Welcome to the first part of the RealSport NFL Awards show! We start with our All-Pro team, the best of the best at each position through the regular season as voted for by the staff here at RealSport NFL. It’s important to note that this is an individual award for each player. Team records go out of the window here, as do this seasons relation to previous seasons performance. So let’s get into it. We start with the offense, a * denotes a unanimous selection and there is the 2nd team All-Pro at the bottom. Agree? Disagree? Want to argue the case for your favourite player? Leave a comment or contact us on Twitter & Facebook.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
(Passing) 3,837 yards, 59.7%, 35 TD, 10 INT + (Rushing) 636 yards, 10 touchdowns, 5 fumbles It was a close run thing between Newton, Tom Brady and Carson Palmer but in the end the the Panthers signal caller got the nod from our staff and claims the prize. Newton’s rise to prominence this season has been well documented, and what he lacks in the precision and completion percentage of the classic pocket passers he makes up for with his legs and deadly deep ball. What was particularly impressive about Newton’s season was that it all came without his deadliest weapon Kelvin Benjamin, who was injured before the season and did not play a snap. Newton had only Greg Olsen as a reliable target, with Ted Ginn Jr’s inconsistent hands costing big plays on many occasions, and while his ability to scramble and run forces defenses to play certain ways he took advantage of those limitations well.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings*
(Rushing) 1,485 yards, 4.5 ypc, 11 TD + (Receiving) 222 yards, 7.4 ypc + 7 overall fumbles
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Rushing) 1,402 yards, 4.9 ypc, 6 TD + (Receiving) 271 yards, 8.2 ypc, 1 TD + 5 overall fumbles When Adrian Peterson plays a full season he is comfortably the best back in the NFL, and he proved so again this season. He had a massive 7 games with 100 yards rushing or more as he once again carried his teams offense on his back. AP wasn’t as all conquering as he was in 2012 when got 2,000 yards and the league MVP award, but nor is his offensive line. Neither center John Sullivan or the man mountain Phil Loadholt played a single snap this season yet even with diminished blocking and an iffy passing game around him Peterson still lead the NFL in rushing. 2015 was a grand return to health and form for Doug Martin as he played all 16 games and hit 1,400 yards for the second time in his career. Martin’s season was highlighted by a superb 235 yard day against a tough Philadelphia side and he finished with a impressive 4.9 yards per carry. With an all star cast of running backs going down injured this season Martin’s ability to take over 300 touches and keep on going is a testament to his efforts to get healthy and drop 20 pounds before the season. If he can sustain this form into next year then with an improving Jameis Winston the Buccaneers could threaten the playoffs in 2016.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
136 catches, 1,834 yards, 13.5 ypc, 10 TD + 3 overall fumbles
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
136 catches, 1,871 yards, 13.8 ypc, 8 TD + 3 overall fumbles Antonio Brown is quite simply a marvel. At 5 foot 10 he is giving up 6 or 7 inches to the rest of the “elite” wide receivers, a lack of speed made him a 6th round choice in the 2010 draft and yet he is quite probably the best receiver in the NFL today. He gets open with incredible ease and put up staggering numbers despite having Landry Jones and the corpse of Michael Vick throwing him the ball for 3+ games. Julio Jones doesn’t have the best hands in football… That’s pretty much the only criticism one can have of the Falcons star, the rest of his game is almost flawless. Jones ended up leading the NFL in targets, receptions and yards and was the only Falcons player to be consistently excellent all year.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
72 catches, 1,176 yards, 11 TD + 0 overall fumbles Gronk might not have played all 16 games this year but his importance to the team and all round play set him apart from the rest of the pack. On the surface his numbers are actually disappointing. He didn’t really take over a game this season like he has done in the past but his presence on the field forced teams to defend him, and the Patriots as a whole, in certain ways. Defenses focused on trying to re-direct him off the line of scrimmage or at the top of his stem but Gronk is simply too big for one person to do that and keep up with him through the route. There were times when he was getting bumped by three different players on one route. That kind of attention is special. And yet he’s also a superb blocker who can be a difference in the run game. He can wall off ends, get to backers and even throw wham blocks against the biggest defensive tackles. It’s that aspect of his game that puts him above the likes of Jordan Reed or Greg Olsen.
Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati Bengals
Another sublime season for Joe Thomas in which he made protecting a quarterbacks blind side look easier than any else possibly could. His protection is based around an enormous kick step that gives him the time to set up and establishes his position, his balance is flawless, allowing him to react to inside or outside moves and then he’s happy to guide a rusher around the QB or back into the mess inside rather than try to overpower him and get yanked out of position. His motions are all silky smooth and he never looks harassed. If only the Cleveland team could play as well as the now 6 time All Pro left tackle. Whitworth has long been underappreciated by most but he is as good as any non-Joe Thomas left tackle could be. 34 and still going strong Whitworth was a rock for the Bengals all season on the left side, even being comfortable moving to the right for unbalanced formations – a job that would throw some tackles off their game. With all that said we may be approaching Whitworth’s final season in Cincinnati. He is a free agent after the 2016 season and the Bengals have already drafted his replacement Jake Fisher.
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
Richie Incognito, Buffalo Bills
While everything seemingly crumbled around him Yanda put in another monstrous season at right guard for the Baltimore Ravens. his quickness, balance and use of leverage are a joy to watch and will be missed in the playoffs. Incognito has had a renaissance in Buffalo this year. After missing half of 2013 and all of 2014 due to his less than stellar behaviour off the field he made it his mission to annihilate defenders on a regular basis in 2015. Incognito did just that, becoming an absolute brute in the run game for Buffalo all year and more solid against pass rushers than you might think. He even flashed some good mobility getting out in front of LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams on pulls and screens.
Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
A return to form for Kalil this season as he played a vital part in the success of the Panthers consistent production on the ground. Carolina were 2nd in the NFL in total rushing which is a fantastic achievement and speaks volumes about Kalil’s leadership and organisation when you consider he had a pair of inexperienced guards either side of him and no one on the line had been with the team for more than a year never mind the 9 he has now put in with the club.
2nd Team All-Pro Offense
QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
RB: Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams & Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
TE: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
OT: Trent Williams, Washington Redskins & Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles
OG: David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers & Mike Iupati, Arizona Cardinals
C: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
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