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Ex-Lobo Sanders named NFL All-Pro

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7) kicks a field goal in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)

In his third season with the Miami Dolphins, Jason Sanders elevated himself to the NFL’s elite.

The former University of New Mexico place-kicker on Friday received the most illustrious honor of his young career, as national media selected Sanders to its 2020 Associated Press All-Pro first team.

Sanders, 25, earned 23 out of 50 votes, more than twice as many as second-place finisher Justin Tucker of Baltimore, who garnered 11 votes.

Sanders tied Las Vegas’ Daniel Carlson and Atlanta’s Younghoe Koo for the NFL scoring lead with 144 points, which also equaled a Miami franchise record. Sanders made 36 out of 39 field goal attempts, including game-winners on the road against Arizona and Las Vegas. His 36 field goals were second-best in the NFL behind Koo’s 37, and his 20 field goals from 40-plus yards led the league. Sanders also made all 36 of his PAT attempts.

He was the only kicker in the NFL with a minimum of 15 attempts to be perfect on all his tries under 40 yards. He was particuarly sharp from long distance, making 8 out of 9 tries from 50 yards or beyond.

Sanders was named the AFC special teams player of the month in both October and November, and began 2020 by making his first 20 field-goal tries.

The Orange, California native was drafted by the Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2018 draft.

In Pro Bowl voting last month, it was the Ravens’ Tucker who was chosen as the AFC kicker.

Former UNM punter Corey Bojorquez of the Buffalo Bills finished fourth in All Pro voting.

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