2021 AP All-Pro Team Announced
NFL Divisional - The 2021 AP All-Pro Team was announced today, and you can find the winners at this link. Five players were chosen unanimously: Jonathan Taylor, Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, T.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald.
As you may know, this was my second year as one of the 50 members of the voting panel. So in the interest of open discussion, here were my choices for this year's All-Pro Team.
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
It was a difficult choice between Rodgers and Tom Brady. The main difference between the two is that Rodgers was more efficient per play but Brady had more value. For example, Rodgers was No. 1 in DVOA but Brady was No. 1 in DYAR. And it certainly meant something that Brady overcame a difficult schedule to put up fantastic numbers. However, I also wanted to weigh the teammates that surrounded each player. I feel like Brady was in a better situation this year. Rodgers had Davante Adams, but Brady had better receivers as a group. And yes, he lost some of those receivers near the end of the season, but he had a very good offensive line that stayed healthy for most of the year. Rodgers did a good job working around injuries on his offensive line. And so, I went with Rodgers.
RB Jonathan Taylor, IND
I don't think this one requires explanation.
WR Cooper Kupp, LAR; Davante Adams, GB; Deebo Samuel, SF
I went with the top three wide receivers in DYAR. This was going to include Justin Jefferson until I realized that Samuel had so much rushing value that he ended up with more total DYAR than Jefferson or Adams. I'm sorry I can't include Jefferson on my list but you can only vote for three wide receivers and Samuel certainly had unique value this season. Adams just squeezes by Jefferson.
TE Mark Andrews, BAL
Led all tight ends in receiving DYAR. I did consider George Kittle because his blocking is so important to the 49ers offense, but in the end decided the DYAR gap between Kittle and Andrews was too great.
LT Trent Williams, SF
My offensive line picks were a combination of looking at SIS total points earned as well as ESPN's pass block and run block win rates, and talking to offensive line experts such as Brandon Thorn and Geoff Schwartz. Film experts agree that Williams had a phenomenal season, although he surprisingly wasn't that spectacular in ESPN's win rate stats. I believe he had the highest offensive line season ever by PFF grading.
LG Joe Thuney, KC
Led all guards in pass block win rate and was second among guards in SIS total points earned.
C Ryan Jensen, TB
I was very close to going with Kansas City rookie Creed Humphrey but the film study folks just absolutely rave about Jensen and Jensen also finished first among centers in SIS points earned while Humphrey was fifth.
RG Zack Martin, DAL
Tied for third among guards in SIS total points earned, and made the top 10 in both run block win rate and pass block win rate. (The No. 1 guard in points earned is a real surprise, David Edwards of the Rams. Edwards does not make the top 10 in either run block win rate or pass block win rate.)
RT Tristan Wirfs, TB
This one was a tough choice over Lane Johnson of the Eagles, especially because of the way that Cameron Jordan obliterated Wirfs in that Saints shutout victory. But Wirfs was very good the rest of the year, played more games than Johnson, and led all linemen in SIS's points earned metric.
IDL Aaron Donald, LAR; Chris Jones, KC
Aaron Donald, I mean, duh. The other spot was a close call between Jones and Cameron Heyward of the Steelers. Heyward tied for the league lead in defeats but Jones did better in SIS's points saved metric and obviously his move back to the inside in the middle of the year was one of the catalysts for the turnaround of the Chiefs defense.
ER T.J. Watt, PIT; Myles Garrett, CLE
Watt tied the all-time sack record. Garrett led the league in pressures according to SIS charting (combining hits, hurries, and knockdowns).
LB Micah Parsons, DAL; De'Vondre Campbell, GB; Darius Leonard, IND
Micah Parsons had to make the team at whichever position he was assigned, and SIS found that he played more snaps off the ball than as an edge rusher. Parsons and De'Vondre Campbell were No. 1 and No. 2 in points saved among linebackers. Leonard was third through Week 17 and while he fell to fourth after Week 18 I decided to keep him as my third linebacker over Anthony Barr of the Vikings, who only played 11 games but was very good in those games. Leonard did allow 7.0 yards per target in coverage but had four interceptions and his average run tackle came after a gain of less than 3.0 yards.
CB Jalen Ramsey, LAR; A.J. Terrell, ATL
I wanted to go with J.C. Jackson for a long time but in the end I ended up with the top two cornerbacks in SIS's points saved. Ramsey is just a game-changer. Terrell has crazy insane good charting stats this year, including just 3.2 yards allowed per target. The panel ended up going with Trevon Diggs and his 11 interceptions despite the fact that he also led the league in yardage allowed in coverage.
S Derwin James, LAC; Jordan Poyer, BUF
The hardest position to choose. I spent the last few weeks trying to decide who to drop between James, Poyer, and Kevin Byard of the Titans. I ended up going with Poyer first, because I wanted someone from our No. 1 defense. Poyer led all safeties in SIS's points saved and the Bills were the No. 1 defense against deep passes. James vs. Byard is really hard. James made more plays and had more defeats. Byard did better in points saved. He's more of a coverage safety while James is more of a chess piece you can use in many different ways. In the end, I went with James, because I feel like he just impacts games more. I may have been overinfluenced by what happened with Travis Kelce when James went out of the second Chiefs-Chargers game. It was a tough decision. Sorry to Titans fans, but Byard won the votes of most of the panel and was chosen All-Pro despite me, so don't be too upset!
K Justin Tucker, BAL
Led FO metrics in field goal value.
P Bryan Anger, DAL
Led FO metrics in both net and gross punt value.
KR Kene Nwangwu, MIN
Led FO metrics in kick return value. The total value battle was very close with Braxton Berrios of the Jets, but Nwangwu also had more value per return. The panel did choose Berrios over Nwangwu and Andre Roberts.
PR Jakeem Grant, MIA/CHI
Led FO metrics in punt return value.
ST J.T. Gray, NO
Led all special teams players with 18 combined tackles, 13 of which stopped a return short of an average gain.
LS Luke Rhodes, IND
The AP actually gives us a couple of long-snapper coaches to speak to about this choice, and both of the coaches I reached out to recommended Rhodes.
Again, click this link for a list of the full winners: