With Week 16 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 16.
You can find the NFL Week 15 Team of the Week here.
An asterisk (*) indicates a player that would earn a spot on the All-Pro team through 16 weeks.
Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Previously Appeared: Week 7
Burrow is one of the easiest picks of the entire season. He threw for 525 yards, the fourth-most in NFL history. He also tacked on four touchdowns. Both figures led Week 16, and he also did not have any turnovers or turnover-worthy plays. Burrow posted an excellent 86.9 passing grade and an 89.9 overall grade. He is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history to have a 140.0 passer rating on at least 45 attempts (Ben Roethlisberger).
If the season ended today, Aaron Rodgers would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Running Back: Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans
It was a tight week at the running back position. Damien Harris scored three times and went for 103 yards on the ground. Justin Jackson had 162 scrimmage yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, Burkhead gets the nod here with his 6.8 yards per carry en route to 149 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Unlike the other two, Burkhead’s team won on Sunday.
If the season ended today, Jonathan Taylor would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Wide Receiver: A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Previously Appeared: Week 8
Brown’s return from injured reserve was a masterclass. On 16 targets, Brown hauled in 11 passes for 145 yards. He tacked on a touchdown as well. Ryan Tannehill threw seven contested balls to Brown who hauled in three of them. He forced a pair of missed tackles, and he contributed to eight first downs. Brown averaged a ridiculous 4.83 yards per route run, the best mark of the three Team of the Week selections.
If the season ended today, Cooper Kupp would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Wide Receiver: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers*
After a “down” week against the Baltimore Ravens, Adams was back to his usual tricks, scoring twice against the Cleveland Browns. He tacked on 114 yards on 10 catches. Adams did have a pair of drops, but the positives more than outweigh the negatives from the Packers’ Christmas Day win. Adams contributed to seven first downs, and he forced one missed tackle.
If the season ended today, Adams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Wide Receiver: Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
On 13 targets, Higgins caught 12 passes. All 12 went for first downs. He posted 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns with both marks leading Week 16. Burrow lofted four contested opportunities for Higgins, and he brought in all four of them. When Burrow targeted Higgins, he had a perfect passer rating. Of the 82 multi-touchdown games in 2021, Higgins posted the most yards in such a game.
If the season ended today, Justin Jefferson would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Tight End: Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens*
For what felt like the fifth consecutive week, Andrews had a monster week. However, this week, he did not have the usual competition from George Kittle and Travis Kelce. Andrews torched the Bengals for 125 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He was three-for-three on contested catches, and he tacked on seven first downs for the Ravens. He forced one missed tackle, and he should be well on his way to an All-Pro selection.
If the season ended today, Andrews would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Left Tackle: Cam Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Joel Bitonio ended up being the highest-graded left tackle, but he allowed two pressures and a sack of Baker Mayfield. Robinson gets the nod after keeping Trevor Lawrence clean on 42 pass-blocking reps. Robinson earned a 79.2 pass-blocking grade and an 80.2 run-blocking grade. Overall, Robinson earned an 81.8 grade on 74 total snaps, and he made the Team of the Week despite his Jaguars losing.
If the season ended today, Trent Williams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
The Joel Bitonio Award for Best Left Guard: Chris Reed, Indianapolis Colts
Without Quenton Nelson, the Colts needed someone on the offensive line to step. Reed did so to the tune of the best grade by a left guard in Week 16. He kept Carson Wentz clean on 28 pass-blocking reps en route to a 72.1 pass-blocking grade. He was better as a run-blocker, earning a 78.8 grade on 30 snaps. As a whole, Reed posted an 81.6 grade.
If the season ended today, Bitonio would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Center: Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs*
Previously Appeared: Week 13
Humphrey had perhaps the best all-around game from any linemen in Week 16. He was the only player to have an 84.0 or better in both aspects of blocking, and only Collins and Williams joined him with an 80.0 or better in both. Humphrey had a stellar 90.2 run-blocking performance and an 84.0 pass-blocking performance. All told, Humphrey finished third in overall grade to the Team of the Week’s right guard and right tackle.
If the season ended today, Humphrey would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
The Zack Martin Award for Best Right Guard: Chris Lindstrom, Atlanta Falcons
Robert Hunt nearly stole Lindstrom’s spot, but Lindstrom held him off in the end. Both players had pedestrian pass-blocking grades in the 60s, but they each dominated on the ground. Lindstrom did not let Matt Ryan get hit on 27 pass-blocking reps, so he did just enough. As a run-blocker, Lindstrom’s 92.5 grade stood above all guards and was second to his line-mate Matt Hennessy among interior players.
If the season ended today, Martin would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Right Tackle: La’el Collins, Dallas Cowboys
Collins had a legendary performance on Sunday Night Football. He was the highest-graded offensive linemen regardless of position. He was the No.1 run-blocker, and he did not surrender a pressure on 46 pass-blocking reps. All told, Collins earned a 92.7 overall grade with a 95.6 run-blocking grade. As a pass protector, Collins earned a strong 82.0. While he is the only Cowboy on the offense, the whole offense was considered for spots.
