Now that every team in the league has gotten an opportunity to play at least half of their schedule, we have been seeing an influx of reflective articles, including a variety of outlets discussing their ‘midseason All-Pro’ units, and things of that nature.
One venue posted theirs just yesterday, that being Pro Football Focus, the favorite and cherished analytics website by all here. I’ll cut right to the chase here: two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the team, while nobody else was even listed as an honorable mention.
That wide receiver Antonio Brown made the list is about the least shocking revelation of all time. He is by far the sites’ top-graded player at his position in the league this season, the only one with a grade above 90. JulIo Jones was the other wide receiver to make the list, with DeAndre Hopkins and Golden Tate receiving honorable mentions. Doug Baldwin also made it as a ‘flex’ player.
the article provided an ‘elite’ stat for everybody on offense and defense who made the list. For Brown, it noted that he is averaging 2.97 yards per route run, the best mark in the league—which should not be surprising when you consider that he has a commanding lead in receiving yards with 835, the next-closest being T.Y. Hilton with 702.
The other Steeler who was honored with a spot on the list is right guard David DeCastro, who in his fifth season is playing about as well as he ever has. The article noted that he and Zack Martin of the Cowboys have spent much of the season neck and neck as the top guard in the league, but they gave the edge to the Steeler.
The ‘elite stat’ provided for DeCastro is the fact that the Stanford product has not allowed Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked this season, or even hit, and has allowed just eight hurries on the year, which is one per game. My own elite stat is that he hasn’t missed a snap yet.
It’s also worth noting that the site lists DeCastro as their top run-blocking guard in the NFL, so the fact that they also note the paucity of pressure allowed in pass protection is a testament to the all-around quality of his play in 2017.
Of course we can always debate about who did and did not make the list. Honestly that’s really the only productive thing that such things as this actually accomplish, if you want to call that productive. So let’s do that.
I am surprised that nobody on defense even received an honorable mention. I am thinking in particular of Cameron Heyward at defensive end, who is playing arguably the best football of his career, but a case can be made for Ryan Shazier as well, in spite of his at time erratic play and missed tackles.