2013 PFF All-Pro Team

| January 6, 2014

2012-All-Pro-FEATURELast 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.

OFFENSE

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)
AP-mccoy-inset
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)
AP-thomas-inset
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.

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  • eaglesk8r

    How is Boykin not even second team slot corner?

    • joof

      I love Boykin. The guy said “Being so close to the action, we liked our slot cornerback to have a bigger impact on more areas than just coverage.”

      I guess harris can tackle and blitz better.

    • Tyler Lesley

      Is this not covered in the explanation? Sounds like they went with the better overall corner, not just who had the best coverage.

  • Chris

    As much as I wish it was true, Ndamukong Suh is still on the Lions not the Vikings

  • Pedro

    This list lost all credibility when you picked [excellent player A] over [excellent player B from the team I root for].

    • Guest

      If you actually think PFF does that you’re delusional.

      • cameronmm

        *whoosh!*

      • Pedro

        Of course I don’t think that – give me a little credit. They put each player’s name on paper, and see which papers produce white smoke when burned at an altar of Rick Reilly.

    • Pedro

      Don’t worry peoples, this doesn’t apply to you and your team. Especially if you root for Seattle, apparently.

      Bonus points for cherry-picking stats that favor your guy and ignoring the strengths of whatever other outstanding player did get the nod.

  • joof

    So this list is basically the Pro Bowl choices shrunk into 1 team? I always liked the All Pro team nods over pro Bowl

  • Daniel Dannen

    Wow. When the best team in football (Seattle) has a grand total of two defensive second stringers and a special teams player on this list, you know idiocy played a big role in its creation.
    Back to Football Outsiders for me.

    • Pedro

      It’s almost like a team can have the best defense without having all 11 starters be the best at their positions. By your logic, JJ Watt must be lousy since his team sucks. A hypothetical team that had the 3rd best player at each position would be unstoppable in real games without having any all-pros.

      Leave it to a Seahawks fan to be a sore winner.

    • Bellini

      Of course! Why bother to watch the games when you can simply download the basic info off NFLGISIS, stick it in a database, and come up with a silly formula (WTF is DVOA anyway) to tell you the answer like FO?

      No need to do any real work – genius!

      I’m sure their view on say offensive linemen or linebackers is as valid as their methods.

      BTW. Where is their All-Pro team?

      • Bill G

        Probably from all the years of losing he has given up trying 100% in both types of blocking.

      • Daniel Dannen

        Yea, Pro Football Focus is the literal Word of God, lol. Half the time PFF’s ratings are pure crap, as anyone who actually WATCHES the games and players can verify. I’ve seen linemen, linebackers, etc., blow assignments down after down throughout a game, and PFF will give these guys passing marks. PFF is reliable when it comes to grading QB’s, RB’s, etc., only because these grades are reiterations of well-known statistics, and don’t depend on anyone at PFF actually watching the game.

        • Dustin

          PFF has a lot more credibility than you do, sorry. Go start your own site if you’re such an expert.

    • Dustin

      Oh no, someone that thinks highlight reels matter more than actual numbers and analysis is leaving this site?? I’m going to lose so much sleep over this :(

      • silentassassin

        Wait, did you actually watch a Bucs game this year? Revis is still not 100%. Frequently, he was limping toward the sideline and most of the first half of the year he was lost in Shiano’s zone schemes. He had a solid year, but he’s not yet back to being the best corner in the league.

  • LightsOut85

    Any theory why Joe Thomas “suddenly” stopped being the dominant run-blocker he was the first few years of PFF? Even if you’re not totally sure, I’d love to see an article collecting examples like this (guys who were consistently good at something then just stopped being so. Maybe the reverse too, but that can be explained by learning & practicing to become a better player).

    • Mike H

      Probably from all the years of losing he has given up blocking 100% in the run game. Why risk injury.

  • Joe Manzanares

    Kicker was far an away Matt Prater (just because Payton scores TD’s) as he only set NFL records three times this year. (most PAT attempts and consecutive makes, and a 64 yard FG) He only had one missed FG (a plus 50 attempt) He earned his spot but was overshadowed by Manning’s play! Mr. Automatic!!!

    • Jeff

      Also helps kicking in Denver

    • Andreas

      Ok, I’ll give you the 64 yard FG, but what in the world has the number of PAT attempts to do with the quality of kicking? And I’d argue that missing a PAT is rarely the kickers fault but usaly a problem with protection or long snapping/ holding.

  • James Barr

    Lol, the #1 defense in the league by points allowed and yards allowed has zero players on this list. Seattle also has the #1 and #2 corners by opponent passer rating targeting them, but miss the list.

    Clearly accurate.

