Antonio Brown's statistical haul that was the 2013 season would have been seen in a more impressive light five years ago. With quarterbacks throwing as often as they do, and elusive and explosive runners like Brown being treated as wide extensions of the running game, it's not too unusual to see them rack up 110 catches, the way Brown did in 2013.
Still, a second-team All Pro bid is a spot a Steelers receiver hasn't seen in decades, and it was good enough for him to be named the 33rd best player in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Brown was the third-highest ranked wide receiver in PFF"s position stats, having earned the highest receiving grade - he drew a mediocre grade in terms of blocking which put him below Chicago's Brandon Marshall and Green Bay's Jordy Nelson. That seems fair, both Marshall and Nelson are excellent receivers who also block at a high level, and have at least four inches and at least 20 pounds on Brown.
Steelers Film Room
Steelers Film Room
It's certainly no shame to either finish behind them (albeit not by much, he only trailed Nelson by .5 point). Brown's 1,499 receiving yards were a franchise record, and his performances against the Bears (nine catches, 196 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets) and Green Bay (six catches, 105 yards) were two of his best all year.
Safety Troy Polamalu finished at 95th on the list, five spots higher than ex-Browns safety (now with Denver) T.J. Ward - most generally accept Ward is a better player than Polamalu. Polamalu's inclusion is impressive considering he handled both safety and linebacker duties throughout 2013. Playing without consistency at one position isn't easy, but Polamalu still pulled off a strong year all-around - and it'd look better had he caught the ball against Miami. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill hit him in the gut on a third down pass on Miami's first series of the game.
Polamalu picked him off later anyway, and returned it for a touchdown.