spent most of the season injured.
Second Team: Vernon Davis (SF)
Wide Receivers: Brandon Marshall (CHI) and Antonio Brown (PIT)
It wasn’t easy leaving out players like Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas and A.J. Green (to name three), but we’re happy with what we’re left with. It’s rare that a receivers blocking plays much part in our decision making, but when you can complement 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns with a +17.0 run blocking grade (the next highest was +6.2) you get a true every-down wide receiver weapon in Marshall. Brown would finish the year our top-ranked pure receiving wide-out, but might consider him lucky that a player like Calvin Johnson missed so much time over the season.
Second Team: Calvin Johnson (DET) and Andre Johnson (HOU)
*Slot Receiver: Jordy Nelson (GB)
Given how the league has changed we’ve added a twelfth person to represent that. This year that means a spot for a receiver who spends plenty of time from the slot. Nelson operated everywhere for the Packers with 52.1% of his routes run from the slot. He was tremendous given some of the quarterbacks he was left to work with.
Second Team: Anquan Boldin (SF)
Left Tackle: Joe Thomas (CLE)
Some of the team are a bit tired of the less than stellar run blocking from Thomas, but he remains the King of Left Tackles in pass protection, especially impressive given how his quarterbacks like to hold the ball. Williams edged out Jordan Gross, a slow starting Jason Peters, Tyron Smith, Joe Staley and the two-positioned Andrew Whitworth at the deepest spot of talent on offense.
Second Team: Trent Williams (WAS)
Left Guard: Evan Mathis (PHI)
Three years in Philadelphia, three years in our All-Pro team. Mathis isn’t the best in pass protection but his work in the run game can’t be matched for the sheer relentlessness with which he gets and maintains position.
Second Team: Josh Sitton (GB)
Center: Jason Kelce (PHI)
It’s impressive that even with a horrible performance against the Giants (the lowest grade of any center this year) Kelce would still finish our top-ranked center. The work of the Eagles’ interior was instrumental in their running back putting up such big numbers.
Second Team: Alex Mack (CLE)
Right Guard: Louis Vasquez (DEN)
One of the free agent signings of the summer, Vasquez has taken his game to another level in Denver with his usual solid pass protection, but also some real standout work in the run game. Kudos as well to Larry Warford for making the team as a rookie. That’s easier said than done.
Second Team: Larry Warford (DET)
Right Tackle: Phil Loadholt (MIN)
It wasn’t a great year for right tackles, especially with Sebastian Vollmer going down. That left us with a selection that was essentially two from three. With the team agreed that what Loadholt brings in the run game should get him the first team nod, it was left between Strief and Demar Dotson, with Strief edging the votes for his sheer consistency.
Second Team: Zach Strief (NO)
Turn to Page 2 for the defense and special teams.
Pages: 1 2