As always, this is not the official GridFe All Pro team. These are my picks and don’t reflect on the opinions of the other humans on the site. I do my best to synthesize tape and stats within the context of each player’s circumstances. For example, if two cornerbacks performed similarly, but one played behind significantly superior pass rushers, I went with the guy who I thought did it with less help. I’m not saying that’s the right way to do it, but it’s my way.
I believe passing is much more important than rushing. Thus, I give preference to players who enhance their team’s passing attack or diminish the passing attack of opponents. Takeo Spikes was a tackling machine who always seemed to be on time against the run, but I’d take Julian Peterson every time. You get the idea. Also, unlike the major publications, I take the postseason into consideration. It’s the most important part of the year, so it makes sense to at least take a little peek at it.
Finally: my team, my rules. I want to reward the best players with first team honors, so if I have to play fast and loose with positional designations, I will do so without apology.
You’ve been warned. Here’s my 2017 All Pro team.
|POS||FIRST TEAM||TEAM||SECOND TEAM||TEAM||HONORABLE MENTION||TEAM|
|QB||Tom Brady||NE||Russell Wilson||SEA||Drew Brees||NOR|
|HB||Todd Gurley||RAM||Le'Veon Bell||PIT||Kareem Hunt||KC|
|WR||Antonio Brown||PIT||Keenan Allen||LAC||Larry Fitzgerald||ARI|
|WR||DeAndre Hopkins||HOU||Michael Thomas||NOR||Doug Baldwin||SEA|
|WR||Julio Jones||ATL||Adam Thielen||MIN||A.J. Green||CIN|
|TE||Rob Gronkowski||NE||Travis Kelce||KC||Delanie Walker||TEN|
|LT||David Bakhtiari||GNB||Andrew Whitworth||RAM||Joe Thomas||CLE|
|LG||Andrew Norwell||CAR||Joel Bitonio||CLE||Rodger Saffold||RAM|
|C||Jason Kelce||PHI||Rodney Hudson||OAK||Travis Frederick||DAL|
|RG||David DeCastro||PIT||Zack Martin||DAL||Larry Warford||NOR|
|RT||Lane Johnson||PHI||Daryl Williams||CAR||Demar Dotson||TB|
|ER||Calais Campbell||JAX||Cameron Jordan||NOR||DeMarcus Lawrence||DAL|
|ER||Von Miller||DEN||Everson Griffen||MIN||Joey Bosa||LAC|
|IL||Aaron Donald||RAM||Fletcher Cox||PHI||Cameron Heyward||PIT|
|IL||Geno Atkins||CIN||Akiem Hicks||CHI||Mike Daniels||GNB|
|LB||Bobby Wagner||SEA||Lavonte David||TB||Telvin Smith||JAX|
|LB||Luke Kuechly||CAR||Deion Jones||ATL||Reuben Foster||SF|
|CB||Jalen Ramsey||JAX||Tre'Davious White||BUF||William Jackson||CIN|
|CB||Casey Hayward||LAC||Marshon Lattimore||NOR||Darius Slay||DET|
|CB||Xavier Rhodes||MIN||A.J. Bouye||JAX||Jimmy Smith||BAL|
|S||Harrison Smith||MIN||Earl Thomas||SEA||Lamarcus Joyner||RAM|
|S||Glover Quin||DET||Adrian Amos||CHI||Devin McCourty||NE|
|K||Justin Tucker||BAL||Greg Zuerlein||RAM||Matt Prater||DET|
|P||Johnny Hekker||RAM||Rigoberto Sanchez||IND||Chris Jones||DAL|
|R||Pharoh Cooper||RAM||Tyler Lockett||SEA||Jamal Agnew||DET|
|HC||Doug Peterson||PHI||Mike Zimmer||MIN||Sean McVay||RAM|
|OC||Pat Shurmur||MIN||Matt Nagy||KC||Josh McDaniels||NE|
|DC||Dennis Allen||NOR||Todd Wash||JAX||James Bettcher||ARI|
All Pro Offense
Tom Brady was the best quarterback this year, both by numbers and by an honest analysis of the tape. At an age when most HOF QBs are testing the waters at broadcasting or painting landscapes, Brady is continuing to reinvent himself and work on the few remaining deficiencies in his game. He led all QBs in New Total Adjusted Yards over average, and he produced one of the greatest passing games in Super Bowl history (even if it was in a losing effort) against a stout defense. The ring’s the thing for Brady, but he did end the season with his fourth MVP selection as a consolation prize.
