With Week 18 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 18.
You can find the NFL Week 17 Team of the Week here.
An asterisk (*) indicates a player that would earn a spot on the All-Pro team.
Quarterback: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Previously Appeared: Week 6
Prescott and the Cowboys crushed the Philadelphia Eagles en route to 50 points for the second time in three weeks. Prescott threw for 295 yards and tacked on five passing touchdowns. He was PFF’s top quarterback, earning an offensive grade of 90.5 and a passing grade of 89.1. He launched a trio of big-time throws and posted a passer rating of 151.8.
Aaron Rodgers would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Running Back: Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
Previously Appeared: Week 17
Penny stole Latavius Murray’s spot with an electric 190-yard outburst against the Arizona Cardinals. He rumbled for 8.3 yards per carry and a touchdown. He had four 10-yard runs, four forced missed tackles, and 137 yards after contact. Penny was the star of the last month, posting four games with at least 135 rushing yards in the span and six rushing touchdowns.
Jonathan Taylor would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Wide Receiver: Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
Gage tied for the receiving lead among wide receivers with Darnell Mooney at 126 yards. He tacked on a touchdown, earning him the spot. Gage hauled in nine of 13 targets, posting the second-best receiving grade of the week with a stellar 90.9. He contributed to six first downs, and he forced three missed tackles. He even added a pair of contested catches on three targets.
Cooper Kupp would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Wide Receiver: Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys
Wilson finished tied for third in yards with Mike Williams, but he found the end zone twice compared to Williams’ single touchdown. When Prescott targeted Wilson, he had a 158.3 rating on the six targets. Wilson had the second-highest yards per route run among players who had five targets (Terry McLaurin). All told, Wilson helped the Cowboys to first downs on all five of his catches.
Davante Adams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Wide Receiver: Danny Amendola, Houston Texans
Welcome to 2022, a year in which Amendola makes the Team of the Week. On nine targets, Amendola caught seven passes, turning them into 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught a two-point conversion, making him just the third player with two receiving touchdowns and a two-point conversion in a game. When Davis Mills targeted Amendola, he had a 158.3 passer rating.
Justin Jefferson would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gronkowski led all players with 137 receiving yards in Week 18, including 51 more than any other tight end. He forced five missed tackles, and five of his seven catches turned into first downs. While his lack of a touchdown hurt Tom Brady’s passer rating, it was still a vintage game for the future Hall of Famer. He earned a PFF receiving grade above 90 for the third time on the season.
Mark Andrews would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Left Tackle: Jedrick Wills, Cleveland Browns
In a battle between Dion Dawkins and Wills, Wills gets the nod here. Both left tackles graded similarly and did not allow a pressure. Dawkins had a grade 0.2 points higher, but Wills had an 80.7 run-blocking grade to go with an 87.9 pass-blocking grade. This was the closest pick of the week, but Wills had a slightly better all-around game.
Trent Williams would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
The Joel Bitonio Award for Best Left Guard: Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns*
Bitonio wrapped up a spectacular season with his eighth selection to the Team of the Week. He was one of just three players to earn a spot at two different positions this year, and his seven appearances at left guard was the second-most by an individual at an individual position. It was a one-of-a-kind season, and Bitonio should be a shoo-in for the left guard All-Pro spot.
Bitonio would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Center: Lucas Patrick, Green Bay Packers
Patrick had a strange week, but he gets the nod here despite splitting his time between center and right guard. He was the third-highest graded center, but he had a better all-around game than either Matt Hennessy or Corey Linsley. Patrick worked to a 73.1 overall grade with a 70.6 run-blocking grade and 73.9 pass-blocking grade. He did not allow a pressure on 41 pass-blocking snaps.
Creed Humphrey would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
The Zack Martin Award for Best Right Guard: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys*
Martin ended as the top-graded lineman at any position, earning a 91.3 overall grade. He was exceptional as a run blocker, paving the way to an 88.3 run-blocking grade. His pass-blocking was equally impressive. He did not surrender a pressure, and he graded at 86.8. Halapoulivaati Vaitai narrowly missed the spot, finishing 0.1 overall points behind Martin.
Martin would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Right Tackle: James Hudson, Cleveland Browns
Hudson rounds out a trio of Browns on the Team of the Week offensive line. He was the top-graded tackle, earning a 90.0 grade. He was a dominant run blocker, posting a 90.7 run-blocking grade that was second to Terence Steele among all tackles. Hudson was sturdy as a pass blocker, earning a 77.6 grade on 27 snaps without allowing a pressure.
