Splash’s NFL Week 15 Team of the Week

Splash’s NFL Week 15 Team of the Week

by December 23, 2021 2 comments

With Week 15 of the NFL season in the books, it is time to look at the best performers at each position from last week. It should be a mix of usual suspects and random one-game wonders. If a player is not on the list, it does not mean that the individual did not have a great game. Not all positions are created equal. Prior performance has no bearing on this list. With that said, let’s look at the best 11 offensive players and best 11 defensive players from Week 15.

You can find the NFL Week 14 Team of the Week here.

An asterisk (*) indicates a player that would earn a spot on the All-Pro team through 15 weeks.

Quarterback: Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens

This was a strange week for quarterbacks. Only two of them (Justin Herbert and Jimmy Garoppolo) had a passing grade above 80.0. Patrick Mahomes fired three touchdowns and 410 yards, but he had a pair of turnovers. Here, the nod goes to Huntley. He was the No. 3 quarterback by overall grade, and he was the only one to tack on four touchdowns. While his Ravens came up short, Huntley was nothing short of excellent.

If the season ended today, Aaron Rodgers would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Running Back: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts*

Previously Appeared: Week 11, Week 13

Taylor had been held in check for most of the day until he broke off a game-sealing 67-yard touchdown run. He ended with 170 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Without it, he would have finished sixth in rushing yards, and Duke Johnson likely would have been the pick with his pair of touchdowns. Taylor had 125 yards after contact, and he forced a pair of missed tackles.

If the season ended today, Taylor would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Wide Receiver: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams*

Previously Appeared: Week 2Week 6Week 7, Week 14

The third wide receiver spot was so weak that it would have been replaced with Mark Andrews in a “FLEX” role until Kupp set the world on fire. He ended with 136 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. He leads the NFL in the three main receiver categories, and he seemingly grows his lead in each as each week passes. Kupp is having one of the best seasons in NFL history.

If the season ended today, Kupp would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Wide Receiver: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Previously Appeared: Week 1, Week 4

Hill led the week in receiving (among wide receivers) with 148 yards and a touchdown. He contributed to eight first downs and a passer rating of 145.8. Hill hauled in all three of his contested opportunities, the only player to have a perfect week on at least three attempts. He was also among the week’s leaders in yards per route despite being in the top 10 in total routes run.

If the season ended today, Davante Adams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Wide Receiver: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

Cooks rounds out the receiver trio after recording 102 yards and a pair of touchdown catches. When targeted, Cooks produced a 142.5 rating, and he secured his only contested target. Cooks averaged 3.52 yards per route run, placing him sixth on the week among receivers. The Texans have had a disaster of a season, but Cooks has been a consistent bright spot.

If the season ended today, Justin Jefferson would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Tight End: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Previously Appeared: Week 2, Week 10

Among all players in Week 15, Kelce led the way with a ridiculous 104 yards after the catch. He was the highest-graded receiver regardless of position, and he led the week in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. His after-the-catch performance would be good enough to rank sixth in the NFL in yards even if you took out his yards before the catch. Overall, it was perhaps Kelce’s best week of his illustrious career.

If the season ended today, Andrews would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Left Tackle: Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns*

Previously Appeared: Week 1Week 7Week 10Week 11Week 12, Week 14 (all as left guard)

Heading into Monday’s game, Bitonio had taken two snaps at a position other than left guard in his career. On Monday, he took his first 56 snaps of his career at left tackle. In response, he earned a 91.5 grade, third among all offensive linemen. He was the No.2 left tackle, trailing Jordan Mailata, but Mailata allowed a sack and was flagged twice. Bitonio only allowed one pressure, a hit.

If the season ended today, Trent Williams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

The Joel Bitonio Award for Best Left Guard: Ezra Cleveland, Minnesota Vikings

Among interior players, Cleveland had the best grade of the week, an 88.5. He did not allow a pressure en route to an 87.6 pass-blocking grade, and he was also strong as a run blocker. On 32 run-blocking snaps, Cleveland posted an 82.1 grade, second among left guards during Week 15. Joe Thuney and Quenton Nelson also had strong games, grading out above 80.0 in both phases.

If the season ended today, Bitonio would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Center: J.C. Tretter, Cleveland Browns

Previously Appeared: Week 11

It was a tough battle at the center position, but Tretter gets the nod with his consistency. He was the No. 1 run blocker among centers, earning an 85.3 grade against the Las Vegas Raiders. On the other hand, he was also a capable pass protector. While he finished seventh among centers with a 77.4 pass-blocking grade, he did not allow a pressure unlike three of the players that out graded him.

If the season ended today, Creed Humphrey would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

The Zack Martin Award for Best Right Guard: Mark Glowinski, Indianapolis Colts

Previously Appeared: Week 11

Week 15’s right guard spot was one of the weakest at any position this season. Nate Herbig was the only qualified player to have a 70.0 grade in both run-blocking and pass protection, but he allowed three pressures including a sack. Quinn Meinerz had the best grade, but he also allowed a sack. Glowinski had an average day as a run blocker (65.6 grade), but he did not allow any pressures, earning an 83.3 pass-blocking grade.

If the season ended today, Martin would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Right Tackle: Tom Compton, San Francisco 49ers

Usually, Williams is the stalwart tackle for the 49ers, but he had a fairly average day (by his standards). On the other hand, Compton had one of the best games by an offensive lineman all season. He led the way with a 95.9 overall grade and an obscene 96.8 run-blocking grade. For context, Williams is setting records for his run-blocking prowess, and his best is just a 94.3 run-blocking grade.