Russell Wilson thrived in spite of his offensive line, and he carried the team on his back when injuries ravaged his once legendary defense. He has the ability to make something from nothing like modern day Fran Tarkenton, and he is arguably the only quarterback in the league who could have succeeded for the 2017 Seahawks. Drew Brees finally got a strong defense and parlayed that into a deep playoff run. He’s the most accurate quarterback in history, and he’d probably make the second team if his situation wasn’t so much more favorable than that of Wilson.
Running back was a tougher decision than you may think. Le’Veon Bell came into the season the best back in the league and continued to play at a high level. He wasn’t efficient, but he was a workhorse who had 60 more touches than any other player. He also had the most production on the ground, which I believe to be less replaceable than receiving production out of the backfield.
However, Todd Gurley was the best player on the revamped Rams offense and had a realistic shot at the rushing title had he not rested in week 17. As it stands, he led the league in yards, touchdowns, and Adjusted Scrimmage Yards and was a threat to rip off huge chunks of yardage as a rusher or a receiver. When I take into account overall production and the context in which it occurred, Gurley is the top guy this year.
The honorable mention spot goes to rookie Kareem Hunt, who was the focal point of the Chiefs offense in the first half of the season. He’s not particularly large, but his balance and pad level allow him to create added yardage to most plays. Kansas City faltered in the second half, which saw Hunt fall out of favor with national media, but I believe he would have been named offensive rookie of the year had his two halves been reversed.
Antonio Brown is on the verge of securing his spot in Canton. His last five years compare favorably with any five-year run a receiver has ever had, even after adjusting for era. He was the rare wide receiver to garner MVP traction, and injury may have been the only thing keeping him from snagging a few votes. Despite missing basically three games, Brown led the league in receiving yards and Adjusted Catch Yards.
DeAndre Hopkins is what a HOF receiver looks like when he doesn’t have a quality passer to get him the ball. He runs crisp routes to gain separation but also excels at making contested catches. His elite body control is reminiscent of a young Brandon Lloyd, and it allows him to serve as an inaccuracy eraser for scattershot quarterbacks. Hopkins led all receivers in touchdown catches, which is all the more impressive when you remember Deshaun Watson only played in seven games.
Julio Jones isn’t the popular pick this year, as his volume numbers have decreased in the absence of Kyle Shanahan. However, in the context of the Steve Sarkisian offense, Jones was basically as good as he ever was. He only hauled in three scoring passes, but he was second in the league in receiving yards and led all qualifying receivers in yards per route.
Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, and Adam Thielen were the top receivers on efficient passing offenses. Allen brings ample technique to offset his relative lack of athleticism, and was one of the bright spots of the 2017 season, taking home the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year award after playing 16 games for the first time in his injury-wrought career. Thomas is making a claim for the best wide receiver Brees has ever had, and he is part of a young core of talent that should keep the Saints competitive until the QB finally flips tails. Thielen didn’t come into the season as Minnesota’s top receiver, nor did he end the season as the hero. But he was invaluable all year, having pulled in at least 50 receiving yards in 12 of 18 games.
Larry Fitzgerald has lost a step athletically, but he makes up for it with precise routes, some of the best hands in history, and a willingness/ability to block.1 He was sixth in Adjusted Catch Yards and a valuable contributor in the run game. As long as Andy Dalton is throwing passes to A.J. Green, the latter’s ceiling for production is only going to be so high. His numbers don’t jump off the screen, but his play does – particularly his ability to track and adjust to errant passes. Seattle’s offensive pace and insistence on a maintaining a run/pass split straight outta 1977 limits what we see in Doug Baldwin‘s box scores. However, Baldwin has consistently been one of the most dangerous threats out of the slot and has adapted perfectly to the Seahawks’ scheme of having their offensive line turn around and watch Wilson run for his life and find an improvising receiver. He also brings a toughness and blocking ability that reminds me of Hines Ward (if Ward was also one of the best route-runners in the league).
Rob Gronkowski may or may not be the greatest TE of all time, but I feel confident saying he’s the best. Kellen Winslow and Tony Gonzalez were great receivers, but they weren’t blockers. Jason Witten is often lauded for his blocking, but he’s nowhere near the blocker or receiver Gronk is. In terms of sheer ability, he is in a league of his own. In addition to assaulting the record books and completely changing his team’s offense, he is also the greatest postseason TE in history.
