Here’s the ballot I filed with the Associated Press for my 2018 all-pro team, with a few comments thrown in:
Wide receiver: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston; Michael Thomas, New Orleans.
Flex: Tyreek Hill, KC
Tight end: George Kittle, San Francisco.
Tackle: David Bakhtiari, Green Bay (left); Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans (right).
Guard: Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis (left); Zack Martin, Dallas (right).
Center: Jason Kelce, Philadelphia.
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City.
Running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Edge: Jadeveon Clowney, Houston; Khalil Mack, Chicago. The AP asked that J.J. Watt be considered an edge defender, and though clearly he played mostly outside, I rationalized my choices by saying that Watt played inside 27.5 percent of the snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
Defensive Line: Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams; J.J. Watt, Houston.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Luke Kuechly, Carolina; Darius Leonard, Indianapolis. Apologies to the Dallas duo here.
Cornerback: Stephon Gilmore, New England; Byron Jones, Dallas.
Slot corner: Desmond King, L.A. Chargers
Safety: Jamal Adams, N.Y. Jets; Derwin James, Chargers
Kicker: Jason Myers, Jets.
Punter: Michael Dickson, Seattle
Punt return: Tarik Cohen, Chicago
Kick return: Andre Roberts, N.Y. Jets
Special teams: Taysom Hill, New Orleans
MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City.
Coach: Matt Nagy, Chicago.
Assistant coach: Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis. A hundred good choices, but he inherited the league’s 30th-ranked defense and built a competent unit where there was none.
Offensive player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City.
Defensive player: Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams.
Offensive rookie: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland
Defensive rookie: Derwin James, Chargers. So close between he and Darius Leonard, the NFL tackles leader. Easily could have picked Leonard. Just thought James was so instinctive and so versatile, a sort of new-wave Polamalu. I didn’t want to let stats totally decide this.
Comeback player: J.J. Watt, Houston. No argument with Andrew Luck, at all. Just thought Watt went through a little more to get back to playing great football, after being hit with two different career-threatening injuries the last two years, and fighting injuries throughout 2015 to just survive that season. This was a great comeback year for Watt.
Executive: Chris Ballard, Indianapolis