On Wednesday Pro Football Focus named its First-Quarter NFL All-Pro Team, headlined by quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, who got the nod over second-team QB Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
Two Pittsburgh Steelers defenders were named to the team, with edge rusher T.J. Watt earning honors over second-teamer Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward was named second-team at his position, behind DeForest Buckner of the Indianapolis Colts.
In its brief overview of T.J. Watt’s performance to date, Sam Monson of PFF said, in part: “T.J. Watt had a strong case a season ago for Defensive Player of the Year. Apparently, he’s determined to claim it this season in case we weren’t paying attention in 2019. Even though he has played in only three games compared to most players’ four, he ranks fifth among edge rushers with 18 total pressures…. Watt has the best pass-rush win rate (29.6%) of any edge rusher in the game and has had three straight games with a PFF grade above 90.0 to open his year.”
Cleveland Browns Players on the All-Pro Team
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the Cleveland Browns have five players on PFF’s quarter-mark All-Pro list, three first-teamers and two second-teamers, including three members of the club’s offensive line. Those linemen are right guard Wyatt Teller and right tackle Jack Conklin, with center J.C. Tretter second-team at his position. It helps explain why the Browns are leading the NFL in rushing yards (818), rushing average (5.88) and rushing touchdowns (8). It also helps explain the resurgence of quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has completed 72 of 115 passes for 729 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, Myles Garrett is a first-team edge rusher and Denzel Ward is a second-team cornerback. For his part, Garrett leads the NFL in total pressures with 27, is tied for the NFL lead in sacks with five, and has three forced fumbles in four games.
Also worth noting is that only two of the five Browns players on the list were drafted by Cleveland, with Denzel Ward selected fourth overall in 2018 and Garrett first overall in 2018. The three offensive linemen were all selected by other NFL teams, with Teller acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills and Tretter a fourth-round pick of the Packers in 2013. Conklin was selected eighth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.
Other All-Pro Players from the AFC North
As for the other teams in AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals each have two players on PFF’s list.
The Ravens have the first-team kick returner in Devin Duvernay (the only returner in the NFL with a touchdown this year) as well as second-team cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who recently signed a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension with Baltimore.
The Bengals have safety Jessie Bates III and special teams ace Cethan Carter, a latter a fourth-year tight end out of the University of Nebraska.
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