The Pro Football Writers of America announced their All-NFL, All-AFC/NFC, and All-Rookie teams on Tuesday, with a couple of Miami Dolphins landing on the lists. For the All-AFC Team, Miami was represented by cornerback Xavien Howard, while the All-Rookie team included kicker Jason Sanders. A surprising name not listed for the Dolphins was rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Howard tied for the league lead in interceptions this season with seven, despite missing the final four games of the year with a knee injury. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl and finished the year with 35 tackles, one fumble recovery, 12 passes defensed, and the seven interceptions. He was asked by the Dolphins to shadow the top receivers of teams throughout the year, and he is quickly becoming a shutdown cornerback. He is joined at cornerback on the All-AFC Team by Stephon Gilmore from the New England Patriots, who also made the All-NFL Team.
Sanders was 18-for-20 in field goals this year, along with a 35-for-36 mark in extra points. His 90-percent field goal conversion rate was the fifth best in team history, trailing the 91.3 percent conversion season by Jay Feely in 2007 and matched by Cody Parkey in 2017, the 90.5 percent mark from Olindo Mare in 2001, and the 90.3 percent conversion from Mare in 2000. Sanders’ only missed field goals came against the Detroit Lions on a 46-yard attempt with less than a minute to go in the game and Miami trailing by 11 and against the Jacksonville Jaguars on a 47-yard attempt in the second quarter.
Fitzpatrick, who starred anywhere Miami played him throughout the season, is surprisingly not on the All-Rookie list. His play time split as a slot cornerback, a boundary cornerback, and a free safety may have split his votes and led to the omission. The All-Rookie Team cornerbacks were Jaire Alexander from the Green Back Packers and Denzel Ward from the Cleveland Browns. The Cincinnati Bengals’ Jessie Bates and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Derwin James were selected as the All-Rookie safeties.