December 16, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) The Associated Press has revamped the roster for its All-Pro team, beginning this season.

In an effort to more accurately reflect the way teams deploy their players, the AP and its panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who regularly cover the NFL have made adjustments on offense, defense and special teams.

On offense, linemen will now be voted for by specific position: left tackle, left guard, etc. There will be only one running back on the All-Pro team, but we are adding a flex player (running back, fullback, tight end or wide receiver, voter's choice). The flex player is designed to recognize the frequency of three receiver sets or the use of two tight ends.

On defense, the AP is adding a defensive back (DB) designation for the secondary. This is to recognize the importance of the slot cornerback in today's defenses. The DB can be a safety or a cornerback; the idea is to reward defensive backs who cover slot receivers.

We also are changing the listing of positions on the front seven to two edge rushers (basically 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers), two interior defensive linemen (basically 3-4 DEs, nose tackles and 4-3 defensive tackles), and three linebackers.

On special teams, a punt returner and a special teams player (non-returners) have been added to kickoff returner, placekicker and punter.

The AP will announce its All-Pro team on Jan. 6.

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