Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the only unanimous choice for the Associated Press 2018 NFL All-Pro team, which was chosen through balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.
“That’s surreal,” Donald said Friday. “It’s a blessing. Wow! You see the hard work pay off.
“A lot of credit to my teammates and my coaches for pushing me and helping me.”
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City’s second-year sensation, drew 45 votes at quarterback and was joined by teammates Travis Kelce at tight end, Tyreek Hill as the flex player and Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.
Colts left guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard were the first rookie teammates on the All-Pro roster since Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears in 1965.
“These are the kind of guys who have the DNA, the makeup of everything that we are looking for,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “All the intangibles, all the character qualities, everything about them. It’s a really hard filter to get through to get marked that way and both Quenton and Darius had that on their card. So that says something about their maturity and how fast we think they will develop.”
Nelson and Leonard are among four rookies on the squad, a first for the AP team. Seahawks punter Michael Dickson and Chargers safety Derwin James also made it.
Chicago also had four All-Pros: edge rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson and punt returner Tarik Cohen.
Two players made All-Pro for the fifth time: Houston edge rusher J.J. Watt and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The All-Pro team had a split of 14 AFC and 14 NFC members.
There were 16 newcomers: Mahomes; Schwartz; Fuller; Jackson; Cohen; New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas; Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari; Philadelphia Eagles interior defensive lineman Fletcher Cox; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore; Chargers defensive back Desmond King and special teamer Adrian Phillips; Jets kick returner Andre Roberts; and the four rookies.
Players with previous All-Pro honors who made the 2018 team included Donald and Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, each for the fourth time; Mack, Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin and Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, each for the third time; and Hill, Rams running back Todd Gurley and Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whose 46 votes were the most for an offensive player, each for the second time.
Quarterback — Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
Running Back — Todd Gurley, Rams
Flex — Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Tight End — Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Wide Receivers — Michael Thomas, New Orleans; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
Left Tackle — David Bakhtiari, Green Bay
Right Tackle — Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City
Left Guard — Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis
Right Guard — Zack Martin, Dallas
Center — Jason Kelce, Philadelphia
Edge Rushers — J.J. Watt, Houston; Khalil Mack, Chicago
Interior Linemen — Aaron Donald, Rams; Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia
Linebackers — Luke Kuechly, Carolina; Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Darius Leonard, Indianapolis
Cornerbacks — Kyle Fuller, Chicago; Stephon Gilmore, New England
Safeties — Eddie Jackson, Chicago; Derwin James, Chargers
Defensive Back — Desmond King, Chargers
Placekicker — Justin Tucker, Baltimore
Punter — Michael Dickson, Seattle
Kick Returner — Andre Roberts, New York Jets
Punt Returner — Tarik Cohen, Chicago
Special Teamer — Adrian Phillips, Chargers
Quarterback — Drew Brees, New Orleans
Running Back — Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Flex — Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
Tight End — George Kittle, San Francisco
Wide Receivers — Julio Jones, Atlanta; Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Left Tackle — Duane Brown, Seattle; Terron Armstead, New Orleans
Right Tackle — Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans
Left Guard — Joel Bitonio, Cleveland
Right Guard — Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
Center — Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh
Edge Rushers — Von Miller, Denver; Cameron Jordan, New Orleans; Myles Garrett, Cleveland; Danielle Hunter, Minnesota
Interior Linemen — Chris Jones, Kansas City; J.J. Watt, Houston
Linebackers — Von Miller, Denver; C.J. Mosley, Baltimore; Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas
Cornerbacks — Byron Jones, Dallas; Xavien Howard, Miami
Safeties — Jamal Adams, New York Jets; Harrison Smith, Minnesota
Defensive Back — Derwin James, Chargers
Placekicker — Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants
Punter — Johnny Hekker, Rams
Kick Returner — Cordarrelle Patterson, New England
Punt Returner — Desmond King, Chargers
Special Teamer — Cory Littlejohn, Rams