NFL

Football Insiders All-NFL First Team

on

As a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, I was afforded the opportunity to vote for the end of the season NFL Awards, All-Pro teams and all-conference teams.  My awards ballot was already released and now it’s time for my All-NFL Team.

All-NFL First Team

Offense

QB- Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

He was my league MVP, so it’s pretty self explanatory.

RB- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The top two in the NFL in rushing, so it makes sense.  They also did it without playing behind the very best offensive lines.

WR’s- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons; Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jones had an amazing season and was the main reason why the Falcons were even a .500 team.  Brown may actually be the best wide receiver in the NFL, despite having almost none of the measureables.

TE- Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

When Gronk was healthy, he was a legitimate MVP candidate.  The gap between him and the second-best tight end is larger than the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 at any other position.

C- Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers

Kalil was a good player entering 2015 and like the rest of his team, he had a breakout season.  The Panthers offense makes offensive line play even more difficult and Kalil handled it beautifully.

OG- Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens; Richie Incognito, Buffalo Bills

Yanda has been the best interior lineman in football for a while and he was stellar again despite the team’s lack of success.  Incognito didn’t play in 2014 and apparently put his free time to good use.  He was excellent all season long and the Bills found an All-Pro off the street.

OT- Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns; Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys

Thomas has played at an extremely high level for a long time and he dominates with near flawless technique.  Smith is another tactician who plays the left tackle position as good as anyone in the world.

Defense

DE- J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders

J.J. Watt is still the best defensive player in football and he’s unblockable by one person.  He nabbed my vote for DPOY.  Mack had a breakout season and he looks like the second-coming of DeMarcus Ware.

DT- Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams; Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers

Donald would have been my second choice for DPOY, as he has become the most dominant defensive tackle in the game.  Short broke out this season and was outstanding as he led a very good Panthers defensive line.

OLB- Von Miller, Denver Broncos; Melvin Ingram, San Diego Chargers

Miller is an explosive of an edge rusher as you’ll find and he can not be handled by one blocker. Ingram had a great season as he was able to remain healthy and his breakout year was even more impressive considering the injuries around him.

ILB- Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers

Even though Kuechly missed time early on with a concussion, he’s still far and away the best inside linebacker in football.  There’s nothing he can’t do at the position and he has a tendency to make big plays.

CB- Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers; Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks

Norman was tremendous all season long and although the Panthers play a lot of Cover-2, he still played his role better than anyone else played theirs.  You may not have heard as much about Sherman this season, but he was still outstanding.  He was able to shut down Antonio Brown.

S- Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals; Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins

The Honey Badger was great all season long, and it’s a shame that he’ll miss the postseason with a torn ACL.  Hopefully he can come back at full strength next season.  Jones may have been overlooked for the Pro Bowl, but he was the very best player on the Dolphins defense

Special teams

PK- Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

The guy is as close to a sure thing as there is in the NFL.  It’s amazing how the Pats were able to go from Adam Vinatieri, maybe the best ever, to Gostkowski and not skip a beat.

P- Johnny Hekker, St. Louis (now L.A.) Rams

Hekker has the best leg in the business and he was one of the Rams rare bright spots.

KOR- Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

Patterson was an amazing kick returner this season and although he’s not living up to his first-round billing as a receiver, he’s doing his part on special teams.  Not a total bust.

PR- Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles

Sproles is aging like a fine wine and he was one of the lone playmakers on the Eagles.  There’s nobody in the league that’s feared more returning punts.

ST- Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals

Bethel excels in kick and punt coverage, but let’s not pretend he’s head and shoulders above everyone else that does it.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.