The NFL’s Associated Press All-Pro Team was announced on Friday and three Steelers’ defenders made the first team. Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, edge rusher T.J. Watt, and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick all earned first-team honors.
Rookie Diontae Johnson was selected to the second team AP All Pro as a punt returner. Additionally, T.J. Watt was also selected to the second team AP All Pro as a linebacker.
For Cam Heyward, it was his second year as being chosen as first team All Pro. His previous election was in 2017. For both Watt and Fitzpatrick, it is their first selection to the illustrious honor.
The Associated Press All-Pro Team is made up of the top offensive, defensive, and special trams’ players in the NFL at their given positions. On first team, only 11 players on offense are selected with 14 players on defense and five specialists.
Cameron Heyward had his most tackles in a season in 2019. With 83 combined tackles, Heyward added 9.0 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Heyward joins the Rams’ Aaron Donald as the two selections on the interior of the defensive line.
T.J. Watt turned in such an impressive season in 2019 he is on the short list of names associated with the Defensive Player of the Year. With 55 tackles, 14.5 sacks, two interceptions, and an NFL-leading eight forced fumbles, Watt joins the Cardinal’s Chandler Jones as the other edge rusher as a first-team selection. Watt was also voted to the second team as a linebacker. With the Steelers using a 3-4 base defense, it is sometimes difficult to determine if an outside linebacker should qualify as an edge rusher or linebacker. In Watt’s case, he earned honors for both positions.
Minkah Fitzpatrick joined the Steelers in Week 3 of 2019 via a trade with the Miami Dolphins. While with the Steelers, Fitzpatrick tallied five interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Fitzpatrick also added a touchdown on one of his two fumble recoveries with the Steelers, having a total of three recoveries on the season as he added one in Miami.
Diontae Johnson was selected to the AP All-Pro Second Team as a punt returner. Only returning one punt prior to Week 10, Johnson returned one kick for a touchdown on the season. His 12.4 yards per punt return was second in the NFL in 2019.
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