The Associated Press announced its starters and second team for the All-Pro team Friday, as determined by 50 AP voters. These are the designations that are given extra weight when the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting comes up. It's the best historical indication of what players truly dominated their positions.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver. No second team quarterback.
The lack of a second team quarterback indicates that Manning was the unanimous choice. Which bodes well for his MVP chances, to say the least.
You have to put together a special season to knock Adrian Peterson to the second team. McCoy and Charles deserve the honor. It's a shame that Matt Forte was passed up for second-team honors. He was a lot more valuable than Lacy.
A sign that the fullback is becoming extinct: Guys always make this team for their rushing skills, not their blocking ability.
It's hard to argue with these choices. Davis is such a dual threat that we wouldn't have argued if he won first-team honors.
Gordon led the league in receiving, but is he really the second best receiver in the league? No one would take him as a complete player compared to Green. I'd take Brown over Gordon this year too. This was a fantasy football pick.
Thomas was an easy selection. This was not Peters' best season, so his selection is a sign that there weren't many standout options and that, frankly, it's hard for writers to evaluate offensive line play. Smith's second-team choice is a deserved sign of his quick progress at left tackle.
It is nice to see Mack, one of the rising young linemen in the league, get some due.
This was one of the most clear cut positions in the league. Despite playing on losing teams, Watt and Quinn should be among the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year. Hardy is going to make a lot of money in free agency.
The McCoy vs. Suh debate dominated 2010 NFL Draft discussions. Now they are the first-team defensive tackles on the All-Pro team. It's nice to see a top of the draft that works out as expected. We suspect the second-team choices all got one vote each. Poe, Wilkerson and Casey all had breakout years.
This is why the All-Pro team is so great. David didn't even make the Pro Bowl team, but he is rightly recognized here as one of the most dominant defensive players in the league this year. Brooks' second-team nod is surprising, especially with Justin Houston not making the team.
It's telling and appropriate that Bowman got the nod over teammate Patrick Willis. Burfict is one of the best undrafted players of recent years. Dansby didn't make the Pro Bowl, but turned out to be one of the most surprisingly effective free agent pickups in the league.
This would have been my starting tandem, too. It's hard to argue with any of the players here. Well done, voters!
Berry was vastly improved from 2012, when he was coming off a torn ACL. Thomas has an outside chance at Defensive Player of of the Year. It's good to see Ward get some love. The second-team players likely got one vote apiece.
Placekicker: Justin Tucker, Baltimore.
Second team: Matt Prater, Denver.
Punter: Johnny Hekker, St. Louis.
Second team: Brandon Fields, Miami.
Kick returner: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota.
Second team: Dexter McCluster, Kansas City.