Travis Kelce rivals Gronkowski as a receiver, even arguably running better routes and being more dangerous after the catch than this year’s version of Gronk. He is arguably the most important player on the Kansas City offense and helps keep Andy Reid‘s game plan on track. However, when one of your nicknames is Baby Gronk, Full Grown Gronk gets the first team nod. Delanie Walker is built more like a fullback than a traditional tight end, which may actually help him establish leverage in the running game. In a somewhat confused scheme, he uses his experience and awareness to provide Marcus Mariota with a legitimate receiving option.
David Bakhtiari only played 12 games this season, and I’m fine with that. When he was on the field, there was no better pass protector. The oft-befuddled Brett Hundley obscured much of the great work Bakhtiari did, but the tackle’s prowess on tape was too great to ignore. He rarely lost on pass plays and gave up just one sack all year. He was also strong, if not elite, as a run blocker.
Elder statesman Andrew Whitworth was part of a talent infusion that pulled the Rams out of the Fisher Quagmire and led them to become one of the league’s top offenses.2 While the offense’s improvement contributed to his national recognition, he earned every bit of it with elite play in both the pass and run game. Joe Thomas missed the first snap of his Hall of Fame career seven weeks into a lost season. It’s hard to maintain a high level of play when things are going right. It’s even harder when things are going wrong, and things have been going wrong for most of his 10,363 consecutive snaps. I decided to reward both his character and his still-legendary pass blocking, regardless of the brevity of his season.
It’s hard for linemen to stand out on average offenses or in small markets, but Andrew Norwell made his mark this year. Blocking for a quarterback who tends to get sacked at a higher than average rate, Norwell didn’t surrender a single sack or QB hit. He excelled in the run game with excellent technique, highlighted by his ability to play at the second level.
If anyone cared about the Cleveland Browns or offensive linemen, Joel Bitonio may have been in contention for comeback player of the year. After missing 11 games last year, Bitonio rebounded with an excellent season. His career started strong, but playing between Joe Thomas and Alex Mack is an advantageous position to be in. This year, he showed he can still get the job done without two all pros flanking him. Rodger Saffold is a highly thought of rookie tackle, turned bust, turned surprisingly excellent guard. He was solid when blocking for runs or passes and was especially good blocking on screens.
Jason Kelce violates my rule of passing superiority. Sure, he was a fine pass blocker and helped keep Nick Foles clean in the Super Bowl, but his otherworldly run blocking got him the first team selection. Very few centers in recent memory have had the athletic ability and precision to effectively block linebackers and defensive backs in the run game, at least not with sustained success. However, that talent is the hallmark of Kelce’s game and a big part of his place as an all pro.
While Kelce was the king of run blockers, Rodney Hudson donned the pass protection crown among centers. He didn’t play with the best surrounding talent to show of his skills, but they were there – and they were beautiful. I believe, generally, that players have a baseline level of play and are subject to crests and troughs from game to game and season to season. Travis Frederick, in my opinion, is the best center in the game. He has the highest baseline level of play; he’s good at everything you could want a center to do. Kelce and Hudson just had higher crests this year.
David DeCastro may have been the best overall offensive lineman this season. Whether he’s keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright or clearing the way for the famously patient Bell, DeCastro has proven more than capable. Despite slowing down toward the end of the season, he nevertheless allowed just one sack and suffered very little inside pressure to disrupt the passing attack.
Zack Martin may remind fans of Steve Hutchinson, viciously mauling defenders on run plays. In fact, he may be the best run blocking guard in the game. But, like his decorated linemates, Frederick and Tyron Smith, Martin truly stands out as a well-rounded player. Larry Warford was a tremendous player in Detroit but didn’t seem to get the recognition he deserves until he moved to a more popular team with a HOF quarterback. Funny how that works. He rarely allowed pressure and was among the best in the league when healthy.
Lane Johnson only has two 16-game seasons under his belt, but I believe he’s the best right tackle in the game when he’s on the field. He’s among the finest athletes the position has seen, and his technique improves each year. Doug Pederson‘s inspired scheme and playcalling gives Johnson ample opportunity to show off his skill as a RT who pass blocks like a LT while arguably having the position’s best run blocking portfolio.
