The AP All-Pro team was unveiled Friday. When announced, there was a first team and a second team. When the voters cast their votes, it’s just for the first team so the second team is comprised of the players in the “others receiving votes” category.
Before I cast my votes this week, I talked to current players, coaches and analysts about the players that impressed them. Without fail, the people I asked (and have asked for the past seven years) gave an honest effort to share their input. Being named All-Pro is a big deal.
The night before the Super Bowl, the regular-season award winners will be announced – MVP, Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, etc. I’ll share my votes on those after they are announced.
Here, I’ll list the All-Pro selections by position, who I voted for and the thought process behind it.
FIRST TEAM: Peyton Manning, Denver.
SECOND TEAM: None, no affiliation
I voted for Manning. Impossible to argue that anyone was better at the position this year, though the seasons of Nick Foles, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers were – in that order – the best behind Manning’s. That there was no second-team quarterback means Manning was unanimous.
FIRST TEAM: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia; Jamaal Charles, Kansas City
SECOND TEAM: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Eddie Lacy, Green Bay
I voted for McCoy and Charles. McCoy was a layup. Charles had more touchdowns and a higher YPC (5.0) than Matt Forte, who finished second in rushing yards. I have no idea why anyone would vote Peterson instead of those three or, for that matter, Marshawn Lynch. Same goes for Lacy.
FIRST TEAM: Mike Tolbert, Carolina
SECOND TEAM: Marcel Reese, Oakland
I selected Reese on the advice of counsel.
FIRST TEAM: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
SECOND TEAM: Vernon Davis, San Francisco
Graham received 49 of the 50 votes.
FIRST TEAM: Calvin Johnson, Detroit; Josh Gordon, Cleveland.
SECOND TEAM: A.J. Green, Cincinnati; Demaryius Thomas, Denver and Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh.
I voted for Megatron and A.J. Green. In Green’s case, he’s the best offensive weapon on a playoff team. Gordon was brilliant but his team wasn't very good. Support for Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant was also voiced by advisors in the league.
FIRST TEAM: Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Jason Peters, Philadelphia.
SECOND TEAM: Tyron Smith, Dallas; Joe Staley, San Francisco.
I voted for Thomas and Staley. Chandler Jones’ comments about Thomas clinched my vote for him. I got analyst support for Tyron Smith. Nate Solder, Duane Brown and Trent Williams were also mentioned.
FIRST TEAM: Louis Vasquez, Denver; Evan Mathis, Philadelphia.
SECOND TEAM: Jahri Evans, New Orleans; Logan Mankins, New England and Josh Sitton, Green Bay.
I voted for Larry Warford, rookie from Detroit, and Marshal Yanda of the Ravens. I was good to go on Mathis based on the elaborate case made for him by Pro Football Focus. And while I respect their work a great deal, his inclusion over Yanda or Logan Mankins was a stunner to one of my advisors. Having seen some flat play from Mankins early in the season, I threw my vote at Yanda. None of my advisors batted an eye at Warford and PFF made his inclusion seem appropriate.
FIRST TEAM: Ryan Kalil, Carolina.
SECOND TEAM: Alex Mack, Cleveland.
I voted for Mack. Why did I vote for a second Browns’ offensive lineman when they ran for 1,383 yards and four touchdowns as a team and their quarterbacks were sacked 49 times? I expected to be given a better option by my advisors and wasn’t so I went with conventional wisdom.