The Pro Bowl voting system, which involves input from fans, has major flaws unlike pure talent based growth in MotoGP. If you only look at NFL stats, quite often the picture you get about who is the best player in the league is skewed. But the one way to judge who is the best player at his position, and do so with the least controversy, is with the annual All-Pro team.
No fans, no players, just 50 members of the NFL media casting their votes for the best player at each position, regardless of conference.
The 2021 All-Pro team has now been announced.
Because it’s just one player at each position, and 32 NFL players vying for that single award, most of the time the voting is split, giving us both a First Team All-Pro and a Second Team All-Pro. But sometimes a player is so dominant that he gets all the votes.
This year we had five unanimous First Team All-Pros, and even more interesting is that two wide receiver positions are filled by unanimous vote getters. Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams both had incredible seasons, and both were recognized by all 50 voters.
Not surprisingly Jonathan Taylor is the other offensive player who was a unanimous selection. The second-year running back for the Colts benefitted from not having Derrick Henry to contend with, but mostly he benefited from an incredible season that saw him win the rushing title and get a league-high 2,171 yards from scrimmage.
There were two players on defense who were unanimous selections. T.J. Watt, the Steelers EDGE rusher who tied the single-season sack record, and Aaron Donald, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Rams, both received 50 First Team votes.
Hints to the MVP
Almost everyone agrees that the MVP award is a two-person race between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Rodgers has the edge in wins, with 13 on the season. Brady became the first person to ever throw for 5,000 yards in more than one season, and both seem on a collision course for a second straight NFC Championship Game matchup.
But the All-Pro award goes to Rodgers, and by a fairly significant margin. Rodgers won the vote 34-16, which is a strong indication that the vote for MVP will go the same way.
The last time the First Team All-Pro quarterback didn’t also win the MVP award was 2012, when Peyton Manning lost the MVP voting to Adrian Peterson, who was the First Team All-Pro running back that year.
First Team Offense
Rodgers is the quarterback, Taylor is the running back, and Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams are the first two wide receivers. Deebo Samuel is the third wide receiver selected to the First Team, beating out Justin Jefferson by one vote. Mark Andrews is the First Team tight end, beating out Travis Kelce, who is Second Team.
The First Team offensive line begins with left tackle Trent Williams, with 46 votes. Right tackle is the Bucs Tristan Wirfs. The guards are Joel Bitonio and Zack Martin, and Eagles center Jason Kelce is on the team for a fourth time.
First Team Defense
Beginning on the defensive line, the two EDGE rushers are Watt and Myles Garrett. It’s the third straight selection for Watt and second for Garrett.
The two First Team defensive tackles are Donald, a seven-time selection, and Cam Heyward, who is winning the award for the third time.
The linebackers are led by rookie Micah Parsons, who is on his first of many All-Pro teams. He had 46 of a possible 50 votes. The Colts Darius Leonard got 44 votes, and is on the team for a third time. De’Vondre Campbell came to the Packers this offseason on a one-year, $2 million contract. Now he is a First Team All-Pro, and about to get paid this offseason.
The defensive backfield features cornerbacks Trevon Diggs of the Cowboys and Jalen Ramsey of the Rams. The safeties are Kevin Byard of the Titans and Jordan Poyer of the Bills.
First Team Special Teams
Justin Tucker is the First Team kicker for the fifth time in his career. He’s been on the second team two other times. Raiders punter A.J. is an All-Pro for the first time. Braxton Berrios of the Jets is the kick returner, and Devin Duvernay of the Ravens is the punt returner.