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NEW YORK – Five players, including dynamic pass-catchers Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams, are unanimous choices for the Associated Press 2021 NFL All-Pro Team.
Joining the Los Angeles Rams ‘Coup and Green Bay Packers’ Adams in receiving votes Friday from all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league is the Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher TJ Watt and Ram’s defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
While Anders is a multi-year choice – three times Defender of the Year makes the team for the seventh time in his eight professional seasons – Watt is with for the third time. He tied the NFL record for sacks with 22.5. Adams is doing it for the second time and the other two are newcomers as All-Pros. Coup led the NFL in receptions (145), received yards (1,947) and TD catches (16). Taylor was the top rusher on a landslide with 1,811 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground, along with two as a receiver.
“Obviously, it’s an honor to be recognized and it would not be possible without my coaches and incredible teammates, but the awards and distinctions are not what drives me,” said Watt, whose Steelers play in Kansas City on Sunday. . “It’s competing with and for them, this franchise and this city that drives me. My coaches and teammates are the people who put me in a position to make splashes, help us win, and this recognition comes honestly. not without them. “
Like Donald, though not nearly as often as the attacking DT, more players are on the way again on the All-Pro team. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in for the fourth time, and so is Philadelphia center Jason Kelce – one more than his brother, Chiefs star tight-end Travis Kelce. One better than them: Dallas right guard Zack Martin and Baltimore place-kicker Justin Tucker at five.
The triple All-Pros this year are Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward. The two-time All-Pros are Brown’s edge rusher Myles Garrett and Titans safety Kevin Byard.
The other 14 2021 All-Pros make their debut. On the offense, 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is a newcomer in his 11th NFL season, accompanied by Ravens tight-end Mark Andrews, Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs, Brown left guard Joel Bitonio and 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. In defense, linebackers Micah Parsons of Dallas, the only rookie in the squad, and De’Vondre Campbell of Green Bay; Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs; Bills security Jordan Power; and five special team players: Las Vegas player AJ Cole, Jets kick-back Braxton Berrios, Ravens-point return Devin Duvernay, Saints special team ace JT Gray and Colts long-distance runner Luke Rhodes.
Perhaps the most enthusiastic player is Williams, who has been a star blocker for a decade with Washington and now San Francisco, but never got an All-Pro nod.
“I feel more comfortable than I have ever felt,” he said. “I feel like I’m as strong as I’ve ever been. I feel like my football IQ is probably better than it’s ever been. As a football player, as a competitor, you’ll be better every year than last year. “year. That’s my goal and has always been my goal. So if this year is better than last year, I hope so. That’s the plan.”
Almost as unusual as sweeping the votes is having a rookie on the team. Parsons has been so outstanding that he is also considered a strong contender for the Defender of the Year award.
“I think it’s an extraordinary honor,” he said of being an All-Pro. “It speaks to the work and the position the cowboys put me in. I think it’s just a true blessing. It just makes me want to go harder.
“I think when you get things early, you have to learn to maintain it. People always say when you get there, it gets easier. But I think when you get there, it gets harder. Once you get it, you want “I have it. But it’s harder to maintain than it’s just to get there. I just have to keep working and getting better and finding a way to beat this season next year, which is the hardest part. “
Byard was an All-Pro in 2017, and now he’s back on the list after what he felt was a bad 2020 season.
“It means a lot to me, honestly,” he admitted. “I put a lot of work into every single offseason alone, not necessarily with the team in training camp, but just trying to get into next season to try to play the best I can be for my team.
“I’ve talked a lot about it. Just did not feel like I was playing my best last year. So being able to come back and see the kind of work I’ve put in mentally and physically pays off.”
Tucker’s fifth pick for the team is the most among NFL kickers; no one else at the post has been named to more than three.
The Packers, Colts, Ravens, Rams and Cowboys each have three All-Pros. There is an even distribution at conferences of 14 pieces.