The actual All-Pro list will be coming out shortly, but anticipation of the official event, Pro Football Focus has published its own All-Pro list, on which the Pittsburgh Steelers have received moderate representation.
Two Steelers have made their first-team All-Pro list, and no doubt you will be able to guess at least one of them. Wide receiver Antonio Brown was their highest-graded player of the season at his position, with Julio Jones after him. the second-team selections were Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas.
The other member of the black and gold finding representation on the site’s list is guard David DeCastro, who, like Brown, was also their highest-graded player for the season at his position. The former first-round pick, like Brown, also made the actual Pro Bowl, and will likely also see his name once again on the actual All-Pro list shortly.
Of the former, Sam Monson writes that “Antonio Brown remains the class at the wide receiver position. He led the league with over 1,500 receiving yards despite being injured 21 snaps into his Week 15 encounter with the Patriots and sitting out the final two games of the season”.
He went on to note that “Brown’s year was so good he was garnering MVP buzz, one of the rare occasions you will hear that about a wideout”. Citing his 2.87 yards per route run, he concluded that “there is no better wide receiver than Brown, who in addition to his production was able to make a series of mind-blowing catches in big situations over the year”.
You’ll get no argument from me. Nor for the praise of DeCastro.
“DeCastro didn’t allow a sack all season, surrendering just 15 total pressures over the year”, Monson noted, “but it was his run-blocking that truly took a leap forward in 2017. His run-blocking grade ended at 91.9, and that represents a significant jump over his previous career baseline, perhaps finally realizing his true potential as one of the best guards in the game”.
There are certainly some omissions that will raise from eyebrows, including Le’Veon Bell, who was overlooked in favor of Todd Gurley and Dion Lewis. Saints rookie Alvin Kamara also made the second-team All-Pro list at the ‘flex’ position slot.
Cameron Heyward was left out in favor of Cameron Jordan, also of the Saints, and Calais Campbell of the Jaguars, and truly, as great a season as Heyward had, Jordan and Campbell are equally deserving. Plus, it’s not like it actually matters who the site selects.
Ben Roethlisberger was overlooked in favor of Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, but did make the list of what is essentially the ‘best of the rest’. Noting that the gap between Roethlisberger and Ryan was small, Monson wrote that “there was no better quarterback in the game over the second half of the season. His play down the stretch was a big reason the Steelers propelled themselves to a first-round bye”.