The NFL's 2014 All-Pro team was announced today. To be honest, there are some real head-scratchers therein. Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller and Chris Harris, Jr were all named to the second-team, but were snubbed from the first-team.
I don't use "snub" lightly. Their absence from the first-team roster is conspicuous, considering that the Denver Broncos led the league with nine players elected to the Pro Bowl. Peyton Manning earned a Pro Bowl berth, but received zero All-Pro votes, after notching all 50 votes last season.
Like their quarterback, DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Julius Thomas earned a trip to the All-Star game, but couldn't muster a single All-Pro vote. Aqib Talib and Ryan Clady couldn't translate their Pro Bowl nods to the All-Pro team either, but Clady received 4 votes and Talib 1.
The only team in the NFL to finish in the top-5 in both total offense and defense is absent from first-team All-Pro honors. That's the head-scratcher.
Bryant: 88 receptions, 1,320 yards, 15.0 YPC, 16 touchdowns.
Thomas: 111 receptions, 1,619 yards, 14.6 YPC, 11 touchdowns.
Thomas' longest reception went for 86 yards; Bryant's 68. Both players' teams finished with a 12-4 record. They're both deserving of the honor, but voters apparently were more impressed by Bryant's campaign. But for crying out loud, we're talking about a player (Thomas) who had ten 100-yard receiving games.
Houston: 68 total tackles, 23 for a loss, 22 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1,057 snaps +51.1.
Dumervil: 37 total tackles, 15 for a loss, 17 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 626 snaps +17.7.
Miller: 59 total tackles, 16 for a loss, 14 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 926 snaps, +54.0.
Houston led the league in sacks and is absolutely deserving of first-team honors. Dumervil, on the other hand, I question. He played significantly less snaps, utilized more as a situational pass rusher. Miller had the more impressive season, overall, especially when you factor in his abilities in defending the run.
Revis: 47 total tackles, 2 INT, 557 yards and 2 TDs allowed, 72.6 QBR allowed, +17.7.
Sherman: 57 total tackles, 4 INT, 422 yards and 1 TD allowed, 48.4 QBR allowed, +18.2.
Harris: 54 total tackles, 2 INT, 1 sack, 356 yards and zero TD allowed, 42.8 QBR allowed, +28.4.
Plain and simple, Harris' season was more impressive than either first-team player. He shutdown his assignment regularly and only allowed a long of 22 yards. Sherman's longest reception allowed was 60 yards and Revis' 45. The only conceivable excuse for Harris' absence from the first-team is name recognition, which casts a shameful pall on the voters. Broncos fans wonder if it's about popularity or production.
One interesting insight that came to light was the regard that a guy like Brandon Marshall received from voters. He may have been snubbed from the Pro Bowl, but at least he received one All-Pro vote; a nice mention for a guy who came out of nowhere to lead the NFL's No. 3 defense. His future is bright.
To be honest, although Ware, Ward, Talib, Clady and Julius "Its So Easy" Thomas all had impressive 2014 campaigns (mostly), it's understandable that none of them could garner a spot on either All-Pro team. Ware's lack of production over the last month of the season likely didn't help in the eyes of the voters. Thomas virtually disappeared since week 10, making him a shocker for even the Pro Bowl.
But if you're a Broncos fan, you're likely seething at the exclusion of Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller and Chris Harris, Jr. from the first-team. However, second-team All-Pro on these young players' resumes is no small consolation prize.
For Harris, it is the icing on the cake of a remarkable season that saw him begin it with a partially torn ACL, but finish with a new contract, a Pro Bowl berth and second-team All-Pro honors.