2014 PFF All-Pro Team
The 2014 Regular Season is in the books and as ever we’ve watched every player, on every play, of every game. That means we feel uniquely qualified to give credit where it’s due, so we take a lot of pride in our awards week.
And what better way than to kick off this week of praise and adulation with the 2014 PFF All-Pro team. Who made the list? Let’s find out…
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Second Team: Ben Roethlisbeger (PIT)
Rodgers was a true consensus pick with another impressive year, marshalling the prolific Packers offense and leading the PFF passer rankings. It was tougher picking the second team but not by much, with an underrated year by Roethlisberger seeing him lead the league in yards as he guided the Steelers to the postseason.
Honorable Mention: Tony Romo (DAL), Drew Brees (NO) and Tom Brady (NE)
Running Back: Le’Veon Bell (PIT)
Second Team: Marshawn Lynch (SEA)
It was any two from three here, but in the end when we isolated the play of the backs from their offensive lines it was Murray who just missed out. Ultimately, we liked the all-around ability of Bell and the ability of Lynch to make something out of nothing (league-leading 101 forced missed tackles).
Honorable Mention: DeMarco Murray (DAL) and Eddie Lacy (GB)
Fullback: Anthony Sherman (KC)
Second Team: Bruce Miller (SF)
Two on the bounce for Sherman who continues to prove an inspired pickup. The top-ranked fullback might not contribute a lot with the ball in his hand, but his blocking sets him apart.
Honorable Mention: Henry Hynoski (NYG)
Tight End: Rob Gronkowski (NE)
Second Team: Greg Olsen (CAR)
Was there an easier pick here? Gronkowski is the biggest difference-maker at tight end and it shows with how much better the Patriots’ offense is with him on the field. In the second spot, Olsen has gone about his business and proved an extremely valuable target, as evidenced by the first 1,000-yard season of his career.
Honorable Mention: Jason Witten (DAL)
Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown (PIT), Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) and Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)
Second Team: Dez Bryant (DAL), Randall Cobb (GB) and Jordy Nelson (GB)
We’ve added a special spot for a slot receiver, and that means Sanders gets a first-team nod even if overall we preferred the season of Bryant. The year of Beckham Jr. amazes for a number of reasons, but the sheer consistency of his play and the production that followed (even missing four games) pushed him into the first team. Brown isn’t a physical freak but now has back-to-back years with our highest receiving grade.
Honorable Mention: Demaryius Thomas (DEN) and Julio Jones (ATL)
Tackles: Jason Peters, LT (PHI) and Lane Johnson, RT (PHI)
Second Team: Andrew Whitworth, LT (CIN) and Sebastian Vollmer, RT (NE)
It hurts to leave one out after Peters as Whitworth and Joe Thomas all had remarkable years. In the end, Thomas slowed at the end of the season and that allowed Peters (the most impactful run blocker) and Whitworth (who allowed just nine hurries all year) to win out. The level of play at right tackle wasn’t quite as high, but Johnson deserves a lot of credit for turning his 12 games into an All-Pro effort.
Honorable Mention: Joe Thomas (CLE) and Ricky Wagner (BAL)
Guards: Joel Bitonio, LG (CLE) and Marshal Yanda, RG (BAL)
Second Team: Kelechi Osemele, LG (BAL) and T.J. Lang, RG (GB)
It’s not often a rookie linemen will swoop in and earn a first-team spot, but the excellent Bitonio was just that guy. He proved to be a home run hit from Week 1 and a legit Offensive Rookie of the Year contender. Yanda on the other side, had as good a season as any linemen, even when he had to kick out to right tackle. His excellence is accepted now, but no less impressive than it has been in his stellar career.
Honorable Mention: Josh Sitton (GB), Zack Martin (DAL), Brandon Brooks (HOU) and Kevin Zeitler (CIN)
Center: Nick Mangold (NYJ)
Second Team: Travis Frederick (DAL)
Back to his best and back in the PFF All-Pro team, Mangold may have ended the season on Injured Reserve, but his 1,000 snaps where an exhibition in excellence. Here’s hoping he can come back just as strong from injury. Frrederick was a consensus second-teamer, fantastic in the run game but needs to do better in pass pro to move up a team.