Daryl Williams used his massive size and tremendous power to lay waste to opposing defenders in the run game, but he also proved to be exceptionally nimble for a guy pushing 340 pounds. Demar Dotson only played 11 games, but he was outstanding in those games. He was among the best pass protectors at the position, which is especially important given Tampa Bay’s use of high average depth of target passes.3
All Pro Defense
Calais Campbell has been an elite defender for most of his career, combining a stunning level of athleticism with the game’s most imposing stature. He lacks some of the quickness he had early in his career, but he compensates with veteran savvy and uncanny power. A sink end who can attack offenses from the edge or the interior, Campbell picked up 14.5 sacks for the best defense in the land.
Von Miller didn’t have the box score numbers we’re used to seeing, but he continued his streak of getting ten sacks in every season he plays double digit games. He has one of the quickest first steps I’ve ever seen, and he uses it to embarrass blockers around the edge (or set them up for a counter and embarrass them inside). Miller is also decent in coverage when called upon.
Cameron Jordan has always been a great player, excellent against the pass and the run while playing every position across the line. Now he stands out more with proper coverage behind him. Everson Griffen is a great speed rusher with plenty of counter moves. He played through injury and lost some effectiveness, but he gets points from me for continuing to contribute despite the pain.
Demarcus Lawrence was standout of the Dallas defense. He excelled as an outside rusher, but he also impressed with second effort plays. Joey Bosa was penalty prone but dominant, regardless. He’s a stud, but it doesn’t hurt that he plays across from fellow pressure maven Melvin Ingram.
Aaron Donald is the best player in the league. He seems undersized, but he more than compensates with explosiveness, functional power, agility, intelligence, and creativity. He’s a modern-day Alan Page, capable of completely destroying gameplans. The Rams’ ineptitude under Fisher obscured Donald’s greatness, but playing for a perennial contender in a huge market should all but guarantee him a HOF spot if he stays healthy.
Before Donald and J.J. Watt came along, Geno Atkins was the premier three tech, recalling the dominant days of Tommie Harris. Injuries have slowed him a little, but he remains a consistent source of interior pressure for the Cincy defense. He wreaks havoc against the run and has a pass rush repertoire rivaling that of top defensive ends.
Fletcher Cox is a fantastic pass rusher and deft run defender. He possesses an advanced arsenal of hand moves to keep offensive linemen from maintaining their blocks, and he has surprising lateral quickness for his stature. Akiem Hicks is great at shocking blockers, finding the ball, and attacking the ball. He’s an excellent example of what happens when players find themselves paired with the right coaching staff to take advantage of their abilities.
Cameron Heyward dominated whether lining up outside in a 3-4 or sinking to DT in nickel (normal) situations. He was the premier pass rusher for a Steelers defense that led all teams in sacks. Mike Daniels got off to a hot start before slowing down a bit. He produced an astounding number of quarterback disruptions, especially given his relative paucity of snaps against pass plays.
Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly have been battling for the MLB crown for at least the last three seasons. When it comes to synthesizing all the responsibilities of the modern inside linebacker, the duo do it at a higher level than anyone else in the sport. They are among the best in the league in both coverage and run support. They are also among the top blitzers at the position – and the guys who do it better aren’t nearly as proficient in other facets of play. They’re smart, instinctive, athletic, future Hall of Famers in their primes.
Lavonte David has been one of the best players in the league for a long time, but being lumped in with pass rushers with gaudy sack numbers has seen him go underappreciated by Pro Bowl and All Pro voters. His otherworldly work against the run may remind older fans of 49ers legend Dave Wilcox. Deion Jones and Telvin Smith are
undersized future-sized, hyperathletic playmakers who excel in coverage.4 Both use their elite speed and focused aggression to offset their relatively small stature. Reuben Foster is the first of three rookie defenders to make the team. His frenzied style can be describe thus: Bob Sanders as a linebacker.
Jalen Ramsey, Casey Hayward, and Xavier Rhodes narrowly make the first team in an incredibly tight year at a stacked position. Ramsey is aggressive and confident, although he did lose focus on occasion. His incredible supporting cast allowed him to get away with that most of the time, and he made up for it with typically excellent coverage and run support. Hayward started his career in Green Bay as one of the best slot defenders around, but his move to the Chargers saw him take his play to another level as a true number one corner. His refined technique reminds me of another corner who consistently locked down receivers despite size and speed limitations: Patrick Surtain. Rhodes is strong and physical and would be right at home playing behind the Purple People Eaters. He tracked top receivers, usually successfully.
