The Associated Press announced the 2016 NFL All-Pro Teams on Friday, headlined by Atlanta Falcons signal-caller Matt Ryan, who beat out New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady for the first-team quarterback spot.
Here is a rundown of the entire First Team courtesy of the AP:
|2016 AP NFL All-Pro First Team|
|Edger Rusher||Khalil Mack||OAK|
|Edger Rusher||Vic Beasley Jr.||ATL|
|Interior Lineman||Aaron Donald||LA|
|Interior Lineman||Damon Harrison||NYG|
|DB||Chris Harris Jr.||DEN|
|Special Teamer||Matthew Slater||NE|
Ryan and Brady are arguably the top two candidates for NFL MVP honors, and Matty Ice's selection over Brady—who missed four games due to a suspension—could be a sign of things to come in MVP voting.
The 2016 campaign was the best of Ryan's career, as he threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions en route to leading Atlanta to the NFC South title.
Brady countered with 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 12 contests.
Additionally, three rookies made the All-Pro Team: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Kansas City Chiefs punt returner Tyreek Hill and Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was a banner year for first-year players in that regard:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
3 rookies made the NFL All-Pro Team (Ezekiel Elliott, Tyreek Hill, Jack Conklin). First time since 1981 that 3 rookies made the team.1/6/2017, 5:12:59 PM
Elliott was one of an NFL-high five players to make the team from the Cowboys, and he discussed the importance of the honor, per Barry Wilner of the AP:
It's special. Just to be able to come into this league my first year and dominate and just play at the level I'm playing, and just kind of get these honors already as a rookie, it means a lot. I was never even All-American in college. I was never a first-team All-American. I'll never get a Buckeye tree at Ohio State. That's the one thing that I regret the most.
Kind of seeing it come into the league and making All-Pro this rookie year, it definitely means a lot.
David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals joined Elliott as a running back selection, which left the Pittsburgh Steelers' Le'Veon Bell off the team despite a historic season, according to the Steelers' official Twitter account:
Pittsburgh Steelers @steelers
In 2016, Le'Veon Bell became the 1st player in NFL history to average at least 100 rushing & 50 receiving yards per game in a season. https://t.co/6u6wuV9ZG91/6/2017, 2:59:05 AM
Including the three rookies, 17 players earned All-Pro honors for the first time in their careers. Only seven players named to the 2015 All-Pro Team repeated the honor in 2016.
The AP (h/t Levi Damien of SilverandBlackPride.com) also released the Second Team Friday:
|2016 AP NFL All-Pro Second Team|
|WR||Odell Beckham Jr.||NYG|
|Edger Rusher||Jadeveon Clowney||HOU|
|Edger Rusher||Cameron Wake||MIA|
|Edger Rusher||Olivier Vernon||NYG|
|Edger Rusher||Brandon Graham||PHI|
|Interior Lineman||Ndamukong Suh||MIA|
|Interior Lineman||Calais Campbell||ARI|
|Interior Lineman||Gerald McCoy||TB|
|S||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||GB|
|Special Teamer||Nate Ebner||NE|
Johnson was the only player to be named to both teams, as he made the First Team as a flex and the second team as a running back.
Although Brady was edged to First-Team honors, he did manage to headline the Second Team despite his four-game absence.
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