The Associated Press has voted in the official NFL All-Pro team for the 2018 season, but that doesn’t mean we here at The Sports Wave can’t give you our opinion. Here is my personal 2018 NFL All-Pro team.
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas CIty Chiefs
You take one look at his 50 passing TDs and there is no way that you can’t put him on here.
Running Back: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
There are probably a lot of shocked people out there that are thinking, “Oh my God, Isaac, what have you done. You’ve awakened the always annoying Cowboys fans!” Well, that may be true, but Zeke deserves this honor. The reason I chose Zeke over the Rams’ Todd Gurley is because of Elliott’s value to the Cowboys offense versus Gurley’s value to the Rams. We’ve seen Gurley look invisible and the Rams still put up 50 points, while the Cowboys relied heavily on Elliott.
Wide Receiver: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
This is a pretty simple decision. Having a receiver like Hopkins is more beneficial to a young QB like Deshaun Watson than you could imagine. Hopkins had 115 catches this season and 0(!) drops. He was also making freak catches all season. If you’ve seen him play, you know why he’s on my list.
Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas is another guy that catches everything thrown his way. The connection between him and Drew Brees is something special, and Thomas is a big part of that high-flying Saints offense.
Tight End: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
This man broke the single season record for receiving yards by a tight end, and for the most part, he was playing without his franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Instead, throwing to him were C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. Case Closed.
FLEX: Travis Kelce, Tight End, Kansas City Chiefs
What Kelce did this season with the Chiefs was incredible. He actually did break the single season receiving yards record for a TE, but Kittle broke it a few hours later. Kelce lined up all over the field for the Chiefs and was a great safety blanket for a young QB like Mahomes.
Left Tackle: Tyronn Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Smith helped pave the way for Ezekiel Elliott to claim the NFL rushing title for the second time in three years, while also being doing a phenomenal job protecting Dak Prescott’s blind side.
Left Guard: Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts
This has got to be the a unanimous pick for everyone in the NFL community. Even though he’s an offensive lineman, he still earned his way to being the sixth overall pick, and he was a brick wall for the Colts’ o-line this year, which is almost certainly the most improved unit in the NFL this year.
Center: Max Unger, New Orleans Saints
Unger and the rest of the Saints offensive line gave 40 year old Drew Brees all the time in the world on dropbacks, while creating massive holes in the defense for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram on runs.
Right Guard: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
Yanda was a huge part of the Ravens potent running game, especially after Lamar Jackson won the starting job at QB. There always seemed to a be a gap worth running through in Yanda’s area of the field.
Right Tackle: Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints
Perimeter running was a staple of the Saints offense this year with the speedy Alvin Kamara, and Ramczyk didn’t allow any edge defenders to set the edge and force Kamara to go somewhere he didn’t want to go. Ramczyk was also a big part of Brees’ pass protection.
Edge: Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
Mack was as dominant as any defensive player in 2018 as he helped the Bears return to their well-known Monster form. The Bears defense was ferocious as they led the league in turnovers, interceptions, points allowed and DVOA.
Edge: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
If Khalil Mack isn’t the best edge rusher in the league, Miller is. His speed and quickness off the line of scrimmage is inhuman, and he constantly is a matchup nightmare in blocking schemes.
Interior: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
He had 20.5 sacks as a defensive tackle.
Interior: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
When you talk about the most dominant defenders in the NFL, Watt is always one of the first names to come up. He is arguably the best defensive player of his generation and will for sure be in Canton someday.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll was able to revive the Seahawks defense this season, and as the “quarterback of the defense,” Wagner certainly deserves a whole lot of credit. Wagner was all over the field making plays all season long. Perhaps the most impressive stat is that he did not miss a single tackle all season.
Linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
Kuechly is always in the conversation for best middle linebacker, and that shouldn’t change this year. Like Wagner, Kuechly was all over the field making big plays for that Ron Rivera defense.
Linebacker: Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
He led the league in tackles (163) as a rookie. Pretty impressive.
Cornerback: Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears
Here we have another member of the Bears vicious defense. Fuller tied for the league lead in interceptions with 7 (Damontae Kazee, Xavien Howard). Another thing that puts him on my list is that Prince Amukamara, the other starting CB on the Bears, was one of the most targeted defensive backs in the league. Not because Amukamara isn’t good, just because QBs are scared to throw at Fuller.
Cornerback: Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys shocked pretty much everyone with their tough defense this season, and Jones was a big part of the back end of that defense. Jones has emerged the last couple seasons as a great cornerback, so he deserves to be on here.
Strong Safety: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
Many projected James to go in the top ten in the 2018 draft, but he for some reason fell all the way to the Chargers at pick 17. He was immediately labeled as possibly the steal of the draft, and by the way he played in his rookie season, that is quite possible. The Chargers took a huge leap on defense en route to a 12-4 record this season and James was a lockdown safety on the back end.
Free Safety: Eddie Jackson, Chicago Bears
To me, Jackson is easily the best safety in the league. His Earl Thomas-like range and ball skills not only earn him more INTs, but allow his teammates, like Fuller, to jump routes and make plays on the ball. Thomas’ range helped guys like Richard Sherman produce, and Jackson is doing the same with the Bears.
FLEX: Bryce Callahan, Nickelback, Chicago Bears
Over the past couple of seasons, Callahan has emerged as one of the top nickelbacks in football, and I think he was THE best this season. I never saw him get beat in coverage and he always made great tackles in open space.
Kicker: Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
Lutz only missed two kicks all year. It’s hard to get better than that, especially in today’s NFL.
Punter: Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles Rams
Hekker not only put up historic numbers as a punter, but also excelled as a passer on fake punts.
Kick Returner: Andre Roberts, New York Jets
It seemed like Roberts was always making plays in the kick return game.
Punt Returner: Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
He is the most fun player in the NFL. At 5’6” it’s almost comical watching him evade defenders like he’s in a video game. Nobody does this better than him.
Special Teamer: Adrian Phillips, Los Angeles Chargers
He was on the first team all-pro list, so I put him here.