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Next Gen Stats 2023 All-Pro Team: Browns, Chiefs, Williams bros head up defense; plus, special teamers

With the NFL regular season in the books, the Next Gen Stats analytics team dives into advanced data to spotlight the best of the best at each position. Check out the NGS 2023 NFL All-Pro Team, with defensive and special teams selections featured below.


Micah Parsons
Dallas Cowboys

When discussing pass rushers, it's Micah Parsons ... and then everyone else. Parsons led the NFL in pressures (99) despite being double-teamed on a career-high 21.4 percent of his pass rushes this season. A league-high 62 of those pressures occurred in under 2.5 seconds. Parsons doesn't just get there, but he gets there fast; his 2.31-second average time to pressure was the quickest among all defenders with at least 300 pass rushes this season.

Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns

This 6-foot-4, 272-pounder rests atop the aforementioned "everyone else" group of pass rushers. Rarely is being second in any category acceptable to the modern athlete, but Garrett coming in just a tick behind Micah Parsons in metrics such as quick pressures (54) and average time to pressure (2.32 seconds) is nothing to scoff at. Garrett's best trait has always been his burst, and seven seasons into his pro career, it's still getting quicker. The Texas A&M product got off the ball in 0.66 seconds on average this season -- a career-best mark for Garrett that was also the quickest average get-off among defenders with at least 300 pass rushes.

Quinnen Williams
New York Jets

One half of the only pair of brothers to make the NGS All-Pro squad, Quinnen Williams immediately rewarded the Jets for rewarding his hard work with a four-year, $96 million extension this past July. Williams led all defensive tackles in pressures (70), with a league-leading 24 of those coming against double-teams. He also made his presence felt in ground defense, boasting the second-lowest run-stop EPA (-31.7) among DTs.

Chris Jones
Kansas City Chiefs

Jones triggered a $1.25 million incentive in his contract this past Sunday in dramatic fashion, sacking Easton Stick on his 31st pass rush of the game and hitting a top speed of 14.85 mph running to the sideline to celebrate with his teammates. (Fun fact: That would have been his fourth-fastest top speed of the season!) Money aside, Jones tied the league-high on the season with 12 pressures in that game, his most in a game since at least 2018. That brought his season pressure total to 66, tied for the third-most among defensive tackles. A whopping 30 of those pressures came in under 2.5 seconds, the most at his position.

Fred Warner
San Francisco 49ers

Warner's reign of terror over the middle third of the field resumed this season after he allowed +4.9 and +5.9 target EPA figures in 2021 and '22, respectively. His -16.1 target EPA this season, fueled by four interceptions and 11 passes defensed, was his best mark since 2020 and the second-best figure among off-ball linebackers this season. Going back to Warner's rookie season in 2018, no team has allowed fewer completions (626) and yards per attempt (7.2) to the middle third of the field than the 49ers.

Quincy Williams
New York Jets

The older of the Williams brothers, Quincy is a long-established run defender, but his 2023 numbers are something else. His 98 defensive stops were the second-most in the NFL, 30 more than his previous career high of 68, set last season. He also paid his dues in coverage this season, seeing the third-most targets among linebackers (73) yet allowing just the 17th-most yards (403), equaling a -11.0 target EPA. He also tied for the second-most passes defensed (10) at his position. This man truly broke out in 2023.

L'Jarius Sneed
Kansas City Chiefs

Simply put, Sneed was this season's premier coverage cornerback. A.J. Brown, DJ Moore, Stefon Diggs and Justin Jefferson are just a few of the high-profile names Sneed locked up. In fact, he lined up against those four stars on 65 percent or more of their routes in a game ... and held all four to just one reception each. He allowed a completion on just 50 percent of his targets this season, yielding the fifth-lowest target EPA among all defenders (-29.7). Sneed will have his hands full with Tyreek Hill and/or Jaylen Waddle this Saturday night, but Chiefs fans can rest easy knowing the cover man didn't allow a single reception on four total targets to those receivers during a Kansas City win back in Week 9.

