INDIANAPOLIS — In a season full of ups and downs for the Indianapolis Colts, two players, more than any, were able to stay consistent in their approach and in their production throughout the entire year.
Perhaps not surprisingly, those two players — punter
The entire list, which you can find here, lists McAfee as PFF’s First Team punter, while Hilton earned Honorable Mention honors at the wide receiver position, and Second Team honors at the flex.
Due to earning First Team honors, Monson wrote the following about McAfee’s 2016 season:
“There are few punters that can rival Pat McAfee’s control of the ball when punting. His ability to maximize hang time, distance, and still control the direction of the punt puts him at the top of our grades—and that’s without factoring in his work as a kickoff specialist for the Colts.”
Although PFF oftentimes uses its own grading system for players — and relies less on the more traditional stats — it’s hard to argue against the selection of McAfee as the league’s top punter.
McAfee in 2016 finished the year with an NFL-best 49.3 yards-per-punt average, establishing a new team record for a single season (topping his 48.2-yard average in 2012).
Also, with a 50.8-yard average Week 17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, McAfee tied his team record with a 40.0-yard average in each of the 16 games this season, a feat he also accomplished in 2011 and 2015. He also tied his team record for 50.0 yard-average games in a single season with five (something he also did in 2012).
Hilton, meanwhile, received an overall rating of 87.3 from Pro Football Focus this season, a figure that ranks fifth in the NFL.
But looking at the pure stats, Hilton, for the first time in his career, won the NFL’s receiving title by leading the league with 1,448 yards. In all, he had 91 receptions and six touchdowns, and his 28 receptions of 20-plus yards on the season were the most in the NFL.
The Ghost’s 91 receptions and 1,448 yards receiving were also career highs. He became the first Colts player to lead the league in receiving since 2007, when Reggie Wayne led the NFL with 1,510 yards.
It’s the eighth time in team history that a Colts player has led the league in receiving yards (four times in Indianapolis and Baltimore each).
In all, Hilton, who posted the fifth-best receiving year in team history, also passed Bill Brooks (5,818) for the sixth most and Jimmy Orr (5,859) for the fifth most receiving yards Colts history.
PFF ranked Mike Evans (93.3 grade), Julio Jones (92.6), Antonio Brown (89.7) and Odell Beckham Jr. (86.2) ahead of Hilton at the wide receiver position, and Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson as the First Team flex representative.
The Colts were the only AFC South Division team to have two honorees on this year's PFF All-Pro Team. Those making the list elsewhere in the AFC South:
• Houston Texans: A.J. Bouye (90.9 grade); Honorable Mention at cornerback
• Jacksonville Jaguars: Paul Posluszny (88.4 grade); Second Team at linebacker
• Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin (88.9 grade); First Team at right tackle