CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Luke Kuechly and running back Christian McCaffrey have been named All-Pros. Kuechly was selected to the first team for the fifth time, while McCaffrey – selected to the “flex” position - was a second-teamer in his first year of inclusion.
A spot on the Associated Press All-Pro team, because of roster size and because there are no injury replacements, is a more difficult honor to secure than the Pro Bowl (Kuechly was also picked to the Pro Bowl; McCaffrey is an alternate). Just three linebackers are tabbed on each of the two All-Pro teams, and just one running back and one flex are voted onto each team. Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was the first-team flex player, while Todd Gurley of the Rams and Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys were the running backs.
Kuechly has been a first-team selection every year since 2013 except for 2016, when he was on the second team. His five first-team selections tie Texans defensive end J.J. Watt for most among players on rosters this past season. He ranked eighth in the NFL with 130 tackles, according to press box statistics, and tied for third with a franchise-record 20 tackles for loss.
Since entering the league in 2012, Kuechly has recorded 948 tackles, the most by any player over that stretch. He also has 16 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries since 2012, the most interceptions and total takeaways by any linebacker during that period.
McCaffrey finished with a franchise-best 1,965 scrimmage yards (third most in the league), becoming the third player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 100 receptions. He tallied 107 receptions, the most by any running back in NFL history and the most by any Panthers player regardless of position in one season. He ran for 1,098 rushing yards and had 867 receiving yards, the most receiving yards by any running back in the NFL.
He totaled seven rushing touchdowns, six receiving touchdowns and one passing touchdown - a 50-yard throw in Week 15 against the Saints that made him one of only two players in NFL history (along with Walter Payton) with 50 yards rushing, receiving and passing in a single game.