Oakland Raiders linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack is an animal on defense, and his great play at both linebacker and defensive end is giving him an honor on the Associated Press’ All-Pro NFL team that no other player has had:
“I do whatever I can to help the team win. I’m a team guy,” said Mack. “Whether it’s dropping in coverage or rushing the passer. I can do either. I think they [the voters] saw that.”
Mack racked up 15 sacks in his second NFL season after getting only just 4 in his rookie season. Those 15 sacks were second in the NFL to Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, who was also a unanimous selection for the team as well as Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
The Panthers, who finished the NFL season with the best record in the entire league at 15-1 had the most All-Pro selections. The favorite to win MVP right now quarterback Cam Newton was one of them, as was corner Josh Norman, fullback Mike Tolbert, and linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski and kicker Stephen Gostkowski were the All-Pro selections for the New England Patriots, making them one of five teams to have two players elected to the team.
The Bengals had defensive tackle Geno Atkins and tackle Andrew Whitworth, and their rival Steelers had receiver Antonio Brown and guard David DeCastro.
For the Cardinals, their strong secondary was showcased. Corner Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu made it, while the Rams had defensive tackle Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker as All-Pros.
Two of the greatest comeback stories in the NFL this year were also selected to the team. Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who was diagnosed in 2014 with lymphoma, made a huge return to the NFL this year, and dominated, earning the selection to the All-Pro team.
“It’s an incredible honor. It means a lot to me,” said Berry, who also made the 2013 All-Pro team. “Football’s a team game, so I have to give credit to those guys around me as well. We’ve been hungry from the get-go. I don’t know how to explain it, but I think you see it throughout our play. I think our play speaks for itself.”
49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who suffered a major knee injury in the 2013 NFC Championship Game versus the Seattle Seahawks returned this year, making the All-Pro team after making it in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Seahawks rookie wide receiver/kick returner Tyler Lockett was also announced as an All-Pro.
“It means a lot,” Lockett said. “There are a lot of great players who come in to the NFL and do an exceptional job and have a great career, but they’re never able to make it on the All-Pro team. It’s nothing that they did, just other players may have had a better season. To be a rookie to be able to come in, it’s a crazy experience and a crazy accolade to have.”
The other All-Pros look like this: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, Browns tackle Joe Thomas, Ravens guard Marhsal Yanda, and Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.
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