While the Patriots didn’t have any players named to the Associated Press’s first-team All-Pro, they did have a pair of players get selected to the second team. Corneback J.C. Jackson and special teamer Matthew Slater each received second-team nods. Jackson got 25 votes for the first-team spot and Slater received 10 votes for a first-team spot.
For Jackson, Friday’s accolade is the just the latest he’s earned for his standout season. He earned the AFC Defensive Player of the Month award for his performance in November and in December, he was selected for the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. Friday’s All-Pro nod is the first of Jackson’s career. Jackson is second in the league in interceptions this season with eight.
For Slater, this marks the fifth time in his career he’s been named to either first- or second-team All-Pro. He received first-team honors in 2016 and 2019 and received second-team honors in 2017 and 2020. Slater was also selected for the Pro Bowl for the 10th time of his career in December.
Several other Patriots also received All-Pro votes, but none of them received enough votes to be placed on either All-Pro team. Linebacker Matthew Judon, who was also selected to the Pro Bowl, got three votes. Judon’s 12.5 sacks were the seventh-most in the NFL this season.
Long snapper Joe Cardona also received three votes. Safety Adrian Phillips got two votes. Kicker Nick Folk and right guard Shaq Mason each received a vote.
Five players, including dynamic pass catchers Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams, were unanimous choices for the AP’s 2021 NFL All-Pro first-team.
Joining the Rams’ Kupp and the Packers’ Adams in receiving votes Friday from all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league are Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
While Donald is a perennial pick — the three-time Defensive Player of the Year makes the team for the seventh time in his eight pro seasons — Watt is on it for a third time. He tied the NFL record for sacks with 22 1/2. Adams makes it for the second time, and the other two are newcomers as All-Pros. Kupp led the NFL in receptions (145), yards receiving (1,947) and TD catches (16). Taylor was the top rusher by a landslide with 1,811 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground, two as a receiver.
“Obviously, it’s an honor to be recognized, and it wouldn’t be possible without my coaches and incredible teammates, but the awards and accolades aren’t what drives me,” said Watt, whose Steelers play at Kansas City on Sunday. “It’s competing with and for them, this franchise, and this city, that drives me. My coaches and teammates are the people that put me in a position to make splash, help us win, and this recognition honestly doesn’t come without them.”
Like Donald, although not nearly as often as the offense-wrecking DT, several players are making another appearance on the All-Pro Team. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on for the fourth time, as is Philadelphia center Jason Kelce — one more than his brother, Chiefs’ star tight end Travis. One better than them: Dallas right guard Zack Martin and Baltimore placekicker Justin Tucker at five.
Three-time All-Pros are Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward. Double All-Pros are Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett and Titans safety Kevin Byard.
The other 14 2021 All-Pros are making their debuts. On offense, 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is a newcomer in his 11th NFL season, joined by Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs, Browns left guard Joel Bitonio, and 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. On defense, it’s linebackers Micah Parsons of Dallas, the only rookie on the squad, and De’Vondre Campbell of Green Bay; Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs; Bills safety Jordan Poyer; and five special teamers: Las Vegas punter A.J. Cole, Jets kick returner Braxton Berrios, Ravens punt returner Devin Duvernay, Saints special teams ace J.T Gray, and Colts long snapper Luke Rhodes.
The Packers, Colts, Ravens, Rams and Cowboys each have three All-Pros. There’s an even breakdown by conference of 14 apiece.