Fullback Mike Tolbert is the only part-time All-Pro

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Why should the Associated Press re-examine the makeup of its All-Pro team? Primarily because fullbacks are guaranteed a first-team All-Pro spot, even though they’re part-time players.

This year, the first-team All-Pro fullback is Mike Tolbert of the Carolina Panthers. But Tolbert was only in the starting lineup for three games in the 2015 season, and he played just 38.3 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps. That’s by far the fewest snaps of anyone named first-team All-Pro.

In fact, the All-Pro teams are so heavily skewed toward old-school run-heavy formations of the 1940s that the three first-team All-Pros who played the fewest snaps are the fullback and the two running backs: After Tolbert, running back Doug Martin played the second-fewest snaps of any first-team All-Pro, and the other running back, Adrian Peterson, played the third-fewest snaps of any first-team All-Pro.

It just doesn’t make sense to guarantee three All-Pro spots for two running backs and one fullback, in a league when it’s far more common to see three receivers or two tight ends. The All-Pro teams should accurately reflect the way NFL teams line up, and fullbacks just aren’t full-time players anymore.

Here’s the full list of first-team All-Pros, ranked in order of their snap count percentage:

100% OT Joe Thomas
100% G David DeCastro

99.8% G Marshall Yanda
97.7% QB Cam Newton
97.0% OT Andrew Whitworth
96.5% CB Josh Norman
96.5% ILB NaVorro Bowman
96.2% DE J.J. Watt
95.7% WR Antonio Brown
94.9% S Eric Berry
94.6% CB Patrick Peterson
91.2% OLB Thomas Davis
90.7% C Ryan Kalil

87.1% OLB/DE Khalil Mack
85.1% WR Julio Jones
84.6% S Tyrann Mathieu
84.0% TE Rob Gronkowski

78.9% DT Aaron Donald
72.4% DT Geno Atkins

69.7% ILB Luke Kuechly
65.1% RB Adrian Peterson

56.8% RB Doug Martin

38.3% FB Mike Tolbert

Snap counts via Football Outsiders.

13 responses to “Fullback Mike Tolbert is the only part-time All-Pro

  1. You’re missing Von Miller from this list. He was a first team all-pro as well.

  2. Why aren’t you complaining about kickers, punters, and kick/punt returners on the list too then? None of them play a majority of the team’s snaps, yet there’s no issue there is there?

    There is no reason they couldn’t add a 3rd WR or 2nd TE to the All-Pro team if they wanted to, but they haven’t. Removal of the FB is not necessary, nor required to do so.

  3. How many plays did the 1st team punter & kicker play in?
    Hekker – 165
    Gostkowski – 189
    Tolbert – 530

    The kickers/ punters should be grouped in with the returners then too, since they play so little.

  4. Man someone has it out for Tolbert. He’ s a good fullback and he made the All Pro team. Why does this bug you so much?

  5. I really don’t get the anger with this whole thing. Tolbert is one of the better players at his position, which is a position many teams still used. Please stop bashing fullbacks its just not right. If you’re going to bash FBs, bash the punters and kickers who play fewer snaps. Jeez.

  6. Considering the success of Carolina this year (15-1) perhaps it behooves other teams to consider utilizing a fullback more? New school is not always better than old school. Tolbert was a key part to their success this year and definitely deserving of an All-Pro nod.

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