The 2016 All-Pro team was announced on Friday and while many of the selections are very predictable annually, it’s obvious year in and year out that not all the national panel of 50 media members watch a lot tape and especially when it comes to offensive linemen.
If you look at the All-Pro voting results for the right tackle position this year, you’ll see that rookie Jack Conklin of the Tennessee Titans was the first-team selection. After watching several of Conklin’s games this season, it’s easy to see why he received so many first-place votes.
The second-team All-Pro tackles this year are Mitchell Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs and, Marcus Cannon of the New England Patriots as the two tied with 6 votes apiece. While I understand why Cannon received a few first-team votes, that’s not the case when it comes to Schwartz.
Bryan Bulaga, Zach Strief, and Ryan Schraeder all received first-team votes and that’s also quite surprising. Finally, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert received just one first-team vote and while an encouraging development, he should have received a few more.
In total, we have Gilbert down as allowing 4 total sacks during the regular season and he was very reliable in pass protection. In fact, Pro Football Focus has Gilbert with a pass-blocking efficiency of 96.8, which was the best for right tackles this season. While I don’t agree with everything that PFF writes when it comes to their grades, that PBE number sure seems the be on the money.
While Gilbert’s run blocking probably isn’t quite as good as his pass blocking, the Steelers offense still had impressive numbers when running to their right when the Florida product was on the field. In fact, our game charting shows the Steelers offense averaging 4.82 yards per rush on runs right of middle when Gilbert was on the field at right tackle. I will break down the Steelers successful run rates after the season concludes but I’m willing to bet they were high when running to the right with Gilbert on the field.
Now, I’m not trying to say that Gilbert was a first-team snub this year and especially being as he missed three and half games with an ankle injury. However, I still think he played and showed enough to warrant him being a second-team selection and at least one of the 50 voters agree with me. Had gilbert not missed any games, you could probably make a solid case for him beating out Conklin this year.
Hopefully Gilbert can stay on the field for all 16 games in 2017 and if that ultimately happens he should have a solid chance and finally earning first-team All-Pro honors. He’s really put together a few solid years after signing a 5 year, $30 million contract extension with the Steelers just prior to the start of the 2014 regular season.