The Associated Press released its 2019 NFL All-Pro team that was selected by a national panel of 50 media members. This is supposed to be the team that we put stock in, and not the Pro Bowl teams. George Kittle made the first team. The star tight end received 33 of 50 votes. Travis Kelce received the other 17. Kittle was a no-brainer and, despite not having the statistical season he did last year, he was better in 2019. Kittle was a complete player and the clear cut MVP of the team. Congrats George. You deserve this.
Cornerback Richard Sherman made second-team All-Pro. By being named to the AP’s All-Pro second team, Sherman earns a $2 million incentive. There was quite a bit of criticism when Sherman negotiated his contract in 2018. The veteran bet on himself after he was coming off an Achilles tear, and won. It’s been quite the season for Sherman. It doesn’t feel like he gets targeted much of late, but he remains an impact player for this defense. Sherman only gave up one touchdown all season, and only Casey Hayward went more snaps in coverage between receptions allowed than Sherman. He allowed the third-lowest passer rating his way, at 46.8. I thought his run defense was more impressive than what Sherman did in coverage. Sherman was tied for ninth in run stops this season. His willingness and aggressiveness helped San Francisco limit big running plays on the edge.
DeForest Buckner was the third and final 49er to make the All-Pro team. Buckner was on the second team, along with Sherman. Buckner played quite well this season, and it still didn’t feel like he had the same impact as Arik Armstead or Nick Bosa. That’s no slight to DeFo; that’s just how good the other two played. Though he didn’t have the same statistical year as 2018, Buckner still finished with eight sacks, which is tied for sixth among all interior defensive linemen. Buckner was also seventh in hurries. Buckner’s statistical “drop off” makes sense when you factor in the number of times he was doubled during the regular season. Opposing offenses double-teamed Buckner 268 times. Two-hundred and sixty-eight times. He still won just under 11% of the time.
Remember, if you say someone is a snub, you have to remove someone else off the list. For edge rushers, Bosa received only two votes. You have to be sensational all season, and I imagine the lack of sacks in the second half hurt Bosa’s chances. That, and for whatever reason, voters don’t really vote for rookies. I don’t think it’s fair to say, “if Buckner made the second team, then Bosa should have made the first team” as they play different positions. It doesn’t work like that. This will be the last season Nick Bosa isn’t an All-Pro. That’s my bold prediction.
Knowing that there are actual linebackers in the correct positions on the All-Pro team, Fred Warner should be listed. Warner received six votes, which were the eighth-most. Eleven people voted for T.J. Watt as a linebacker, even though he was on the edge rusher ballot. Add that to the flawed process. We went over this during the Pro Bowl snubs, but Warner had a better season than Bobby Wagner. That’s not being a fanboy, that’s being objective:
There will be people that say “who cares, the 49ers are in the playoffs” or something along those lines. The players care. Richard Sherman is currently on a twitter tirade calling people out, saying he wouldn’t make it after his contract. Players get bonuses for making these teams. Money, bragging rights, confidence. You name it, it helps.
Congrats to the three players that made it, and hopefully next season, we see even more 49ers make it.