For the regular season, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith depended on short, quick passes in order to move the ball down the field. Smith tied with Rams QB Case Keenum in fastest average time to throw for the 2016 regular season with 2.38 seconds vs. 2.64 seconds NFL average (minimum 200 pass attempts). Smith only threw 44 deep passes this regular season, which was 9.5 percent of his attempts this season. That 9.5 percent was the 2nd lowest percentage among QBs with 200 or more total pass attempts (12.2 percent NFL average).
Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi was one of the more efficient running backs in the league as he was one of ten running backs with 200 carries to finish below the league average in efficiency (Ajayi traveled 3.94 yards on average for every rushing yard gained, league average 4.01).
Greg Trott/Associated Press
Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had a sensational statistical year with quarterback Andrew Luck in 2016. As Luck's favorite target all year, Hilton accrued a massive 38.6 percent of his air yards. Luck and Hilton become one of the NFL's deadliest combinations and Hilton finished the year with a league-leading 1,448 receiving yards.
Broncos linebacker Von Miller and Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo will be Pro Bowl teammates for the AFC. Both were menacing in their pursuit of the quarterback this year as they dominated in separation from the quarterback, defined as the average distance in yards away from the quarterback when the ball is released or when a player records a sack. Miller was only 3.8 yards of separation away from the quarterback on pass plays, which tied for the league lead (with teammate OLB Shane Ray), while Orakpo averaged 3.9 yards of separation away, 3rd among NFL among players with over 100 pass rushes.
Tyreek Hill had an outstanding rookie season and asserted himself as one of the most dynamic big-play threats in the NFL. What makes Hill most effective, though, is his speed as he is one of the fastest players in the league. Hill had the two top speeds among all ball carriers this past season. He would've added a 5th touchdown of 90+ yards had his 105-yard kick return for a touchdown not been called back in Week 3. On that play, Hill reached a max speed of 23.24 MPH, which was the fastest speed reached by a ball carrier this season.
No pocket, no problem
For the 2016 regular season, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott not only passed outside the pocket often (18.1% of his passes), but had a passer rating of 103.6 on those throws, putting him in the top five among the league's quarterbacks on such throws outside the pocket.
With his tendency to be more patient, Elliott was one of the more efficient running backs in the league, running 3.66 yards for every yard gained, putting him at third in the league among running backs. Pro Bowl teammate Jordan Howard ranks just above him with an efficiency of 3.61 yards for every yard gained.
Mike Roemer/Associated Press
Separating from the pack
Attending his 3rd Pro Bowl in as many years, Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. thrived this season when he was pressed at the line of scrimmage (less than three yards of distance between the receiver and the closest defensive back at the time of the snap). Among all wideouts with at least 20 targets when pressed, Beckham's average separation of 2.6 yards when pressed is highest in the league.
Peter Read Miller/Associated Press
Seahawks DE Cliff Avril is known throughout the league as one of the best speed rushers in the NFL. That is evidenced by having the league's best average time to sack, averaging 3.34 seconds to the quarterback on his 11.5 sacks this season.
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press
Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most dangerous returners in the NFL due to his speed and playmaking ability. Patterson owns two of the top five speeds for fastest ball carrier on a kickoff return this season, reaching speeds of 21.66 mph in Week 1 and 21.48 mph in Week 11.
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