There are a host of honors to be handed out in January and February lauding performances from the just completed regular season. The Associated Press gets the love at the NFL Honors program, but the Pro Football Writers of America offer up their awards first.
Earlier today, the PFWA named San Francisco 49ers second year tight end George Kittle and rookie kick returner Richie James to their All-NFC team. Later in the morning, they announced their all-rookie team, and right tackle Mike McGlinchey was the only player listed. McGlinchey and Braden Smith (Indianapolis Colts) were the two offensive tackles on the team.
McGlinchey is no surprise, and will likely be on the AP’s all-rookie team. James did not make the team after earning All-NFC honors, but it’s not a shock. Kansas City Chiefs kick returner Tremon Smith got the nod instead. He finished the season fourth in kick return average at 26.8 yards per return. That was actually 1.6 yards per return better than James. Smith did not make the All-AFC team because fellow AFC returner Andre Roberts had a strong season (29.4 yards per return). We’ll see how the AP handles it.
Linebacker Fred Warner came up short in the voting. The PFWA selected Darius Leonard, Roquan Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch as their three linebackers. Leonard and Vander Esch are outside linebackers, while Smith is an inside linebacker. Warner had three more tackles than Smith, but the latter had five sacks and one interception compared to Warner’s none in both categories.