Tristan Wirfs would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Interior Defensive Line: Dalvin Tomlinson, Minnesota Vikings
Tomlinson finally lived up to his pedigree, earning a 91.3 overall grade. It was his best game of the season by 6.6 points. He dominated as both a run defender and as a pass rusher. In run defense, Tomlinson earned an 83.7 grade. As a pass rusher, he earned an 87.6 grade, forcing three pressures and two sacks. In total, Tomlinson racked up five defensive stops.
Aaron Donald would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Interior Defensive Line: Quinton Jefferson, Las Vegas Raiders
Jefferson racked up eight pressures of Justin Herbert, notching one sack and a pair of hits. He also batted a pass. While he did not have the prettiest grade (just 67.1), he did have the ball production to warrant his selection. He posted a pair of defensive stops, and his eight pressures was best among interior defensive linemen and tied for third overall.
Cameron Heyward would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Edge Defender: Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders*
Speaking of pressures, Crosby posted 11 pressures to end his season with a total of 101, 15 more than any other player in the NFL (Donald). Sunday night was Crosby’s fifth game with a pass-rush grade in the 90s, and it was his fourth game with at least 11 pressures. He was also effective in run defense, earning a 78.0 grade. All told, he had a 92.1 grade.
Crosby would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Edge Defender: Kenny Willekes, Minnesota Vikings
Willekes was second to Crosby with nine pressures. Two of them turned into sacks, and a pair turned into quarterback hits. He had a subpar game against the run, but he was excellent when rushing the passer. Willekes ended with an 86.5 pass rush grade and three total defensive stops. For his overall performance, he posted a respectable 77.7 grade despite missing a tackle.
T.J. Watt would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Linebacker: Damien Wilson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Previously Appeared: Week 9
Ball production is king in the Team of the Week, and Wilson lived up to the billing. He forced a fumble and undercut a receiver for an interception. Out of the five total turnovers forced by linebackers in Week 18, he was responsible for a pair of them. He earned two defensive stops, and he turned his only pressure into a sack of Carson Wentz. Wilson had a 78.0 overall grade with a 91.2 pass rush grade.
De’Vondre Campbell would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Linebacker: Kwon Alexander, New Orleans Saints
Alexander forced one of the other five linebacker takeaways: a fumble. He led all linebackers with five pressures, and had one defensive stop. Alexander had a strong day in coverage, earning an 85.8 coverage grade. His five pressures corresponded with a 76.9 pass rush grade, and he had an overall grade of 79.1. The Saints came up short in their quest for the playoffs, but Alexander is the last person to blame.
Micah Parsons would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Cornerback: Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins
Howard got the ball rolling early, victimizing Mac Jones for a pick-six. It was Howard’s fifth interception of the season and his seventh forced turnover. He was picked on for 81 yards in coverage on six targets, but he only allowed a passer rating of 70.1. Howard had a clean day as a tackler, and he ended with a 75.9 overall grade.
Jalen Ramsey would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson had an average day at the office, posting a pedestrian 60.4 overall grade and 58.6 grade in coverage. However, he did nab an interception, returning it for a touchdown. It was Peterson’s first interception of the season, extending his streak to 11 consecutive seasons with a pick. In coverage, Peterson allowed a 48.6 passer rating, but he was flagged once.
AJ Terrell would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Safety: Bobby McCain, Washington Football Team
McCain was the highest-graded defensive player among players who played 10 snaps. He earned a ridiculous 94.7 grade across 60 snaps. He was a whirlwind of a cover player, intercepting a pair of passes and knocking away another. While he allowed a touchdown in coverage, he held the New York Giants to a 58.8 passer rating, and he earned a spectacular 93.5 coverage grade.
Kevin Byard would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Safety: Geno Stone, Baltimore Ravens
Stone had a special day in the back end of the Ravens’ defense. He nabbed an interception and batted away another pass. In coverage, Stone allowed just seven yards on three targets en route to a 2.8 passer rating. He earned a strong 82.4 overall grade with an effective 82.8 grade in coverage. He may not be in the long-term plans for the Ravens, but he did have an excellent day.
Jevon Holland would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Defensive Back: Cameron Sutton, Pittsburgh Steelers
In a battle of Pittsburgh’s defensive backs, Sutton gets the nod over Terrell Edmunds. Sutton was the highest-graded cornerback of Week 18, and he notched an interception against Tyler Huntley and the Ravens. When in coverage, he allowed just a 16.7 passer rating. He allowed one yard after the catch on three catches, surrendering just 10 yards in total. It was a classy way to end the regular season.
J.C. Jackson would earn the author’s All-Pro vote.
Be sure to check out our NFL Team of the Week every week for the playoffs.
Follow Ryan Potts on Twitter @MrSplashMan19
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