Last Friday, the Associated Press revealed their 2020 NFL All-Pro first and second teams. Since 1940, the AP All-Pro honor has been bestowed on players that have exemplified excellence at their position on the football field. However, like most honors that are awarded by vote, such as the Heisman Trophy Award, the NFL MVP Award, and even the NFL Pro Bowl, the All-Pro team is subject to debate and derision.
The 2020 NFL All-Pro teams are no exception.
There has been outrage at the three votes withheld from consensus QB1 Lamar Jackson. Christian McCaffrey, while being undeniably brilliant in 2019, hasn’t been that amazing that he commands two spots in the All-Pro first team. T.J. Watt managed to earn All-Pro first team and second team honors at two different positions.
What alternatives are there to recognize outstanding achievement on the field other than a vote?
Here at Pro Football Network, we’ve been using our Offensive Share Metric (OSM) throughout the 2019 NFL season to shine a light on the true performance of an individual. OSM grades players based on factors solely within their control, allowing us to see where a player has done all he can to make his team great.
We’ve used the OSM grades to create our own Pro Football Network NFL All-Pro offense. Below you’ll find our NFL All-Pro first team. You can find our PFN OSM 2020 All-Pro second team right here.
There is a minimum requirement to have played 10 games, and each position has specific requirements to have been met to qualify, as per NFL Next Gen Stats.
QB: Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans – 34.46 OSM grade
The much-maligned former quarterback of the Miami Dolphins might not be the immediate first thought when you think of an All-Pro quarterback. However, since his trade to the Tennessee Titans, Tannehill has been nothing short of terrific.
The first statistic you think of when measuring quarterback achievement is passing yards. You won’t find Tannehill leading the way there. With just 10 starts in 2019, it would be unreasonable to think that you would.
However, he’s been incredibly accurate in 2019. He has the third best completion percentage in the league, at 70.3%, which happens to be his career best. He leads the NFL in completion percentage above expectation with an 8.1% differential.
Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson are leading candidates for the MVP award, but Tannehill has a better differential than both when it comes to air yards completed versus air yards intended.
He’s has balled out in 2019 and led the Titans to the NFL Playoffs.
Ryan Tannehill is your NFL All-Pro first team quarterback, as per PFN OSM.
RB1: Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – 21.27 OSM grade
Derrick Henry led the league in rushing yards (1540), rushing touchdowns (16), and average rushing yards per game (107.7). The Associated Press voters deemed that only worth of an All-Pro Second team honor. These statistics, however, only begin to scratch the surface of how truly dominant Henry has been this NFL season.
He’s achieved these things despite facing an 8-man box defense on 35.31% of his plays. Only four other players in the NFL this season have faced more, and none of them have over 1,500 yards.
When faced with such a wall, it would be reasonable to expect a runner to have to take the long way around to make any progress down field. That’s not the case for Henry. He’s the third most efficient back in the NFL, traveling on average 3.45 yards to gain a yard. He will just bulldoze through your defense.
All these things combine to make Henry our All-Pro OSM RB1.
RB2: Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints – 21.11 OSM grade
Henry’s running back stable mate in our NFL All-Pro first team may come as more of a surprise.
Latavius Murray’s 637 rushing yards in 2019 don’t immediately scream production, but it’s how he’s gained those yards that make Murray our RB2. Like Henry, Murray has faced a large amount of 8-man box defenses, accounting for 35.02% of his snaps.
Despite this, he has managed to grind out 4.4 yards per carry, the best YPC he’s achieved since his rookie campaign. Murray ranks in the top 15 running backs for efficiency, with 3.56 yards traveled to gain a yard.
The conventional wisdom is that Alvin Kamara is the back that makes the New Orleans Saints offense tick, but Murray has outperformed in 2019. Kamara is only our 26th ranked running back, per our OSM.
WR1: Hunter Renfrow – Oakland Raiders – 39.00 OSM grade
The legend of Hunter Renfrow continues! The diminutive wide receiver was a cult hero at Clemson, and his legend has only continued to grow at the Oakland Raiders.
For a team that was depending on the production of Antonio Brown, Renfrow has been the surprise package. When he suffered a late season injury, the Raiders were a worse team without him.
He is the highest graded wide receiver by OSM. His combination of reliability, separation, and ability to make plays after the catch have made him a go-to target for Derek Carr in 2019. His reliability even coined a catchphrase:
“Third and Renfrow”
Although he doesn’t have the top-end speed of someone like Mecole Hardman, Renfrow managed to create the third most separation amongst wide receivers, averaging 3.5 yards of separation with each catch. He made good use of the separation, with a 1.9 yards differential between actual yards after the catch and expectation. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was a top-10 performance.
WR2: Deebo Samuel – San Francisco 49ers – 38.63 OSM grade
While Renfrow’s performances may have gone slightly under the radar on a losing Raiders team, Deebo Samuel has been firmly in the spotlight for a San Francisco 49ers team that have Super Bowl aspirations.
After a serious injury in 2017, there were concerns that he may never quite fulfill his potential. Those fears have been well and truly quelled, as Samuel makes our NFL All-Pro first team with the second highest OSM grade.
His 802 yards are the fourth best for a rookie wide receiver, despite not accounting for as much of the 49ers air yards as the likes of A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin have for their teams.
Samuel also has the 6th best catch completion percentage in the NFL (70.4%). Like Renfrow, he has made plays after the catch with the 8th best yards after the catch differential.
Samuel has been truly instrumental in the 49ers success this season.
TE: Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans – 44.32 OSM grade
Jonnu Smith has had big shoes to fill in Tennessee, replacing the production of top tight end Delanie Walker. Smith has filled those shoes admirably, and his performances have earned him the highest tight end OSM overall grade.
Smith leads all tight ends in yards after the catch differential, making an extra 2.9 yards against the expectation. Not only does that lead all tight ends, but it’s good enough for second amongst all pass catchers in the NFL. It helps in making plays after the catch when you’re creating the 4th most separation.
Smith has some of the safest hands in the business, with a catch completion percentage of 79.5%.
As the Titans don’t utilize him often, accounting for only 5.62% of their intended air yards, Smith won’t blow you away on the stat sheet like George Kittle or Travis Kelce.
The Titans land their third player on our NFL All-Pro first team, a tribute to a team making the most of their opportunities to succeed.