Honorable Mention: Rodney Hudson (KC)
We put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles) and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: Sheldon Richardson (NYJ) and Aaron Donald (SL)
Second Team: Ndamukong Suh (DET) and Muhammad Wilkerson (NYJ)
Our criticism of the rookie year of Richardson was that he just didn’t get enough pressure. Well, he corrected that and still made the kind of plays in the run game the Jets fans had become accustomed to. Donald, who started on the bench, worked his way into a prominent role and ended the year our top-ranked defensive tackle. The second team was harder with the trickiest decision between Suh and Gerald McCoy, where after a split vote, the work of Suh in the run game had him in.
Honorable Mention: Gerald McCoy (TB), Sharrif Floyd (MIN), Calais Campbell (ARZ) and Fletcher Cox (PHI)
Defensive Interior – Nose: Marcell Dareus (BUF)
Second Team: Johnathan Hankins (NYG)
Dareus remains a freakishly talented linemen, capable of beating blockers with speed or power and able to line up in a variety of spots. His sack number was eye-catching, but his work in the run game meant Giants breakout linemen Johnathan Hankins was stuck in the second team.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Williams (BAL) and Damon Harrison (NYJ)
Edge Rushers: J.J. Watt (HOU) and Justin Houston (KC)
Second Team: Cameron Wake (MIA) and Von Miller (DEN)
We’re thankful for Watt. He’s a generational talent that is a great watch, but also because the way he is used meant we could fit him in at edge or on the interior. Wherever you play him he’s a dominant force who commands more attention than any other player in the league and yet still makes more plays than any other. The sad thing for Justin Houston is his tremendous season (and it has been a remarkable one) has been overshadowed. Not here, though, because he’s a deserving All-Pro.
Honorable Mention: Terrell Suggs (BAL), Michael Bennett (SEA) and Khalil Mack (OAK)
Linebackers: Luke Kuechly (CAR) and Dont’a Hightower (NE)
Second Team: Jamie Collins (NE) and DeAndre Levy (DET)
The Panthers didn’t win as many games so Kuechly didn’t get as much credit, but he’s arguably taken his game to another level as part of one of the best every-down linebacker duos in the league. His partner in crime can only get an honorable mention and that owes to some superb years from a couple of linebackers in New England, especially in Hightower whose ability to do a lot of things well sets him apart.
Honorable Mention: Thomas Davis (CAR), Brandon Marshall (DEN), Bobby Wagner (SEA) and Chris Borland (SF)
Cornerbacks: Chris Harris (DEN), Vontae Davis (IND) and Darrelle Revis (NE)
Second Team: Richard Sherman (SEA), Sean Smith (KC) and Orlando Scandrick (DAL)
We’ve fitted room in for a guy who can handle the slot which explains the selection of Scandrick. Harris is our guy for that role in the first team but he’s in for more than just that with a season for the ages that is worth a lot more credit than it got. Our top-ranked cornerback allowed no touchdowns, much like Vontae Davis who himself had a career year. An easy one-two choice, with the real deliberation coming between Revis and Sherman. In the end, we opted for Revis, but it was incredibly close.
Honorable Mention: Desmond Trufant (ATL) and Corey Graham (BUF)
Safeties: Harrison Smith (MIN) and Eric Weddle (SD)
Second Team: Glover Quin (DET) and Earl Thomas (SEA)
It’s happened so many times now that there’s no doubt Weddle is the best safety in the league. Still, with the play of Harrison Smith he may have a challenger in the coming years. His playmaking all over the field caught the eye.
Honorable Mention: Antoine Bethea (SF), Mike Adams (IND), Tashaun Gipson (CLE) and Reshad Jones (MIA)
See the other awards we’ve handed out this week:
2014 PFF All-Pro Team
2014 PFF All-Pro Special Teams
2014 PFF Stephenson Award (Best Player)
2014 PFF Offensive Player of the Year
2014 PFF Defensive Player of the Year
2014 PFF Matthews Award (Best Offensive Lineman)
2014 PFF O-Line Rankings
2014 PFF Rookie of the Year
2014 PFF Offensive Rookie of the Year
2014 PFF Defensive Rookie of the Year
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