Why Beasley, Rodgers and other top players didn’t make PFF’s All-Pro team

Senior Analyst Sam Monson explains why some notable names didn't crack the PFF All-Pro list.

| 3 months ago
(Josh Lefkowitz, Getty Images)

(Josh Lefkowitz, Getty Images)

Why Beasley, Rodgers and other top players didn’t make PFF’s All-Pro team


Making the selections for Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team each year is no easy task, and we had to make some difficult calls for the 2016 edition. You can check out all of our picks and explanations for why each player made the team, but there were still some omissions that many fans had questions about. We’ve included those below, along with our explanations for why each player didn’t make it:

1. Vic Beasley, ED, Atlanta Falcons

Beasley was the NFL’s sack leader this year, with two more sacks to his name than any other player, but as impressive as that number is, it flatters his overall play and even his pass rush. Beasley sacked the QB 16 times from 56 total pressures, a conversion rate of 28.6 percent, while the average edge rusher converts at just over 15 percent. That might be seen by some as evidence of elite finishing, but history says it’s a completely unsustainable level, and owes more to bad tackles and other factors producing a run of clean up or unblocked sacks.

Beasley has four multiple-sack games that account for 11 of his 16 sacks, and all of them came against subpar tackles that have an average PFF rating for the season of 56.8. Beasley was good this year, but not as good as his sack total suggests, so he falls behind other pass-rushers that generated significantly more pressure (Khalil Mack had 40 more total pressures and just two fewer sacks).

2. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals

Peterson routinely has as tough an assignment as any corner in the game. He will play a lot of man coverage, and is one of the few corners asked to track receivers all over the field – including to the slot. As a consequence you often have to weight his performance in the light of other players that have an easier role within their defensive scheme, and in the past it has been enough to leap him above players into PFF All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams, but not this year.

Peterson has been good this year, but he has allowed as many touchdowns (three) as he has interceptions, and allowed 60.6 percent of the passes thrown his way to be caught, a career high. When targeted he allowed a passer rating of 80.7, which wasn’t bad, but ranks 30th in the league and not in the same ballpark as players like Aqib Talib, who led the NFL at 47.0.

3. Joe Thomas, OT, Cleveland Browns

Thomas has been the standard by which pass-blocking left tackles measure themselves since he entered the league back in 2007, but this season he suffered a little bit of a downturn in performance. He allowed four sacks on the season, double the number that he surrendered in any of the previous three-straight years, and a total of 34 pressures, the second-highest mark of his career.

Thomas was still very good, but he finished the season with the fourth-best PFF rating among tackles, and all of the three players ahead of him played on the left side, so as much as anything he was undone by a quirk of numbers and was just good but not quite good enough this season. He made PFF’s Pro Bowl roster as the Pro Bowl deals with an expanded roster.

4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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Rodgers might be the most hard done by of any player to miss the All-Pro team, but in his case the reason is obvious: the play of the two players ahead of him. As good as Rodgers has been recently, the first third of his season was average at best, while Tom Brady and Matt Ryan have been consistently excellent all season.

Brady has been nearly flawless since coming back from a four-game suspension, throwing just two picks over 432 attempts and ending the year with a passer rating of 112.2, while Ryan came 66 yards short of a 5,000-yard season while leading the league’s No. 1-rated offense and throwing only seven interceptions to 38 touchdowns. Adjusting for drops, Brady (79.5 percent) and Ryan (78.3 percent) both (third and fourth, respectively) rank significantly higher in completion percentage than Rodgers with 74.6 percent (14th).

5. Tyron Smith, OT, Dallas Cowboys

Missing games is always a tough thing to overcome for an All-Pro selection unless you were head and shoulders above your competition, and that wasn’t the case for Smith, who missed three games. As dominant as the Cowboys offense has been as a whole, Smith personally has enjoyed better seasons. His run-blocking has been average compared to a season ago, and he has allowed 20 total pressures in 13 games while being flagged seven times.

By comparison, Andrew Whitworth allowed just 14 total pressures in 15 games and even he couldn’t do better than an honorable mention. Tackle was a fierce competition this season and Smith comes up short despite the performance of the offensive line he played on overall.

6. Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota Vikings

Smith had a solid season, but like most of the Vikings, tailed off in the second half of the year and wasn’t helped by missing a couple of games later in the season. Smith had excellent coverage grades over the first half of the season but didn’t post another strong one in the second half. He totaled 26 defensive stops in the first 11 weeks of the season and just one over his final four games.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • carriera3

    Beasley had about 4 sacks that came from being a QB spy where he would just stay in the middle and start going after the QB when the QB stepped up in the pocket. This could be why his percentages are inflated.

    • Joe Doe

      Thank you for comments like this. It’s always helpful when a fan who has watched all the games can add more substance to the numbers.

    • rodrell green

      I only recall him spying against SF, where’d the others come from?

  • Anonymous

    You keep Peterson off by posting his stats but you put Butler on and don’t post his. PFF is so in love with Butler, who is so average. His best trait is “he competes really hard”.

    • AKjester

      As a Seahawks fan, I have to disagree with your assessment of Butler.

    • Nolan

      I would have to say he probably gets his stats padded by playing against other teams 2nd WR a lot of the time.

    • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

      because this is a paid site ?
      you want full stats ? pay them.

  • Byu Tech

    just stats…what pff is missing is a personal qualified opinion…when you see the patriots playing you clearly see the belichick deep work…perfection in schemes…when you see the falcons you see julio jones and his miracles…when you see the packs you see rodgers win the games.

    • Nolan

      When I watch the falcons (excluding the first panthers game) I see Matt Ryan dominating no matter who he throws to.

      Don’t even try to say that Tom Brady is not a good QB.

      • Scott West

        Throwing 3 game-losing picks with the lead late in games isn’t ‘dominating’. Put Brady on the Falcons and you have at least a 13 win season.

    • crosseyedlemon

      ….and when you see the Bears play you see a continuous blooper reel.

    • tbone6992

      Brady or Ryan with the Packers=.500. Rodgers at QB for Pats or Falcons= Undefeated…

  • dd

    This site has lost all credibility with me for its analysis of Tyron Smith. First of all, your #1 LT, Leonard Williams was suspended for four games for violating the leagues substance policy. The guy was likely cheating for most of the season. You also list
    Andrew Whitworth, but I look like at Jeremy Hil’s year and remain unimpressed.
    Tyrom Smith literally dominated games and made Key plays that won games. Do you guys remember Tyrons block in the Pittsburgh game that opened a hole so wide, Zeke sprinted for the game winning TD. It’s also important to recognize that the Cowboys prefer running on the right side in the seam between Martin and Frederick than on the Left. It’s true that Tyron racked up 7 penalties, but it’s be foolish to knock the guy who is arguably the MVP Of the Cowboys. He is the guy they can least afford to lose.

    • Nolan

      Do you mean Trent Williams? (fair point though) Just because Jeremy Hill didn’t run that well and the rest of his OL play poorly doesn’t mean Andrew Whitworth did. I think you and PFF’s definition of a good tackle are different. You value big plays more and PFF values consistently good play.

  • rodrell green

    Didn’t Khalil Mack have six sacks against said Denver’s inferior tackle?

  • rodrell green

    Khalil Mack faced plenty of bad tackles but just didn’t finish as often…

  • rodrell green

    Mack also has Irvin rushing opposite of him, Vic has an old fart and a journey man opposite of him. Oh yeah I’m sure Mack played far more snaps per game than Vic

    Checked and Mack played nearly twice as many snaps as Vic (albeit only 100 more pass rushing snaps).

    • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

      the % of pressures turned into sacks doesmt get affected by snap count.

      • rodrell green

        When they referred to Khalil Mack they said nothing about percentages, simply that he had 40 more pressures, etc… And if you paid attention: “Beasley sacked the QB 16 times from 56 total pressures, a conversion rate of 28.6 percent, while the average edge rusher converts at just over 15 percent.”
        Thus Beasley converts pressure to sacks more often than the average edge rusher, but that wasn’t the point I was making. Positions such as pass rusher and running back do better with more opportunities (to an extent that they aren’t being overworked).

        • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

          yeah,a great sign of clean ups.
          Someone already said that 5 of his sacks he was a spy and just got the sack as the QB tried to scape the pocket.
          the guy just isnt an all pro edge defender,deal with it.

          • rodrell green

            He only spied (once against SF) to my knowledge and I’ve watched every game. Keep hating by bringing up fake evidence. Have you even watched the game? Or do you just enjoying bitching about players you have no knowledge of?

          • RaiderNation (12-4)

            shutup dude. Vic beasly was horrible against the run.. so stop complaining about him being an all pro lol once he gets good against the run and can rack up sacks next year when he faced more attention then we will see…

  • Joseph Daniel von Hoffman

    > Says Aaron Rodgers didn’t make the team because of a mediocre early third of the season

    > Ignores that Tom Brady literally did not play a snap for a quarter of the season

    Of course, if you’ve been reading this site for a while, you already PFF views playing at an average level as worse than not playing at all.

    • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

      and when Brady came back he was the best QB in the game.
      im a Broncos fan and have to say,you guys are so biased it hurts.

  • Jill

    “Brady has been nearly flawless since coming back from a four-game suspension”
    “Missing games is always a tough thing to overcome for an All-Pro selection”

    • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

      Tough doesn’t mean impossible.
      Are you biased or dumb ?

      • Jared H20

        Damn bro, chill out. No need for that here. :O

  • crosseyedlemon

    I think Stephenson and Flowers are the front runners for TOY (Turnstile of the year) award.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      we got this one locked up

  • Zach

    I like articles like this that explain the reasoning for PFF player grades/evaluations. Make more of them

  • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

    He did get mentioned.Beasley got 4 sacks on him,he is bringing to 56.8 grade down lol.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      haha

  • newreader19

    I think PFF is in the right here and the AP is in the wrong on Vic Beasley. Vic Beasley had a good year no doubt, but 25% of his sacks are from playing the Broncos. I see all the time people here saying don’t put much stock in performances against the Broncos – but for opposing offensive wide receivers who were shut down. I think the same rule should apply to people rushing against our RT. Last year Khalil Mack would not have been all pro in TWO positions had he not picked up 5 sacks on defensive lineman in disguise Michael Schofield. Consistent performance against varying competition absolutely should be given more stock than the ability to feast on human traffic cones.