The 2016 NFL season is in the books, at least for the regular season. To commemorate the best of the best players of the season, I’ve compiled a list of my 2016 All-Pro team and have highlighted my awards picks (in bold).
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
I can’t choose. Tom Brady missed the first four games of the season but has played phenomenally, throwing 28 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions as the Patriots have rolled to a 14-2 record. Matt Ryan has keyed a sudden explosion by the Atlanta offense and piloted a Falcon team to not only its first playoff berth since 2012, but also a first-round bye. Aaron Rodgers threw 40 touchdowns and was essential to the Packers’ late season win-streak. Ultimately, I give Rodgers the spot and Most Valuable Player honors, with Brady and Ryan as runners-up. Dallas Cowboy quarterback Dak Prescott, to whom I’d give Offensive Rookie of the Year, is a close fourth.
RB: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
These two young rushers have had historically brilliant seasons out of their respective backfields. Elliott, the fourth overall pick in the draft, led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards, 400 more than any other back, and racked up 15 rushing touchdowns. Johnson was a threat in the passing and rushing game for Arizona, with 20 total touchdowns (16 rush, 4 rec) and over 2,000 total yards. Both deserve Offensive Player of the Year, but I’ll give the slight edge to the bruising Elliott.
WR: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
WR: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
TE: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
OBJ just keeps getting better. In his third season, Beckham notched triple digits in receptions while scoring 10 touchdowns on 1,323 receiving yards. His efforts helped the Giants push into the playoffs for the first time in his career. Julio Jones, Atlanta’s star receiver, put on a show earlier in the year, burning Carolina for 300 yards, and ranks among the league leaders in receiving yards (1,313) and yards per reception (17.3) in a rejuvenated Atlanta offense. Travis Kelce gets the nod after leading all tight ends in receiving yards (1,117) and receptions (84). Jordy Nelson, back after missing all of last season due to injury, is the Comeback Player of the Year in a season in which he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns (14).
OT: Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
OT: Trent Williams, Washington Redskins
OG: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
OG: Kelechi Osemele, Oakland Raiders
C: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
If a whole offensive line could be in consideration for MVP, Dallas would be in the conversation. Trent Williams and Kelechi Osemele have been standouts on stellar offensive lines as well and all five have been crucial to their teams’ playoff berths.
DE: Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
DT: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
DE: Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Khalil Mack is one of the premier playmakers on the field, relentlessly pressuring quarterbacks and securing victories with ruthless strip-sacks. Even on a subpar defense, Mack has been unstoppable. Veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake also gets a spot via his 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Aaron Donald, one of the best players in the NFL, has the defensive tackle spot on lock. San Diego rookie Joey Bosa is short of a spot but earned Defensive Rookie of the Year by getting double digit sacks in only 12 games.
OLB: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
OLB: Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons
ILB: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
ILB: C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens
Miller, the MVP of Super Bowl 50, continued his pass rushing prowess this season and is my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. His sack total fell just behind Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks with 15.5. Wagner and Mosley are leaders of two elite defenses in Seattle and Baltimore and represent their respective defenses on the list.
CB: Aqib Talib, Denver Broncos
CB: Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
FS: Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings
SS: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
With Von Miller attacking quarterbacks and Aqib Talib locking down opposing receivers, Denver’s pass defense ranked as the best in the NFL. Patrick Peterson’s Cardinals had a down year, but Peterson again staked his claim as one of the best defensive backs in the game. Harrison Smith and Eric Berry were both the best players on their stingy defenses.
K: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
P: Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts
RS/KR: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
If not for a blocked field goal against the New England Patriots, Justin Tucker would have become the first kicker in NFL history to go perfect for a whole season. Pat McAfee led the NFL in punting average in a dismal year for the Colts. Tyreek Hill is one of two rookies on the list after he scored on a punt, kickoff, rush, and reception, notching a total of 11 touchdowns.