Matt Ryan Beats Out Tom Brady For All-Pro Nod; Matthew Slater Patriots’ Lone Rep


January 6, 2017

Tom Brady’s stellar 2016 season wasn’t enough to earn the New England Patriots quarterback his third career first-team All-Pro selection.

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons was selected as the quarterback for the NFL’s 2016 All-Pro first team, The Associated Press announced Friday.

Ryan is also the favorite to win the league’s Most Valuable Player Award after completing 69.9 percent of his passes, throwing 38 touchdowns with seven interceptions and posting the fifth-highest passer rating in NFL history (117.1) during the Falcons’ 11-win regular season.

The Patriots had just one representative on the All-Pro first team: special teamer Matthew Slater, who earned his first career selection. Slater has been voted to the Pro Bowl in each of the last six seasons and on Wednesday was announced as the winner of the 2017 Bart Starr Award.

Six New England players earned second-team All-Pro honors, however: Brady, right tackle Marcus Cannon, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerback Malcolm Butler, safety Devin McCourty and special teamer Nate Ebner.

Here is the full list of first-team All-Pros:

Matt Ryan, quarterback, Falcons
Ezekiel Elliott, running back, Dallas Cowboys
David Johnson, running back (flex), Arizona Cardinals
Antonio Brown, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
Julio Jones, wide receiver, Falcons
Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyron Smith, left tackle, Cowboys
Kelechi Osemele, left guard, Oakland Raiders
Travis Frederick, center, Cowboys
Zack Martin, right guard, Cowboys
Jack Conklin, right tackle, Tennessee Titans

Khalil Mack, edge rusher, Raiders
Aaron Donald, interior lineman, Los Angeles Rams
Damon Harrison, interior lineman, New York Giants
Vic Beasley, edge rusher, Falcons
Von Miller, linebacker, Denver Broncos
Sean Lee, linebacker, Cowboys
Bobby Wagner, linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
Aqib Talib, cornerback, Broncos
Marcus Peters, cornerback, Chiefs
Chris Harris, cornerback, Broncos
Eric Berry, safety, Chiefs
Landon Collins, safety, Giants

Special teams
Justin Tucker, kicker, Baltimore Ravens
Johnny Hekker, punter, Rams
Cordarrelle Peterson, kick returner, Minnesota Vikings
Tyreek Hill, punt returner, Chiefs
Matthew Slater, special teamer, Patriots

Some observations:

— The competition between Ryan and Brady wasn’t particularly close. Ryan received 29 votes to Brady’s 15. Aaron Rodgers was third with five votes, followed by Derek Carr with one.

— Slater edged Ebner by just two votes (14 to 12). Slater said last month he believed Ebner had been the better player this season.

— Cannon’s second-team All-Pro nod is definitive proof of the right tackle’s tremendous improvement this season. A whipping boy for Patriots fans throughout his career, the 28-year-old now looks like a cornerstone of New England’s offensive line for the foreseeable future after earning a five-year contract extension.

— Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski received All-Pro consideration despite playing in just eight games. He garnered one vote, good for third place behind Kelce and Carolina’s Greg Olsen.

— A New England player named “Matt Develin” received three votes as a special teamer. There is no Matt Develin, so those votes likely were meant for Patriots fullback James Develin.

— Hill and Tucker were the only unanimous selections.

— Three of the Cowboys’ five starting offensive lineman earned first-team All-Pro nods, which shows just how dominant that unit has been this season. The Chiefs and Broncos each sent half of their starting secondary.

— Dallas led the NFL with five first-team All-Pros, while Kansas City ranked second and paced the AFC with four.

— This year marks the first time since 2013 the Patriots have not had multiple representatives on the AP’s All-Pro first team. They had two in 2015 (Gronkowski and Stephen Gostkowski) and 2014 (Gronkowski and Darrelle Revis).

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images

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