While the NFLPA selected Atlanta’s Cordarrelle Patterson, who had just nine kick returns in 2022, as their first-team All-Pro, the Associated Press has named the Green Bay Packers’ Keisean Nixon the top kick returner in football for the 2022 season. He was the lone Packers named first-team All-Pro, but cornerback Jaire Alexander was named to the second team.
According to the Packers’ Wes Hodkiewicz, Nixon earned 44 of the potential 50 first-place votes for the kick returner spot. Second in the running was the Minnesota Vikings’ Kene Nwangwu. Patterson was found nowhere in sight.
Despite not being named to the Pro Bowl, this All-Pro honor adds an exclamation point to the end of a 1,009-yard season that saw Nixon develop from a relative unknown into a fan favorite. The next step? It’s time for Green Bay to pay up for their returner, who is set to be a free agent in 2023.
Hodkiewicz also noted that Alexander, who was the Packers’ only Pro Bowler in 2022, received 16 first-place votes at cornerback to the New York Jets’ Sauce Gardner’s 43 and the Denver Broncos’ Patrick Surtain’s 20. If you’re thinking about these players in tiers, Gardner is number one by a mile while Surtain and Alexander were something like 2A and 2B.
While quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Aaron Jones, left guard Elgton Jenkins and outside linebacker Preston Smith — like Nixon — were named as Pro Bowl alternates back in December, none of them cracked the first- or second-team All-Pro rosters.