Following up last week’s selections for the AP NFL All-Pro Team and NFLPA All-Pro Team, we will release our 2023 selections over the next three days. As always, the players are based on this season’s performance, and we try not to fall into groupthink like the media selections often do.
QB: Josh Allen, BUF
Season stats: 66.5% | 4,306 YDS | 29 TD | 18 INT | 92.2 rating
Every year, our choice at quarterback and MVP seems to differ from the consensus view, and Lamar Jackson obviously had a great season for the first-place Ravens. Allen has had everything on his shoulders for Buffalo, though, and he easily led the NFL in total touchdowns (44), including 15 of them coming on the ground. Considering his play down the stretch to win six of seven games and clinch the AFC East (with the only loss being an overtime shootout in Philadelphia), Allen was arguably the best player in the league in 2023.
RB: Christian McCaffrey, SF
Season stats: 272 CAR | 1,459 YDS | 14 TD | 5.4 YPC | — | 67 REC | 564 YDS | 7 TD
McCaffrey has been close to unstoppable since being traded to the 49ers in 2022, and he totaled over 2,000 yards with 21 total touchdowns this year as the engine for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Even in the convincing Christmas Night loss to Baltimore, McCaffrey did his part with 20 touches for 131 yards and a score, and his undeniable value throughout the season should make him a top NFL MVP candidate.
FB: Kyle Juszczyk, SF
Season stats: 5 CAR | 6 YDS | 1.2 YPC | — | 14 REC | 119 YDS | 2 TD
Fullbacks have taken on significantly less importance in recent years, but not Juszczyk and not in San Francisco—as the versatile 32-year-old has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past eight seasons. In addition to leading the way for Christian McCaffrey (and others) for a complex rushing attack, Juszczyk also comes through when called upon in the passing game.
WR: CeeDee Lamb, DAL
Season stats: 135 REC | 1,749 YDS | 12 TD | 13.0 AVG | — | 14 CAR | 113 YDS | 2 TD
Lamb proved himself as a superstar wide receiver in 2022, but for anyone still doubting him, the former Oklahoma star rewrote the single-season record book for the Cowboys with franchise-bests in receptions and receiving yards. To put in perspective how good Lamb is, he had more total yards (1,862) and total touchdowns (14) than Justin Jefferson (1,833 total yards and nine total touchdowns) did in his NFL Offensive Player of the Year campaign last season.
WR: Tyreek Hill, MIA
Season stats: 119 REC | 1,799 YDS | 13 TD | 15.1 AVG | — | 6 CAR | 15 YDS
Hill chasing Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yardage record (1,964) and 2,000 yards was a storyline for much of the year, but missing a game with an ankle injury and falling off—along with the team as a whole—down the stretch prevented that from happening. Before that, Hill was putting up better numbers than ever with a 93/1,481/12 line through 12 games, and he seemingly went for 100+ yards and a touchdown every time he hit the field.
WR: A.J. Brown, PHI
Season stats: 106 REC | 1,456 YDS | 7 TD | 13.7 AVG
First-team AP selection Amon-Ra St. Brown could have certainly been chosen here, especially with the Eagles collapsing down the stretch and Brown only having one touchdown after Week 9. But like Tyreek Hill, Brown was dominant enough early on—with a historic six consecutive games of 127+ yards—to get the nod, and he was making plays in December amidst major struggles for Philadelphia.
TE: George Kittle, SF
Season stats: 65 REC | 1,020 YDS | 6 TD | 15.7 AVG
Detroit rookie Sam LaPorta drew heavy consideration with ten scores as a difference-maker in Year 1, but Kittle was more efficient than ever with career-highs in yards per reception (15.7) and yards per target (11.3)—eclipsing 1,000 yards on just 90 passes thrown his direction for a balanced San Francisco attack. Of course, Kittle is also a top-tier blocker and general tone-setter for the physical 49ers, and he would put up even bigger numbers every year if not for all the talent on the roster.
LT: Trent Williams, SF
In his age-35 campaign, Williams remained a force on the blindside, and there is perhaps more separation between him and everyone else at left tackle compared to last season (though Andrew Thomas being injured was a factor there). The unique combination of strength, athleticism, and intelligence of Williams keeps Brock Purdy clean and allows San Francisco to have the success they do offensively.
LG: Joe Thuney, KC
The interior trio of Thuney, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith has now been together for three years, and their play was appreciated more this season with the Chiefs having some issues at the tackle spots. To make up for the struggles through the air, Kansas City relied more on the running game in 2023, and Thuney helping to open holes for Isiah Pacheco (905 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns) resulted in the balance that makes them a threat to again represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
C: Jason Kelce, PHI
The all-time great center announced his retirement to the team following last night’s playoff loss, but Kelce hangs up his cleats knowing he could still play at an elite level. Despite not getting substantial recognition for his play until his age-30 season, Kelce still totaled six All-Pro selections in his career, and his blend of athleticism and toughness is unmatched.
RG: Chris Lindstrom, ATL
Atlanta didn’t live up to expectations as an offense for a couple of reasons, but the offensive line was excellent—and Lindstrom has been the best of the group by fully hitting his potential as the No. 14 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Despite the disappointing season for the Falcons, they had a top-ten rushing attack, and the backfield duo of Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier combined for 2,339 total yards powered by Lindstrom and the offensive line.
RT: Penei Sewell, DET
A very strong case could be made for Detroit taking the crown as the NFL’s best offensive line, and Sewell himself can take claim as the league’s top right tackle with elite play both in pass protection and in the running game. After putting it all together this season, Sewell is probably the best all-around offensive lineman outside of Trent Williams, and he’s been extremely consistent in all facets for the Lions.