PFF’s Midseason All-Pro Team

Khaled Elsayed breaks down PFF's Midseason All-Pro Team, with Carson Palmer and Tom Brady battling for the QB spot.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PFF’s Midseason All-Pro Team

Can you believe we’re over halfway through the season already? To celebrate a fantastic first nine weeks of the year, it’s awards day at Pro Football Focus, and what better way to kick it off than with our Midseason All Pro team.

Each player’s overall season grade is noted next to their name.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer, Cardinals, 96.8 overall grade

Second team: Tom Brady, Patriots, 96.8

At the top of our quarterback rankings two men stood out, and we can’t really fault anyone who went in the direction of Brady. But we’ve settled on Palmer, with his intermediate and downfield aerial assault a key reason.

Running back: Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, 94.0

Second team: Devonta Freeman, Falcons, 86.8

The clear No. 1 back in our system, Bell’s injury will likely prevent him from earning All-Pro honors at the end of the season, but it can’t prevent him being our guy at the halfway point. Freeman wins out over Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch, with his playing time and ability in the passing game catching our eye.

Fullback: Patrick DiMarco, Falcons, 84.0

Second team: Michael Burton, Lions, 77.2

There isn’t much competition at the top of the rankings, so even though DiMarco hasn’t followed up his hot start, he’s well ahead of Burton.

Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, 97.5

Second team: Tyler Eifert, Bengals, 92.3

Gronk may have fewer touchdowns than Eifert, but he is without peer at the tight end spot. He’s an unstoppable receiving weapon who just so happens to be a willing and able blocker.

Wide receivers: Antonio Brown, Steelers, 98.1; Julio Jones, Falcons, 96.9; and Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, 91.4

Second team: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans, 92.2;  A.J. Green, Bengals, 90.0; and Julian Edelman, Patriots, 86.0

Fitzgerald “slots” in as the inside receiver, with the dominant duo of Brown and Jones the clear choices on the outside. On the second team, Alshon Jeffery misses out on playing time in a crowded contest.

Tackles: Tyron Smith, Cowboys, 94.3, and Mitchell Schwartz, Browns, 87.2

Second team: Terron Armstead, Saints, 92.7, and Ryan Schraeder, Falcons, 85.4

As abundant in talent as the left tackle market is, the right tackle one is devoid of it. It almost makes you understand why only left tackles get voted to end of season awards. Smith wins out, and guys like Joe Thomas and Andrew Whitworth can feel a bit slighted not to make the second team. On the right side, Schwartz has had some ups and downs, but is the best of the bunch.

Guards: Marshal Yanda, Ravens, 93.8, and Richie Incognito, Bills, 92.8

Second team: Zack Martin, Cowboys, 90.7, and Gabe Jackson, Raiders, 90.0

Trai Turner nearly snuck in, but it was always going to be difficult given the four that made it. Incognito has been a revelation since returning to the league, playing the best football of his life. On the right side, what can you say about Yanda that we haven’t already said? The best guard of his generation is continuing to play at a high level.

Center: Ryan Kalil, Panthers, 93.4

Second team: Travis Frederick, Cowboys, 88.9

There was never any doubt Kalil would be the man in the middle, but with Frederick tied to the decimal with Weston Richburg in our rankings, second team was slightly trickier. In the end, we went with the superior run blocking of the Cowboy.


Each week 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: J.J. Watt, Texans, 94.7, and Aaron Donald, Rams, 92.1

Second team: Kawann Short, Panthers, 89.0, and Jurrell Casey, 88.7, Titans

Whatever you class Watt as, he’s still the top dog on the defensive front seven, despite the extra attention he gets. Donald was a lock with his consistent play, but we had a real dilemma picking the second team. Cameron Heyward, Ndamukong Suh, Geno Atkins, and Muhammad Wilkerson were just some of the other names who put forward serious cases.

Defensive interior – nose: Linval Joseph, Vikings, 94.1

Second team: Brandon Williams, Ravens, 90.1

Joseph is coming off a career game that vaulted him into this spot, where his ability to deliver against the run, as well as applying some push in the pocket, got him in over the stout Williams.

Edge rushers: Cameron Jordan, Saints, 94.2, and Khalil Mack, Raiders, 92.9

Second team: Justin Houston, Chiefs, 90.5, and Pernell McPhee, Bears, 88.6

No edge rusher has a better pass rushing grade than the excellent Jordan, and that’s why he’s the top-ranked guy at his spot right now. Much like the interior, the biggest issue came in picking the second team, where Pernell McPhee just edged out the likes of Cliff Avril and Von Miller.

Linebackers: Luke Kuechly, Panthers, 99.9, and K.J. Wright, Seahawks, 92.1

Second team: Anthony Barr, Vikings, 90.2, and Derrick Johnson, Chiefs, 86.5

Kuechly is playing as well as any linebacker during the PFF era, proving a force on every single down. He has a significant lead atop his positional rankings, but that’s not to the say the rest are playing badly. Wright is really shining in Seattle right now, while Barr is really breaking out.

