As the second half of the 2019 NFL season gets underway, here’s a look at the 23 position players currently on the inside track to become first-team All-Pros.
QB: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
The league’s highest-rated passer is running away with MVP honors. He’s thrown 22 touchdown passes to just one interception. He’s at least a level above every other quarterback in the NFL right now.
RB: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
The 23-year-old leads the NFL with 1,244 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns, which isn’t far off of a record-breaking pace entering the second half of the season.
WR: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Thomas leads the league in receptions and receiving yards, despite the fact he hasn’t had a healthy Drew Brees at quarterback. He’s on pace to catch a record 146 passes, while Evans has similar receiving stats and is tied for the league lead with seven touchdown grabs.
FLEX: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Only Cook and McCaffrey have more than 1,200 yards from scrimmage. They’ve been the centerpieces of successful offenses, which is incredibly rare at that position in this day and age.
TE: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
You could make an argument for Austin Hooper of the Atlanta Falcons, who has more catches and touchdowns than Kelce, but the 30-year-old still has a yardage edge over every other tight end in the league. He’s also been more consistent and is part of a better offense.
LT: Terron Armstead, Saints
The dominant pass-blocker has yet to give up a sack despite the quarterback changes in New Orleans. He’s a big reason the Saints keep winning, even though they’ve been without Brees and Alvin Kamara.
LG: Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts
He’s become the best run-blocker in the league, period. He also hasn’t given up a sack.
C: Rodney Hudson, Oakland Raiders
A recent ankle injury has held him back, but the 30-year-old has still been the steadiest all around player at a position that is thin across the league.
RG: Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia Eagles
The highest-rated qualified interior offensive lineman at Pro Football Focus has surrendered zero sacks and just four pressures, and he’s been penalized just once.
RT: Mitchell Schwartz, Chiefs
The 2018 All-Pro has given up zero sacks and taken just two penalties. He’s without a doubt the best right tackle in the league.
Edge: Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
Barrett leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks, giving him a shot at Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5. But Watt is tied for the league lead with 31 quarterback pressures and 20 quarterback hits, which combined with three forced fumbles is enough to beat out Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns.
DT: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams; Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars
Donald hasn’t been quite as dominant as in years passed, but he’s still a jaw-dropping disruptive force who crushes it in both pass and run defense and has big numbers yet again. But Campbell has actually been better on paper. The 2017 All-Pro has 16 quarterback hits and the best run-stopping grade among qualified defensive tackles at PFF.
LB: Luke Kuechly, Panthers; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; Eric Kendricks, Vikings
Kuechly continues to be on track for the Hall of Fame. He’s the only player in the league with at least 75 tackles and seven passes defensed. Wagner’s the only player in the league with at least 75 tackles and multiple sacks, and Kendricks is experiencing a career year at age 27. He’s not only phenomenal in coverage, but he’s got the league’s second-best run stop rate among qualified inside linebackers.
CB: Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots; Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers
Opposing quarterbacks have just a 45.1 passer rating when throwing at Gilmore, who truly has separated himself from the cornerback pack in 2019. He’s also got three interceptions, as does Sherman, who has similarly dominant numbers in coverage in a hell of a bounce-back season. He’s giving up just 0.6 yards per cover snap.
S: Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans; Harrison Smith, Vikings
Byard is an interception machine who rarely gets burned in coverage and is quietly superb against the run as well. He might be the league’s best all-around safety. Harrison also does a little bit of everything and rarely makes mistakes.
DB: Shaquill Griffin, Seahawks
It seems like every week he’s facing a superstar receiver. And every week, he essentially shuts them down. The numbers aren’t quite there yet and he could use more support, but the third-year Central Florida product has become a coverage star.