By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Stephon Gilmore has played himself into the All-Pro conversation in his second season with the Patriots. The cornerback is 1-for-1, as he's been named to the Pro Football Focus' annual All-Pro team.
Gilmore finished the season second in the NFL with 20 passes defensed (the Bears' Kyle Fuller led the league with 21). Per data from The Athletic's Jeff Howe, Gilmore also had a minuscule 60.1 passer rating against when quarterbacks targeted him, and that's despite scattering four touchdowns allowed over the course of the season. Passers went 37-for-90 with 403 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions overall against Gilmore.
Two other Patriots made the PFF All-Pros. Right guard Shaq Mason, who has consistently ranked among their highest-graded guards in the NFL, gets his first nod. Mason continues to be a mainstay along the Patriots' offensive line as an outstanding run blocker, and he's improved as a pass blocker as well.
In a bit of a surprise, at the special teams spot PFF went with Albert McClellan, who started the season with six games for the Ravens before signing with the Patriots to play seven more. To be fair, McClellan has helped turn around the Patriots' special teams coverage units, which have improved in recent weeks. But it's a little shocking to see a guy who's split time between two teams make any kind of All-Pro squad.
Here's the full 2018 All-Pro team from PFF:
QB: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
RB: Saquon Barkley, Giants
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans; Michael Thomas, Saints
TE: George Kittle, 49ers
FLEX (offense): Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
LT: David Bakhtiari, Packers
LG: Joel Bitonio, Browns
C: Jason Kelce, Eagles
RG: Shaq Mason, Patriots
RT: Mitchell Scwartz, Chiefs
EDGE: J.J. Watt, Texans; Khalil Mack, Bears
DI: Aaron Donald, Rams; Fletcher Cox, Eagles
LB: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; Luke Kuechly, Panthers
CB: Stephon Gilmore, Patriots; Byron Jones, Cowboys
S: Jamal Adams, Jets; Eddie Jackson, Bears
FLEX (defense): Desmond King, Chargers
K: Aldrick Rosas, Giants
P: Thomas Morestead, Saints
KR/PR: Andre Roberts, Jets
ST: Albert McClellan, Patriots
PFF has begun doing its own All-Pro teams, and apparently loves inventing its own positions too. While their grading system can be polarizing, it's proven to be fairly accurate in its overall assessment of players' seasons. Their All-Pro team, however, is not the official NFL team that's voted on by the Associated Press. The Pro Football Writers Association and The Sporting News also issue their own annual All-Pro teams.
The rest of the All-Pro teams should be announced in a matter of days. Gilmore has a very strong chance of making the official team, and Mason should be a candidate at guard as well.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].