While the players on the first team were excellent, they also benefited from a great pass rush. Tre’Davious White had no such benefit but excelled nonetheless. Fellow rookie Marshon Lattimore certainly deserved the press and accolades he received, but I didn’t see much difference between the two young bloods. A.J. Bouye has an argument for being the best cornerback on the Jaguars, and if you swapped him and Ramsey I wouldn’t give much argument. He may be the most technically sound CB in the game. However, it is fair to say that he and Ramsey both benefited from an elite pass rush and having the other playing across the field.
William Jackson wasn’t a rookie, but this was his first season actually playing. If he had a more memorable name or played for a better team, he’d probably get his due as a top flight defender. Darius Slay led the league with 8 interceptions, and his knack for being in the right place at the right time brings to mind Asante Samuel. Jimmy Smith only played in 12 games and has the PED issue looming over his season, which means he only earns an honorable mention despite his fantastic play.
Unfortunately, the lasting image of Harrison Smith‘s season may be him looking completely overwhelmed against the Eagles in the playoffs. However, for the majority of the season, he was the top safety in the league. He is incredibly smart and adept at getting the defense in position. He could patrol the deep field, lock down receivers from the slot, and effectively act as an extra linebacker against the run.
Glover Quin isn’t a household name, but he probably should be. He is fast and rangy, able to capably cover receivers in both man and zone schemes. What really stood out was his maniacal destruction of the line of scrimmage, which you don’t often see from a 200-pounder.
Earl Thomas is Earl Thomas. Only injury can keep him out of Canton. Adrian Amos played well enough to earn first team honors, and he may have done so had he not missed three games. When he was on the field, he was steady and reliable versus the run and in coverage. He only had one pick (on a tipped pass), but it came with a 90 yard return at the end.
Lamarcus Joyner is a converted cornerback, so you’d expect his coverage skills to be in the high end for a safety. He was, although I’m compelled to remind you that he did it playing behind preternatural Aaron Donald and the Wade Phillips pressure machine. Devin McCourty, another converted corner, has been one of the top safeties in the league since he switched to the role. He has consistently demonstrated high football IQ and rare versatility. This year was no different.5
All Pro Special Teams
Justin Tucker is the best kicker in the league and could very well go down as the best in history by the time he calls it a career.6 Tucker was his usual excellent self on both field goals and kickoffs. After accounting for playing his home games in Baltimore and away games in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay, his performance stand out as even more remarkable. Football Outsiders credits the Ravens with 19 added points from field goals, easily the most in the league
Greg Zuerlein based on stats alone, without context, Zuerlein had a case for the top kicker spot. However, he only played in 14 games and missed the playoffs, he faced generally favorable kicking conditions, and he hurt his team with two kickoffs out of bounds. Even if you don’t count the game at Seattle against him, he stills falls short of Tucker this year. Matt Prater was nearly automatic from inside 50 yards, and he even contributed a few punts.
Johnny Hekker is on his way to becoming the greatest punter in history.7 Not only can he kick with power (see his incredible 47.05 gross average) and precision, typically boasting a high inside 20 to touchback ratio and limiting returns, but he can also make tackles and run trick plays with aplomb. He led the league in adjusted yards per punt, which accounts for net average, blocked kicks, downs punts, touchbacks, fair catches, returns allowed, kicks inside the 20, and touchdowns allowed. He did this despite facing short fields due to his efficient offense.
Rigoberto Sanchez punted often. The difference between him and other high usage guys was that he did it well. His 9.3 inside 20 to touchback ratio was solid, and positive punt ratio topped the league.8 Chris Jones maintained the league’s fifth highest AY/P and second highest positive punt ratio.
Pharoh Cooper was the best kick returner and one of the best punt returners in the game. He maintained a solid punt return average despite returning 80% of the punts sent his way, the highest mark among players with 20 or more punt returns. Cooper had the highest adjusted kick return value and the third highest adjusted punt return value in the league, giving him by far the highest total return value.9
Tyler Lockett wasn’t flashy, but he was consistent and, importantly, didn’t fumble on any of his 73 returns. He artificially inflated his punt return average with more fair catches than you’d like, but it was his work on kickoffs that really got him on the team. Jamal Agnew was the best punt returner of the year and would have earned the selection had I decided to leave KR and PR as separate positions. Instead, I chose to name a general returner and conflate kickoff and punt returns.10
All Pro Coaches
Doug Pederson coached the team that won the Super Bowl and tied for the league lead in regular season wins, despite losing his future HOF left tackle and MVP candidate quarterback. Along the way, he outcoached and defeated the teams led by every other COTY candidate. He coached with courage throughout the regular season and playoffs, going for it on fourth down 29 times (with 20 successes), including the Philly Special that will be shown on highlight reels for the next century. He didn’t cower when faced with adversity, empowering his backup quarterback to play with the confidence of a guy who’d been there before.