Cornerbacks: Josh Norman, Panthers, 95.2; Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals, 92.9; and (SLOT) Chris Harris Jr., Broncos, 88.7

Second team: Adam Jones, Bengals, 89.1; Darrelle Revis, Jets, 88.7; and (SLOT) Captain Munnerlyn, Vikings, 85.1

With so much talent at the cornerback position, it’s impossible to fit it all in (apologies to Ronald Darby, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Patrick Peterson, especially). That said, credit goes to the guys making either team, where Josh Norman is the obvious star with his massive start to the season.

Safeties: Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles, 95.9, and Harrison Smith, Vikings, 93.5

Second team: Devin McCourty, Patriots, 91.7, and Will Hill, Ravens, 91.1

We were among those who questioned the Eagles bringing in Jenkins, but he’s been a revelation in Philadelphia, with his 2015 season seeing him put together all his talents for a truly memorable year. He’s the standout of the position, with Harrison Smith not far behind.


Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

Second team: Brandon McManus, Broncos

Perfect on the year, Gostkowski is in the zone right now.

Punter: Pat McAfee, Colts

Second team: Chris Jones, Cowboys

McAfee is booming the ball right now, and stands adrift of the competition in our punter rankings.

Punt returner: Jarvis Landry, Dolphins

Second team: Travis Benjamin, Browns

Landry is a real game-changer when he gets the ball in the open field.

Kick returner: Dwayne Harris, Giants

Second team: Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings

Harris may never prove worth the money, but his impact on special teams is in some ways proving us doubters wrong.

Special teamer: Justin Bethel, Cardinals

Second team: Cedric Peerman, Bengals

One of the constants in the NFL is how Bethel is out of this world when it comes to his work as a vise.

  • WHu

    Wow, Pat McAfee “stands adrift”? *applause*

  • RandomFan1234
  • Makinitmine

    Ron Gronkowski? NICE

  • Anonymous

    You know your season hasn’t gone well when your only complaint on this thread is your punter not making the list.

  • Steven Macks

    Is Patterson grading out well at KR? Because the second-team selection here doesn’t really pass the smell test.

    • enai D

      Patterson’s having a miserable year as a KR, and may well have just lost the job (we saw Marcus Sherrels return a kick at the end of the Rams game, which was a first, and Cordarelle was not hurt)

    • TorreyAnderson

      Yup…it’s been awful. I don’t even recall the last time he was able to get past the 23 yard mark.

      His go to move is returning kicks from deep in the end zone and only getting to the 15-19 yard line.

  • TH20

    No AP? Leads league in rushing, and if you watched the Rams game, showed how he can still dominate when the games on the line. Bell has played two games, and while good, hardly all pro stats. Mr Elsayed needs to do a little better research.

    • walker8084

      APs yards, stats and dominance are meaningless to them, bc he still fumbles occasionally.

    • anonymus

      also he receives the ball a lot more than other backs without being elusive as them

      • TH20

        No one is keyed on more or faces more 8 man stacked lines than AP.

  • William

    Are you guys watching the same saints games as I am? Cam Jordan is absolutely not the best edge rusher

    • shaunhan murray

      He is the only pass rusher on the team.little disappointed that the number 1 ranked 3-4 de end didn’t make the team

  • Grisha

    No, Dwayne Harris’ impact as a receiver should be proving doubters wrong. We expected the excellent special teams play, but we hoped for his production at receiver. Of course, he isn’t a top receiver, but he has pulled more than his weight in the absence of Cruz, and the injuries to every single other pass catcher on the roster.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I don’t think an offensive guard could have a cooler name than Incognito so I would want Richie on the team for that reason alone.

    • SleazySnake .

      I think Incognito’s family was part of the witness protection program

  • Mike Brandt

    No Keenan Allen? Before he went to IR he was on a record pace for receptions

    • Tim Edell

      Keenan Allen over Antonio Brown or Julio?? They currently rank Allen the 19th best WR.

    • Brandon

      They dont really pay attention to numbers like yards or receptions, but stuff like yards per reception or yards per route run. Still surprising that he didnt grade higher.

  • Ethan

    Aren’t Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell both top 5 guards according to your rankings? Yet no votes? Turner obviously should be an all pro

  • snoth cambin

    Shouldn’t Brady playing behind a horrible offensive line outweigh what palmer is doing? This just confuses me.

    • bryan german

      The pat’s offensive line graded out much better than the Cardinals in pass blocking

  • silentazure

    Marcus Sherrels

    • enai D

      Yeah Cordarelle Patterson as an All-Pro special teamer is a joke. He’s not even the best returner on his own team. Sherrels has been his typical rock solid self.

  • DaStrongSKRAWN

    Reshad Jones is better than all of the safeties listed

  • Zachary Mills

    Any chance of updating the team depth charts based on the current individual grades? Then we could see what constitutes an elite player according to pff vs a very good, good, avg, poor, etc.

  • bbies1973

    Have you heard of this guy named Reshad Jones? He’s about the only thing keeping the Dolphins’ secondary afloat. When will he ever get his dues?