Five Dallas Cowboys, led by rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Sean Lee, earned firt-team All-Pro honors, the most selected from any team.
The others were linemen Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith.
“I think it’s probably a reflection of the team success that we’ve had, and those guys are big part of the team success that we’ve had,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ve had a lot of guys contribute to that. The guys you mentioned are among the best players at their position in the National Football League, and they’re regarded that way – by their teammates and by the people they go against. But I do think many of those awards are a function of the success you have as a team. They contributed to it, but a lot of people contributed to it, as well.”
Lee wasn’t named last month to the Pro Bowl, much to his teammates’ chagrin, but the Cowboys linebacker earned a bigger honor as one of three linebackers named All-Pro.
Lee, who ranked second in the NFL in tackles to Bobby Wagner, made the team for the first time after earning Pro Bowl honors for the first time last year.
“It’s obviously an unbelievable honor,” Lee said. “There are so many great players in this league. But what I’m most proud about is playing with this group defensively. Our defense is about the group — how we play as a unit, how we run to the football. So for me, I’ve felt so blessed, and it’s really a reflection of the unit.”
The All-Pro team was announced by The Associated Press on Friday. It was selected by a national panel of 50 media members, who, for the first time, voted for specific positions on the offensive line, a flex player on offense, a fifth defensive back, a punt returner and a special teamer.
Elliott became only the fourth Cowboys rookie to earn All-Pro in 47 years, joining Martin (2014), Bob Hayes (1965) and Calvin Hill (1969).
“This is a place with a tremendous running back history, tremendous running back pedigree, and just being able to go up there and add to it and uphold it is very important and very special to me,” Elliott said.
Martin earned All-Pro for the second time as did Smith after both made the second team last year. Frederick also made second team in 2015.
“That is pretty cool,” Frederick said. “It’s certainly humbling, but I think it’s a tribute to our group and the way we work and the guys I have next to me. I’ve always said this: A center’s not very good by himself. You have to have guards next to you who can play at a high level, that make your job easier and allow you to work within your space.”
Here’s a look at the AP All-Pro team
Quarterback—Matt Ryan, Atlanta
Running Back—Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Flex — David Johnson, Arizona
Tight End—Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Wide Receivers—Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh;Julio Jones, Atlanta
Left Tackle — Tyron Smith, Dallas
Right Tackle — Travis Conklin, Tennessee
Left Guard— Kelechi Osemele, Oakland
Right Guard — Zack Martin, Dallas
Center— Travis Frederick, Dallas
Edge Rushers—Khalil Mack, Oakland; Vic Beasley Jr., Atlanta
Interior Linemen—Aaron Donald, Los Angeles; Damon Harrison, New York Giants
Linebackers—Von Miller, Denver; Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Sean Lee, Dallas
Cornerbacks—Aqib Talib, Denver; Marcus Peters, Kansas City
Safeties—Landon Collins, New York Giants; Eric Berry, Kansas City
Defensive Back—Chris Harris Jr., Denver
Placekicker — Justin Tucker, Baltimore
Punter — Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles
Kick Returner — Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota
Punt Returner — Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Special Teamer — Matthew Slater, New England
Quarterback—Tom Brady, New England
Running Back — David Johnson, Arizona
Flex—Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh
Tight End—Greg Olsen, Carolina
Wide Receivers—Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
Left Tackle — David Bakhtiari, Green Bay
Right Tackle — Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City, and Marcus Cannon, New England
Left Guard— Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
Right Guard — David DeCastro, Pittsburgh
Center— Alex Mack, Atlanta
Edge Rushers—Jadeveon Clowney, Houston; Cameron Wake, Miami, Olivier Vernon, New York Giants, and Brandon Graham, Philadelphia
Interior Linemen—Ndamukong Suh, Miami; Calais Campbell, Arizona, and Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay
Linebackers—Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo; Luke Kuechly, Carolina; Lavonte David, Tampa Bay; C.J. Mosley, Baltimore; Zach Brown, Buffalo; Zachary Orr, Baltimore; Alec Ogletree, Los Angeles; Dont’a Hightower, New England; Whitney Mercilus, Houston; and Bernardick McKinney, Houston
Cornerbacks—Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants; Casey Hayward, San Diego; and Malcolm Butler, New England
Safeties—Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay; Devin McCourty, New England.
Defensive Back—Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants
Placekicker — None.
Punter — Marquette King, Oakland
Kick Returner — Tyler Lockett, Seattle
Punt Returner — None.
Special Teamer — Nate Ebner, New England