On Friday, the Associated Press released the final selections for First Team NFL All-Pro.
Among the highlights were Christian McCaffrey making the team at two positions — running back and flex — while Lamar Jackson highlighted a quartet of Baltimore players making the cut.
For the New England Patriots, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was one of two unanimous selections in this year’s team joining New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas. He is joined on the First Team by special teamer Matthew Slater, also earning his second All-Pro nod.
On the All-Pro Second Team, right guard Joe Thuney was the lone Patriots representative while Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Nate Ebner all received votes.
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Stephon Gilmore is among the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year and earned his second consecutive All-Pro selection. He set a new career-high with six interceptions in 2019, including a pair of pick-sixes, the first two of his career. His 20 passes defended also tied a career-high set last season. Gilmore made 53 tackles including 44 solo this season as well.
Most of Slater’s best plays don’t show up on the stat sheet. Throughout the 2019 season, Slater was routinely the first one down on punt coverage, downing several punts inside the five-yard line and forcing a couple of muffs by returners. He blocked a punt this season and also recovered a blocked punt for his first career touchdown. The captain played in a career-high 321 snaps for 72 percent of all Patriots’ special teams plays.
Though the New England offensive line was more known for its struggles this season, Thuney was a big exception. He allowed just one sack this season with 11 QB hits and six pressures, all strong numbers for an interior lineman. It is his first All-Pro Second Team selection in his career after being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2016.
The Patriots had several players worthy of a potential All-Pro nomination, here are the best of the rest.
Kyle Van Noy — Arguably the Patriots most important defensive player, Van Noy made a big impact disrupting the pass with consistent pressure and a team-high 18 QB hits and 26 pressures. He recorded 6.5 sacks, second only to Jamie Collins with seven on the year, and also forced three fumbles. His five run-stuffs were among the best on the team as well.
Julian Edelman — It was a career-year for Edelman who finished the season with 100 catches for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns, all while dealing with multiple nagging injuries. Given how rough the Patriots’ offense looked at times, for Edelman to put up the numbers he did was impressive.
Devin McCourty — McCourty ranked second in the NFL among safeties with five interceptions this season and also recorded 58 tackles. The defensive captain forced two fumbles, recovering another during the season while showing tremendous awareness for the ball.