The votes are in, and the Associated Press has officially announced their 2023 All-Pro teams. Nex to only the end-of-the-year awards, this is the most prestigious honor an NFL player can earn for his performance from the recent NFL season. The Pittsburgh Steelers had two representatives on the All-Pro Team this year.
There are over 700 starting NFL players in the NFL, but just a few names can make the First-Team All-Pro list each season. Those who narrowly miss the cut can earn Second-Team All-Pro if they receive enough votes from the Associated Press.
It was a tight race, but T.J. Watt has once again earned First-Team All-Pro honors -- this time for his efforts during the 2023 NFL season. This is Watt's fourth time earning this remarkable honor. His other All-Pro years included 2019, 2020, and 2021. Watt was also named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 to go with his All-Pro honors.
The only other Pittsburgh Steelers player to earn either First-Team or Second-Team All-Pro honors this year was safety Miles Killebrew, who made First-Team honors for special teams. Former Steelers All-Pros like Cameron Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick did not make the cut this year after they each missed significant time with injuries.
In 2022, Watt missed seven games with a pectoral injury and recorded just 5.5 sacks on the year. Now that he was back to full strength, he's also back to earning All-Pro honors. This didn't come easy, however. As the Associated Press changed their format in how they now identify edge defenders, Watt was competing with outstanding football players like Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons, and Maxx Crosby this year.
T.J. Watt is currently writing history
In the end, it was Garrett who received the most All-Pro votes, but Watt was one of two edge defenders to earn First-Team All-Pro honors. Both Parsons and Crosby were voted Second-Team All-Pro. In 2023, Watt led the league with 19.0 sacks while recording 68 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 36 QB hits, 4 forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown, per Pro Football Reference. Watt also disrupted passing lanes in 2023 with 8 passes defended and an interception.
Watt made history during the 2023 season by becoming the first player in NFL history to lead the league in sacks in three separate seasons. He also becomes just one of four players in history to earn at least two seasons of 19.0 sacks.
The Steelers star has become a legend in the making, and he will have a chance to build on his historic pace in 2024. With a tremendous number of accolades under his belt (that now includes four First-Team All-Pros to go with DPOY honors), Watt has already assembled a Hall of Fame resume at 30 years old. His most dominant seasons may be behind him, but he can continue to solidify his name in the history books in the coming years in Pittsburgh.
You can check out the full 2023 All-Pro Team Roster on AP News.