If the season ended today, Tristan Wirfs would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Interior Defensive Line: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams*
Donald tied Bitonio for the most selections in the Team of the Week with his seventh. Speaking of seven, Donald recorded seven pressures on Sunday. While he had a mediocre day as a run defender, he was back to his usual elite self as a pass-rusher. He earned a 91.2 pass-rushing grade en route to an overall grade of 89.4. He finished second to Isaiah Mack in grade, but he more than doubled Mack’s snap total.
If the season ended today, Donald would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Interior Defensive Line: William Gholston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a mad dash from Christian Wilkins on Monday, Gholston narrowly nabs the second interior defensive position. Gholston had five pressures, leading to three sacks and a pair of hurries. Gholston notched three total defensive stops, and he had a well-rounded grading profile. He had a 70.0 or better in run defense, tackling, and pass-rushing. As a whole, Gholston earned an 82.4 grade.
If the season ended today, Cameron Heyward would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Edge Defender: Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys
Lawrence had one of the more ridiculous athletic efforts on a play all season as he picked off Taylor Heinicke and returned the interception for a rare “thicc-six.” Lawrence was only on the field for 25 snaps because of the blowout, but he notched two pressures and a 90.2 pass-rush grade. In his four run-defense snaps, Lawrence posted a 65.6 grade. He finished second at the position in PFF grade with a 91.3.
If the season ended today, Myles Garrett would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Edge Defender: Josh Sweat, Philadelphia Eagles
Sweat edged out Lawrence with a 92.4 overall grade. He had five pressures on 20 pass-rush snaps, forcing one sack and four hurries. He recorded three defensive stops, and he forced a fumble. Sweat had a well-rounded game with a 75.8 run defense grade, 73.8 tackling grade, and 91.6 pass-rush grade. Sweat was critical in the Eagles’ 24-point romp over the New York Giants.
If the season ended today, T.J. Watt would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Linebacker: Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings
Barr did not have the strongest game from a grading perspective, but he did have an elite statistical output. Barr notched one hit of Matthew Stafford and two total defensive stops. In coverage, Barr allowed a microscopic 19.8 passer rating, a figure aided by his pair of interceptions on four targets. All told, Barr ended with a 68.0 grade, 68.4 run-defense grade, and 64.2 coverage grade.
If the season ended today, De’Vondre Campbell would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Linebacker: Alex Singleton, Philadelphia Eagles
T.J. Edwards likely would have secured the second linebacker spot until his teammate Singleton nabbed a pick-six. Like Barr, Singleton did not have a particularly strong game from a film perspective, but he had one of the biggest plays of the week with a pick-six. Singleton totaled 11 tackles (as counted by PFF), and he made a pair of defensive stops in the win.
If the season ended today, Micah Parsons would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Cornerback: Rasul Douglas, Green Bay Packers
Douglas becomes the first defensive back to make four Teams of the Week after intercepting a pair of Mayfield passes on Christmas. He did allow a touchdown in coverage, but his interceptions overshadow the bad. Critically, Douglas sealed the Packers’ win with a fourth-quarter interception. He ended with a 54.5 grade, a mark hurt by his pitiful run-defense grade (33.1) and tackling grade (36.5).
If the season ended today, Jalen Ramsey would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Cornerback: Tavierre Thomas, Houston Texans
Thomas victimized Justin Herbert for a back-breaking pick-six in the Texans’ upset win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Thomas had a 79.2 overall defensive grade, and he played well as both a run defender and cover player. In run defense, he had an 81.9 grade. In coverage, he posted a 75.8 mark. He made eight tackles, and he recorded two defensive stops.
If the season ended today, AJ Terrell would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Safety: Micah Hyde, Buffalo Bills
Previously Appeared: Week 5
Hyde was the third and final player to have multiple interceptions in Week 16. He was the highest-grade of the trio as he earned an 81.8 mark. Hyde recorded one pressure, six tackles, and a pair of defensive stops. Among safeties to play 60 snaps, he was fourth in overall grade and coverage grade. His 77.2 coverage grade was his best since Week 10 and his third best of the season.
If the season ended today, Kevin Byard would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Safety: Jonathan Owens, Houston Texans
Owens was the No.2 graded defensive player in Week 16 (behind Sweat). In coverage, Owens allowed a 0.0 passer rating with the help of an interception. He earned a 90.0 coverage grade. In run defense, Owens held up well with a 74.4 grade. He posted four tackles and a defensive stop. Owens rounds out the trio of Texans in this week’s Team of the Week, 60% of the team’s season total.
If the season ended today, Marcus Williams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Defensive Back: Nik Needham, Miami Dolphins
Artie Burns had this spot heading into Monday Night Football, but Needham only needed two Ian Book pass attempts to hijack the spot. Needham took that pass in the other direction for a pick-six. He ended up grading well, finishing second to Burns in overall grade among cornerbacks. He finished third in coverage grade behind Burns and Team of the Week veteran Ahkello Witherspoon.
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.
Follow Ryan Potts on Twitter @MrSplashMan19
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images