    • Guest

      Points and yards allowed are team achievements, opponent passer rating is one of several stats for corners, and they don’t base PFF analysis on simple stats. But did you see who they did choose for the secondary? Not too shabby either. Thomas and Sherman are on everyone’s short lists. Other than them, the strength of your defense is its lack of holes. The front 7 isn’t made of all-pros, it’s just that they’re basically all studs. That should make you happy enough.

    • Jeff

      Seattle’s defense is fantastic, and they have great players at every level. However, All-Pro is based on the best of the best in the league. I have no problem with the players that were picked. Seattle has a great 11 players on defense, which is why they are the best defense in the league.

      It’s like arguing JJ Watt’s selection based on the Texans defensive ranking, and points allowed. When clearly Watt was doing his job better than any other player in the league.

    • Anicra

      Actually there is some good statistical breakdown where Seattle’s pass D is one of the four best all time http://www.footballperspective.com/putting-the-2013-seahawks-pass-defense-in-perspective/

      There are times where I look at the scores PFF gives and they seem a bit off.
      I would love to see if there are some serious statistically difference by each scorer. As much as you want to believe it is objective, it still has a bit of subjective issues. If 20 different PFF scored a game, I would guess there will be a good deviation.

      • Pedro

        I think the point still stands that their secondary’s biggest edge is that the unit has no flaws. They have two guys that are arguably all-pros (almost making PFF’s choices as the very best at their positions) and everyone else is a star or at least really solid. That’s really unusual to be so stacked, especially in the salary cap era. But that is a team strength and doesn’t mean that a reasonable expert can’t give the slight edge to another elite player over Thomas or Sherman.

  • Brandon Purdy

    No Sherman. Wow. I know it’s hard to choose between some players but every analyst and ex DB has said that Sherman is the best DB in the league. He leads the league in Ints but yet he is targeted less than any starting CB in the league. PFF not weighing ints enough in their formula. Those are game changing plays. It’s a reason why QBs don’t target him. Is that weighted in the formula.

    • Daniel Dannen

      Not only that, QB’s throwing at Sherman have a below 50 quarterback rating.

    • Dustin

      Sherman is on there on the 2nd team.

      • Brandon Purdy

        That’s the problem. He should be on the first team.

    • Pedro

      Every analyst and ex DB? I’ve heard plenty say Peterson or Revis is the best, and Grimes is having a huge year. And INTs are a little random so having one more than another player doesn’t necessarily make you a better player. Just like sacks for a pass rusher. Not that Sherman isn’t the best or a top-2 corner, just that there are cases to be made for a handful of guys. If you like PFF then give them and their process a little benefit of the doubt even if they didn’t pick your guy.

  • polarbear14325

    I dont understand why Marcell Dareus could be voted first team nose tackle over his more impressive teammate, Kyle Williams. I also find it hard, to believe Kuechely was not even in the top 5 for mlb’s.

  • polarbear14325

    Ya don’t love the tyrann mathiu pick as slot corner because for a lot of the other positions an every down player mattered. Mathilu not only left the season early, but he also played a majority of his snaps at safety. Off the top of my head I would think Nickell Robey, or Boykin would have made more sense.

    • Phil Dunphy

      No he played the majority of his snaps in the slot that’s why he is ranked as a CB and not a safety. He played 13 games that plenty.

  • Niddler

    How the hell do you leave Josh Gordon off your list?

    He had 3 different QBs throwing him the ball, no running game, was suspended for the first 2 games of the season and yet he still was in beast mode leading the NFL!

  • KellyL

    Best pure slot CB – Brandin Boykin!

  • This is US

    McCluster has fewer fair catches, more return yards, a higher return average, and two TD’s vs 0 for Tate and Tate wins because he created yards that, “didn’t seem possible?” What does that mean? Did PFF analyze the return averages of these teams without McCluster and Tate and Seattle’s average was lower?

    Or, did PFF make stuff up?

    PFF is sinking. It’s sad.

    PFF: You’re great at gathering facts. You don’t need to wander off to credit players for “making things happen.” They do, or they don’t. McCluster made more things happen. Hence, the higher average and TD’s.

  • Philly Fan

    As an Eagle fan, I’d say that all the Eagles players who deserved a spot are there; DeSean Jackson had a great bounce back year but he wasn’t better than any of the receivers mentioned in the article. The only thing that I don’t get is, how did Luke Kuechly of the Panthers not make First (let alone Second) Team All-Pro? I’d say he looks like the most complete LB in the league. (Not sure how well he played in the Panthers’ playoff loss to the Niners, didn’t watch due to work)

  • Ryan

    They need to have a separate position for 3-4 players.

  • Big Chief

    Why no long snapper? Every team has one and it seems like it would be a natural for grading.