The Associated Press announced its All-Pro team on Friday. For the first time ever, a player made it onto the first team and the second team at two different positions.
49ers defensive end Justin Smith received only nine votes at his true position of defensive end. He also picked up 35 votes at the position he doesn’t play: defensive tackle.
And so Smith, along with Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, is a first-team All-Pro defensive tackle. And Smith is a second-team All-Pro at the position he plays, defensive end.
The confusion arises from the fact that Smith is a defensive end in a 3-4 defense, which has caused plenty of voters — at least 35 of them — to think that he’s an interior defensive lineman. Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who has one of the 50 AP votes, insists that Smith is a defensive end, not a defensive tackle.
This makes the fact that Smith made it to the first team at a position he actually doesn’t play even more amazing, and impressive. And with his name appearing as a first-teamer on 44 of 50 ballots, it’ll be interesting to see how many votes Smith gets for defensive player of the year, an award that doesn’t hinge on getting his position right.