The makeup of the annual Associated Press All-Pro teams has become increasingly archaic: With two running backs and a fullback making the first team, the 2015 All-Pro lineup looks more like something out of the 1940s.
But that may change. Barry Wilner of the Associated Press tells PFT via email that the AP will re-examine the makeup of its All-Pro team going forward.
That’s good news. The AP’s All-Pro team has been used for decades as the semi-official All-Pro team for the NFL, and it should reflect what the NFL actually looks like. It doesn’t. Today’s passing attacks mean that we see three-receiver sets on the field far more often than we see even one fullback. We also see two-tight end sets far more than we see two running backs on the field together, and yet the All-Pro ballot has room for two running backs and only one tight end.
What would make the most sense is for the All-Pro ballot to have space for one running back, two wide receivers, one tight end and one “flex” position where the voters could choose a fullback, a third receiver, a second tight end or a second running back. If the voters feel that a fullback had a good enough season that he’s deserving of All-Pro consideration, they’d still be free to vote for one. But a fullback on the All-Pro team shouldn’t be automatic anymore.
Changes should also be coming to defense, where the current format features two defensive ends, two defensive tackles, two inside linebackers, two outside linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties. These days, a nickel defense is a base defense, so it would make more sense to have an additional defensive back on the All-Pro team, even at the expense of a linebacker or defensive lineman.
There’s a brand of old-school football fan that loves fullbacks and inside linebackers and wouldn’t like to see them removed from the All-Pro team, but the game has changed. All-Pro teams should change, too.