Kicker: Justin Tucker, Ravens
Season stats: 28 FGM | 29 FGA | 10-11 40-49 YDS | 1-1 50+ YDS | 57 XPM | 59 XPA
Tucker wasn’t among the league leaders in field goals or field goal attempts because of how prolific the offense was, but overall, he hit 85-of-88 kicks (96.6%), which allowed him to rank third in total points. The All-Pro selection could have gone for a few other guys, but Tucker’s game-winner as time expired in a battle of future No. 1 seeds to beat San Francisco was the difference.
Punter: Brett Kern, Titans
Season stats: 79 P | 3,672 YDS | 47.1 AVG | 43.1 NET | 37 IN20 | 30 RET
Kern joins Julio Jones, Jason Kelce, and Aaron Donald as the only players to make our All-Pro Team in each of the past three seasons, and he remains a difference-maker for Tennessee by consistently pinning opponents deep into their own territory. The 33-year-old had five more punts than a season ago, but he allowed three fewer returns.
Kick returner: Cordarrelle Patterson, Bears
Season stats: 28 KR | 825 YDS | 29.5 AVG | 22 20+ | 2 40+ | 1 TD
In his first year with the Bears, Patterson led the league in kick return yardage, returns of 20+ yards, and return average among players with more than 20 opportunities. There wasn’t really an eye-opening season from anyone else, so the former first-round pick is our preferred choice because his straightforward style rarely led to poor field position for Chicago.
Punt returner: Nyheim Hines, Colts
Season stats: 9 PR | 281 YDS | 31.2 AVG | 4 20+ | 3 40+ | 2 TD
The limited action in the return game for Hines potentially makes him a controversial selection, but in just a quarter of the opportunities compared to AP First-Team selection Deonte Harris (36), he had more returns of 40+ yards (three to one), more touchdowns (two to one), and just as many returns of 20+ yards (four each). Hines proved to be a true game-breaker for Indy, and he should open 2020 as their primary returner.
Special teamer: Matthew Slater, Patriots
Season stats: 10 TKL | 1 FR | 1 KB
Slater has been a staple on special teams for New England, and he had another standout season in both kick and punt coverage while playing a career-high 72% of the snaps on the third unit. Also, the fumble recovery and blocked kick for Slater were surprisingly the first of each in his career.