Surprising, I know, but I do, in fact, get to fill out an All-Pro ballot. With just one (mostly meaningless) week of NFL games remaining, not much is going to change my mind or my ballot, so this is how mine is probably going to look:
Quarterback - Tom Brady, Patriots
Yeah, going 3-1 without Brady proves that New England has a talented roster, but even at age 39, nobody in the league is on Brady’s level right now. With a 25/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a 110.7 QB rating and a seventh consecutive first-round bye in the AFC playoffs, Brady is once against at the vanguard of quarterbacking.
David Johnson, who is addicted to touchdowns, works here, also. What Bell has managed to do in a suspension-shortened season (and in a contract year, no less) is remarkable, and Elliott is having arguably the best season that a rookie running back has ever had. If the season ended today, Zeke would get my MVP vote, too.
Honorable mention - Davis Johnson, Cardinals
Wide receivers - Antonio Brown, Steelers; Odell Beckham Jr., Giants; Julio Jones, Falcons
After a slow start to the season, Beckham Jr. is ranked in the top three in the league in yards, catches and touchdowns. Jones has more than five yards per game above any player in the league. Brown could be a healthy scratch in Week 17 against Cleveland, which would put his 2016 stat line at 106/1,284/12 — a down year by his standards. Incredible.
Honorable mention - Mike Evans, Buccaneers
Tight end - Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Kelce has only four touchdowns this season, but he ranks in the top-8 in the NFL in receiving yards. and receiving yards per game. .
Honorable mention - Greg Olsen, Panthers
Offensive tackles - Tyron Smith, Cowboys; Donald Penn, Raiders
The anchors of the two best offensive lines in football. Oakland has allowed a league-low 15 sacks and 35 quarterback hits while the Dallas line has enabled both Elliott and fellow rookie Dak Prescott to flourish.
Honorable mention - Taylor Lewan, Titans
Offensive guards - Zack Martin, Cowboys; Kelechi Osemele, Raiders
Martin is the best guard in the league by a pretty considerable margin. Osemele, meanwhile, is proving that he’s worth every penny of the massive contract Oakland awarded him last off-season. David DeCastro is very, very, very close.
Honorable mentions - Marshal Yanda, Ravens; David DeCastro, Steelers
Center - Travis Frederick, Cowboys
Frederick could win this distinction unanimously.
Honorable mentions - Rodney Hudson, Raiders; Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
Donald is an obvious pick, but Williams has quietly distinguished himself as one of the most disruptive linemen in the league. He is listed as an end on the Jets’ depth chart, but he typically plays most of his snaps inside. This formality hurt his Pro Bowl chances, but he deserves recognition. This was by far the most difficult position to pick.
Defensive ends - Khalil Mack, Raiders; Olivier Vernon, Giants
With 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception, Mack is a strong candidate to win Defensive Player of the Year. Vernon’s sack numbers don’t stack up with the likes of Cliff Avril, but he has been arguably the better overall player. His Pro Bowl snub will be rewarded with an All-Pro nod.
Honorable mention - Jadaveon Clowney, Texans
Miller, per usual. The 33-year-old Alexander is third in the league in sacks and first among 3-4 outside linebackers in tackles.
Honorable mention - Vic Beasley, Falcons
Inside linebackers - Bobby Wagner, Seahawks
An injury to Luke Kuechly means that Wagner is the only one I’m comfortable casting a vote for at this point.
Honorable mentions - Zach Brown, Bills; Luke Kuechly, Panthers; C.J. Mosley, Ravens; Ryan Shazier, Steelers
Cornerbacks - Marcus Peters, Chiefs; Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
Peters is still likely another year or so away from hitting his peak, which is terrifying for the rest of the NFL. Peterson was among the lone bright spots for the Cardinals this season.
Honorable mentions - Aqib Talib, Broncos; Richard Sherman, Seahawks
Safeties - Landon Collins, Giants; Eric Berry, Chiefs
Easy picks here. Collins should finish in the top-3 in Defensive Player of Year voting.
Honorable mention - Devin McCourty, Patriots
Kicker - Justin Tucker, Ravens
If only his personality was as robotic as his leg.
Honorable mention - None. Tucker is on his own level.
Punter - Marquette King, Raiders
I like my punters like I like my coffee; fun and enjoyable.
Honorable mention - Pat McAfee, Colts
Returner - Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
Hill has seven punt returns that went for 20 or more yards. The next-closest dude has three.
Honorable mention, Marcus Sherels, Vikings