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Vander Esch an All-Pro in first season in the league

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Leighton Vander Esch has had quite a year. The rookie out of Boise State was a first-round draft pick after wowing at the combine, became a starter for the Dallas Cowboys (America’s team, mind you) after an injury to Sean Lee, leads said team in tackles with 140 (it’s more if you go off Dallas coaching film), and today was named a second-team All-Pro by the AP (he was snubbed by the rubes who vote for Pro-Bowlers).

Now, let me remind you of a fact that seems to have eluded the NFL analyst/announcer crowd—Mr. Vander Esch (neé the Wolf Hunter) used to play 8-man football. Can you imagine if that fact got out?

All jokes aside, it’s a remarkable ascent for a player with honestly very few games under his belt and a ceiling that seems to keep creeping skyward. Vander Esch not only leads the playoff-bound Cowboys in tackles (with two INTs and 7 PBUs), he’s third in the entire league in stops. He’s joined on the 2nd team LB group by no-names like Von Miller and C.J. Mosley. Hard work, determination, and being 6’4” 260 lbs and a freak athlete pays off, kids!

Entire AP roster is HERE.

While you’re on the internet, might as well grab some Wolf Hunter merch, no? Now made with real wolf!