Justin Smith gets All-Pro votes at two positions

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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.

31 responses to “Justin Smith gets All-Pro votes at two positions

  1. No, it makes it embarrassing…embarrassing for these professionals that have demonstrated their lack of knowledge regarding the players and sport they’re voting on when they elect a player for the wrong position.

  2. actually, it wasn’t a mistake. and the real reason is much more impressive.

    this year, the 49ers played a little more than half their defensive snaps in their base 3-4, and a little less than half their defensive snaps in 4-man front nickel/dime packages.

    in the 3-4, Justin Smith plays DE. in the 4-man fronts, he slides inside and plays DT. so even though he’s a starter at DE, he DOES play both. and he earned both of those All-Pro selections while he was playing 91% of the team’s total snaps on defense.

    blue collar as it gets in the NFL. Justin Smith for DPOY. but don’t take my word for it. he’s ProFootballFocus’ DPOY too.

  3. This shows EXACTLY how flawed this system, and EXACTLY how clueless the voters for these awards are.

    Pretty sad when 35 people out of 50 don’t know a players position, they have no business even getting a vote anymore!

  4. he has always been good, but not this good. wish we still had him in cincy. great leader, high motor, and intense.

  5. Justin Smith should win defensive player of the year.

    The guy is All-Pro in two positions and makes everyone else around him better (Aldon Smith and his 14 sacks for example).

    His only problem is that his contributions aren’t ones that are flashy or show up on that stat sheet like Allen’s or Ware’s sack numbers would.

  6. It’s not “impressive” or amazing. He plays one position, but the voters are too stupid to understand. There should be separate listings for 3-4 formations and 4-3 formations. Each of them requires drastically different linemen and linebackers, each should be recognized separately.

  7. The All-Pro team uses a standard 4-3 base for defense, and a standard I formation single TE offense. Lots of teams don’t even have a FB, and even when they do, they rarely participate in the majority of snaps… a third WR generally gets more snaps than FB, but that’s not how it works.

    That’s why Smith was voted as an interior lineman. While he currently technically plays as a DE, in a 4-3 defense, he would play a DT.

    Richard Seymour has been a career DE until Oakland and now plays DT in a 4-3.

    Also, Vince Wilfork played DE with Kyle Love at NT almost all year and got his votes at DT as well.

  8. If it wasn’t already extremely obvious, the people who vote are dumber than the fans and should lose their rights. The media sees things different from how they actually are

  9. Do athletes vote on sportswriter awards? Right.

    35 “journalists” should lose their votes.

  10. I was a little confused when I saw the list too. I assumed they meant Aldon at one of those two spots.

  11. Justin is a great player. But these morons voting on this always prove they shouldnt have votes. Most of them are beat writers for various teams, and have no idea whats going on outside the team they are covering, other than what they read online. They arent watching other teams games. Its an embarrassment to the league.

  12. the ultimate victim is a real DT, Vince Wilfork. He just had his best season and got 5 votes.

    The system is a joke.

  13. a 3-4 end is really a DT with a different name, just like a 3-4 OLB is like a DE

    3-4 OLBs get the sacks (stats) and thus get all pro bowl votes. 4-3 LBs get the shaft.

  14. As noted above – he plays both positions so there isn’t much of a story here other than trying to fit players into a specific scheme for an award team isn’t always perfect.

    SF uses both a 3-man and 4-man line. The 4-man is more prevalent in their nickel / 3rd down package. When they go to the 4-man line, Aldon Smith comes in as the DE and Justin Smith shifts to DT. He’s a great player either way.

  15. Can’t believe the number of people calling the voters morons…

    As many have pointed out, the voting is based on a 4-3 defense. Also as many have pointed out Justin Smith plays both DT and DE depending on the personnel the 49ers have on the field. A majority of the time, Smith played more of a DT position this year.

    He’s absolutely deserving of recognition(that up until this year, he largely hasn’t received), as he’s an integral part of this defense that went 14 straight games without allowing a rushing TD, and 30 something straight games without a 100 yard rusher.

  16. Peter King doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    When Aldon Smith (a candidate for rookie of the year that even King may have heard of) is on the field, Justin Smith lines up and plays Defensive Tackle.

  17. The mixup is due to a converted DE playing stand up on the Line. Aldon “All Day” Smith is a BEAST of a player who lined up on the LoS to Cowboy’s right. This creates confusion amongst the writers who don’t normally cover the 9ers or the NFCWest. They take a look at the highlights and they see All Day there and know that he played DE in college and just assume that is his position in the NFL.

    Yeah he was used as an End at times, but he’s all over the field in a variety of ways.

    Cowboy’s position has never changed once though. He deserves DPoY for the kind of play he had on the field this year. Nothing new with that guy but it’s nice to finally see that he’s getting noticed for it. He caught a guy who runs a flat 4.3-4.5 from behind and made him look like he was standing still. McCoy was too busy jukin guys and his awareness was focused on the game winning score. Too bad for him Cowboy has 12 gears in the transmission. McCoy only has 6. Yeah the dude is a sports car compared to Cowboy. But ever seen how fast a Big Rig can go without dragging weight along for the ride? Those things can straight up motor.

    Congrats Cowboy couldn’t think of a better guy to have nail down two spots in AP voting. 😀

  18. Well is Ngata listed as a DE also? In Balt 3-4 D.
    So that make two
    3-4 DE play inside so much it has to be accepted to look at them either way
    I like what alldonesmith says:Jan 7, 2012 7:10 AM
    and imagine something close for Ngata

  19. Does anyone remember that loser Jeremy Green from the Football Today Podcast? I remember him going on a huge rant once talking about how bad Justin Smith was.

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