Like Pederson, Mike Zimmer also lost his starting quarterback. Unlike Pederson, Zimmer also lost his backup quarterback. He allowed his offensive staff to craft suitable game plans for his limited QB, while he designed a defensive scheme that helped produce arguably the greatest third down defense in league history. Sean McVay was the popular choice for the award, leading the Rams from last to first in points scored while smartly focusing on developing his quarterback and letting Wade Phillips and John Fassel take care of the defense and special teams. While the turnaround was significant, I’m not sure how much was the product of great coaching and how much was the product of taking advantage of reversion to the mean.
Pat Shurmur dealt with the loss of two quarterbacks and his dynamic rookie running back and crafted a gameplan that helped career backup Case Keenum rank first in passing DVOA, second in QBR, and fifth in Total Adjusted Yards over average.
Matt Nagy took over playcalling duties for Reid (a very good offensive coach) and outshined his boss. Josh McDaniels crafted the best offense in football, but it’s hard to separate his contributions from those of Brady, Belichick, Gronk, and Dante Scarnecchia.
Dennis Allen took over a defense that perennially fielded some of the worst outings in NFL history. He, along with a significant infusion of talent, helped transform the defense into one of the best in the league. In the Brees/Payton era, a good defense is the only thing that has kept them from consistent deep playoff runs. Let’s hope, for Brees’s sake, Allen keeps it up.
Todd Wash coordinated the best defense in the league, with a fair bit of help from free agents Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye. The Cardinals lost the runner up for DPOY to the Jaguars, but James Bettcher‘s squad nevertheless fielded one of the top units in the league. His squad was undisciplined at times but solid overall.11
- Indeed, while many wide receivers are content to push around defensive backs, few are willing to mix it up with linebackers the way Fitzgerald does. ↩
- The addition of veteran center John Sullivan and the emergence of Saffold as a top tier guard were also important. The coaching upgrade from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay (and Aaron Kromer) was obviously significant as well. ↩
- Just missed the cut: Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Alvin Kamara, Dion Lewis, Devonta Freeman, Marvin Jones, Tyreek Hill, Zach Ertz, Joe Staley, Alex Mack, Ryan Ramczyk, Kelechi Osemele Josh Sitton, Brandon Linder, Brandon Brooks, Mitchell Schwartz ↩
- By future-sized, I mean that small linebackers who are lightning fast and have the coverage skills to basically be an extra safety are the linebackers of the future. Guys like the great Jeremiah Trotter (6’1″ and 260+ pounds) are going the way of the fullback. ↩
- Just missed the cut: Jadeveon Clowney, Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston, Chandler Jones, Brandon Graham, Grady Jarrett, Kawann Short, Gerald McCoy, Damon Harrison, Ndamukong Suh, DeForest Buckner, Ryan Shazier, Sean Lee, C.J. Mosley, Anthony Barr, Patrick Peterson, Kendall Fuller, Kevin Byard ↩
- With his legendary postseason exploits and longevity, Adam Vinatieri will almost certainly go down as the greatest, but I wouldn’t call him the best. ↩
- I know it seems hyperbolic to say that about a kicker and a punter in the same article, but I stand by the assessment. Neither is on Rushmore yet, but they’re both building worthy resumes. ↩
- Positive punt ratio is simply (downed punts + inside 20 punts + fair catches forced) / (touchbacks + returns allowed). It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent measure of green to red plays. ↩
- Adjusted Kick Return Yards are a way of incorporating touchdowns, explosive plays, fair catches, and fumbles into a returner’s average. Value is simply (player average – league average) * returns. ↩
- Just missed the cut: Steven Hauschka, Matt Bryant, Brett Kern ↩
- Just missed the cut: Bill Belichick. Guy who at least deserves a mention, even though I didn’t list his job as a position: Jerry Rosburg, special teams coach of the Ravens. He’s been in his position since 2008 and seen his squads post two of the top ten ST DVOA seasons since 1986, including a 9.2% this season, which ranks 8th in the DVOA era. ↩