If the season ended today, Tristan Wirfs would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Interior Defensive Line: David Onyemata, New Orleans Saints

Onyemata had a monster trip to Tampa Bay. He had seven pressures that tied for the lead among interior players (Fletcher Cox). He also had a strong day as a run defender, posting an 81.4 grade. As a whole, he earned an 85.1 grade, and he had a 70.0 or better in run defense, tackling, and pass-rushing. Only Zach Sieler and the other interior player in the Team of the Week matched that accomplishment.

If the season ended today, Aaron Donald would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Interior Defensive Line: Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears

Hicks led the way among all interior players with a 90.2 grade. He was second in run-defense grade with an 84.8, falling to Sheldon Richardson. As a pass-rusher, Hicks recorded a 75.2 grade, recording four pressures including a pair of sacks. Hicks has not quite been his usual elite self in 2021, but Week 15 was a blast from the past.

If the season ended today, Cameron Heyward would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Edge Defender: D.J. Wonnum, Minnesota Vikings

Wonnum graded out poorly in large part due to a horrendous run-defense grade (34.7), but he tied for the week’s lead in pressures with nine. He had three sacks, one hit, and five hurries of Justin Fields in a dominant pass-rushing performance. Wonnum was second at the position with six total stops, and he even forced a fumble. Yetur Gross-Matos and Carlos Dunlap also recorded three sacks, but they combined for just seven pressures.

If the season ended today, Myles Garrett would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Edge Defender: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

Bosa was the other defender to have nine pressures, but he came with a significantly better grade. He earned a ridiculous 90.7 pass-rush grade en route to a 91.0 overall grade that was the best among players who played 25 snaps. He had eight hurries in addition to a strip-sack of Matt Ryan. Bosa is having an incredible season, and Week 15 was his second consecutive game with nine pressures and a 91.0 grade.

If the season ended today, T.J. Watt would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Linebacker: Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs

Bolton ended up third in overall grade (minimum of 10 snaps), but he was called upon more than Lavonte David and Jamie Collins. He earned a 90.7 grade, posting a 75.2 or better in all four facets of linebacker play. He excelled in coverage, earning an 88.3 grade with the help of a pair of pass breakups. Bolton was a key cog in a Chiefs defense that did just enough to win on Thursday.

If the season ended today, De’Vondre Campbell would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Linebacker: Jerome Baker, Miami Dolphins

Baker did not grade out particularly well, but he stole the show as the position’s best pass-rusher (sorry, Micah Parsons). Baker recorded two full sacks on his 10 pass-rushing reps, earning an 82.0 pass-rush grade in the process. He had some issues in coverage, posting a 53.8 coverage grade, but ball production is the name of the game here. Baker gets in with his pair of sacks.

If the season ended today, Parsons would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Cornerback: Brandin Echols, New York Jets

Echols was horrific in run defense (28.5 grade) and as a tackler (24.6 grade with five missed tackles), but he was the single best coverage player of Week 15. He victimized Tua Tagovailoa for a fourth-quarter pick-six. When targeted, Echols conceded just one catch on four targets. He had a pair of pass breakups in addition to the pick-six, and he allowed -3 yards after the catch. In coverage, Echols allowed a 0.0 rating.

If the season ended today, Jalen Ramsey would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Cornerback: Tyson Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars

One of two rookie cornerbacks to make the team, Campbell finished with a 92.4 overall grade to lead all cornerbacks. He was targeted six times, and he allowed just two catches for nine yards. He added an interception and a pass breakup. It was Campbell’s second career interception, and Sunday was the second time in four weeks he had a 90.0 PFF grade.

If the season ended today, AJ Terrell would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Safety: Devin McCourty, New England Patriots

Previously Appeared: Week 11

McCourty had a throwback game for his standards. He was second in grade to Malik Hooker, and he had a 76.0 or better grade in run defense, tackling, and coverage. He posted six tackles, one stop, and an interception. In coverage, McCourty allowed an 18.8 passer rating and just seven yards on two targets. The Patriots may have lost Saturday night, but McCourty was not the reason why.

If the season ended today, Kevin Byard would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Safety: Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers

Chinn had a beautiful leaping interception of Josh Allen on an otherwise strong day for the second-year safety. Chinn was ninth among safeties in PFF grade, but he excelled both as a tackler and as a cover player. He earned a 79.1 tackling grade and a 79.0 coverage grade. He notched his first interception of the season and his best coverage grade of the season.

If the season ended today, Marcus Williams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Defensive Back: Thomas Graham, Chicago Bears

Cornerback is perhaps the hardest position to learn in sports. Many rookies face steep learning curves. Graham decided that he would have no learning curve. In his first action since preseason and his first meaningful game since the 2019 college football season, Graham was sensational. He had a 90.7 overall grade with a spectacular 91.7 grade in coverage. He notched three pass breakups and allowed just 10 yards on four targets. For context, Graham’s draftmate Nate Hobbs is having an excellent season for the Raiders, but he has just one pass breakup.

If the season ended today, Darius Slay would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.

Be sure to check out our NFL Team of the Week every week for the remainder of the season.

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I’m Ryan Potts. Some people affectionately call me Splash. I am renowned for being a misplaced Ravens, Cavs, Wings & Braves fan. Twitter: MrSplashMan19

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