Denzel Ward
Cleveland Browns

Denzel Ward easily outlasting Baker Mayfield in Cleveland is an outcome few could have predicted when the Browns drafted the duo fourth and first overall, respectively, back in 2018, but here we are, with Mayfield quarterbacking the Buccaneers and Ward leading a Cleveland secondary that features the top three cornerbacks by coverage success rate (minimum 50 targets). Ward (68.3%), Greg Newsome II (67.2%) and Martin Emerson (67.1%) may go down as one of the great cornerback trios, should the arm of Joe Flacco and the shutdown defense led by Ward and Myles Garrett carry Cleveland deep into the postseason.

Kyle Hamilton
Baltimore Ravens

The youngest player on this entire NGS All-Pro roster at 22, Hamilton enjoyed his breakout season in Year 2. He operates as a Swiss Army Knife in Mike Macdonald's defense, splitting his time lining up as a safety (44.6% of defensive snaps), slot corner (32.1%) and as a linebacker (16.3%), among other spots. Hamilton did much of his damage from the slot, allowing the fewest yards per target among defensive backs from such an alignment (3.0, min. 25 targets), as well as generating the second-most pressures when used on blitzes from the slot (nine).

Antoine Winfield Jr.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winfield gets his due following a ruthless snubbing from the NFC's Pro Bowl roster. Taking the ball away from the offense is the name of the game for modern NFL defenses. Winfield did just that on Sunday, when he saved a touchdown by forcing a D.J. Chark fumble that fell through the end zone. His 12 passes defensed this season tied Kyle Hamilton for most among safeties, and his 27.9 percent ballhawk rate was the fourth highest among all defenders (minimum 30 targets). If stopping offenses in their tracks all season long isn't good enough for the Pro Bowl, then what is?

Jessie Bates
Atlanta Falcons

After moving from Cincinnati to Atlanta this past offseason on a four-year, $64.02 million deal, Bates provided Week 1 returns to the Falcons when he picked off rookie quarterback Bryce Young twice in the No. 1 overall pick's NFL debut. And that was just the beginning, as Bates generated the second-fewest receptions over expected among safeties on passes of 10-plus air yards (-3.4), finishing the regular season with the highest ballhawk rate among all defenders on such attempts (47.6 percent, minimum 15 targets).


Brandon Aubrey
Dallas Cowboys

The legend of Brandon Aubrey has been well documented throughout this season. As it turns out, the former professional soccer player-turned-software engineer whose wife made an off-the-cuff comment about him being able to kick field goals actually can kick field goals -- and might be better at it than everyone else. Aubrey converted 36 of his 38 field goal attempts this season, including going a league-best 10-for-10 on kicks of 50 or more yards.

AJ Cole
Las Vegas Raiders

Punters will take love where they can get it, and for Las Vegas' AJ Cole, that place is right here. The man with the farthest boot of the season -- 93.8 yards by air distance against the Giants in Week 9 -- also owned the highest percentage of punts to land outside the numbers (69.3 percent, minimum 50 punts). It didn't come easy for Cole, either -- despite being pressured at the highest rate among punters with at least 50 punts this season, he did not have a single punt blocked.

Keisean Nixon
Green Bay Packers

He may not have recorded one of the four kick-return touchdowns this season, but the fearless Nixon's 30 kick-return attempts were eight more than the next-closest player (Xavier Gipson) and led to his league-high 782 kick-return yards -- 271 more than Gipson's total. His +81 kick-return yards over expected were the third-most league-wide.

Britain Covey
Philadelphia Eagles

The 5-8 speedster out of Utah made a name for himself in the return game this season, accumulating not only the most punt-return yards (417) but also the most punt-return yards over expected (+159). Consistently giving the offense a shorter field to work with outweighed the fact that Covey didn't score a touchdown; his 69.0 percent punt-return success rate was the highest among all returners with at least 20 punt returns this season.

-- Mike Band, Keegan Abdoo and John Andersen contributed to this story.

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