Five New Orleans Saints players were selected to the 2018 Associated Press All-Pro team: wide receiver Michael Thomas was a first-team selection, while left tackle Terron Armstead, quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk were second-team selections. This marks the first time in franchise history that five Saints were selected by the AP.
2018 marks the first time that Thomas, in his third season was selected as an All-Pro. Thomas is the first Saints wide receiver to be selected to the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons since Joe Horn (2001-02) and joins Horn as the only other Saints wideout to have multiple selections. A second round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (47th overall) out of Ohio State, Thomas has followed up a standout first two seasons with a 2018 regular season campaign where he led the NFL in receiving with a franchise-record 125 receptions, the fifth-highest single-season total in NFL record books, for a team-record 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns. Thomas’ 321 receptions are the most by an NFL player in his first three seasons.
Armstead was selected to his first Pro Bowl in his sixth NFL season and has also been selected as an All-Pro for the first time. He started the first nine games of the season at left tackle for New Orleans, a period when the offensive line surrendered an NFL-low nine sacks, ranking first in the NFL in scoring (36.7 points per game), fifth in net yards per game (413.9 yards per game), eighth in rushing (126.8 yards per game) and seventh in passing (287.1 yards per game), opening 10 contests overall.
It is Brees’ fifth All-Pro selection as a Saint and his first since 2011. In 2018, Brees’ enjoyed another standout campaign with 12th Pro Bowl selection overall in his 18-year NFL career and his club-record 11th as a member of the Saints, who he joined in 2006. He has started all 15 games he appeared in and completed 364-of-489 passes (74.4 percent) for 3,992 yards with 32 touchdowns, only five interceptions and a 115.7 passer rating, surpassing his own NFL record in completion percentage and leading the league with his new career-high rating. He also set a new career-high with four rushing touchdowns. Brees engineered a league-high seven fourth quarter/overtime game-winning drives in 2018.
Brees was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week Three for his performance at Atlanta, when he led them to a 43-37 overtime win. Brees completed 39-of-49 passes for 396 yards with three touchdown passes with zero interceptions, to go with two rushing touchdowns, including the second in overtime to end the contest. He became the only player to have at least 350 passing yards, three touchdown passes, two rushing touchdowns and zero interceptions in a contest. In the game, Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in completions.
Two weeks later vs. Washington, Brees captured conference offensive player of the week honors again as he set another record by becoming the league’s all-time passing yardage leader in a 43-19 win on Monday night football. In the contest, Brees completed 26-of-29 (career-high 89.7 completion percentage) passes for 363 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 153.2 passer rating. In the second quarter on a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie wideout Tre’Quan Smith, Brees became the league’s all-time passing yardage leader.
Brees also shined in the first four contests of November, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors, when he completed 84-of-113 passes for 1,145 yards with 15 touchdowns, only one interception and a 142.1 passer rating in leading the Saints to a 4-0 mark. He led the NFL during the four-game period in touchdown passes, passer rating and passing touchdown percentage (13.3 percent).
Brees, a former Purdue standout, who originally entered the NFL as a second round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2001 (32nd overall), before signing with the Saints as an unrestricted free agent in 2006, has played in 264 career games (263 starts) and has completed 6,586-of-9,783 passes (67.3 percent) for 74,437 yards, 520 touchdowns and a 97.7 passer rating. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in completion percentage, completions and passing yardage, is ranked second in touchdown passes and has the third-highest passer rating.
Jordan was selected as an All-Pro for the second consecutive season in the edge rusher category, becoming the only Saints defensive end selected twice and joining defensive tackle La’Roi Glover (1998 and 2000) as the only Black and Gold defensive lineman named two times. Jordan is coming off a season where he was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl, the most selections in franchise history for a defensive end. He’s has enjoyed a standout season, starting all 16 games and recording 48 tackles (37 solo), 12 sacks, six passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The former University of California standout, who was the club’s first draft choice in 2011 (24th overall) enjoyed his fourth double-digit sack season.
In eight seasons, Jordan has appeared in all 128 games with 127 starts, including opening 113 consecutive games, the longest active consecutive games started streak by an NFL defensive lineman and has posted career totals of 503 tackles (312 solo), 71.5 sacks for losses of 488.5 yards, two interceptions, 46 passes defensed, ten forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. His takedown total is ranked fourth in club record books.
Ramcyzk, 6-6, 314 pounds, was selected by the club in the first round of the NFL Draft (32nd overall) in 2017 out of Wisconsin. It is his first All-Pro selection after he opened the first 15 games of the season at right tackle for a Saints team that finished ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing (126.6 yards per game) and was ranked third in scoring (31.5 points per game).