Last night the NFL revealed which star players from around the league will attend the annual Pro Bowl all-star game. Pro Bowl status is prized by the players as it offers both a distinction among their peers but more importantly additional dollars on any future pay cheque. Pro Bowl nominations are currently voted for by the fans, players and coaches with each group accounting for 1/3 of the vote. Below is the Top-10 from this years public vote:
Fan voting accounts for 1/3 of #NFL Pro Bowl nominations. Public vote:
1) Le'Veon Bell #HereWeGo
2) Tom Brady #GoPats
3) Antonio Brown
4) Carson Wentz #FlyEaglesFly
5) Drew Brees #GoSaints
6) Todd Gurley
7) Russell Wilson
8) Jared Goff
9) Rob Gronkowski
10) Leonard Fournette
— TheInsideZone.com (@TheInsideZone) December 19, 2017
Yet every year the Pro Bowl features “popular” well known players who in reality had worse seasons than some left at home. Below I will look ten players I feel were ‘snubbed’ and deserve to be recognised as Pro Bowlers based on their level of play this year.
Jordan Howard (RB, Chicago Bears); Rodger Saffold (OG, LA Rams); Joel Bitonio (OG, Cleveland Browns); Lavonte David (LB, Tampa Bay Bucs); Chris Jones (Punter, Dallas Cowboys); Justin Tucker (K, Baltimore Ravens); David Andrews (C, New England Patriots).
10) Damon “Snacks” Harrison, DT, New York Giants
Snacks Harrison could find himself on this years All-Pro list but has been overlooked for the Pro Bowl. Playing on a bad team that has largely under performed is a sure fire way to become a Pro Bowl snub but Snacks’ high level of play this season and his strong public image should have swung votes in his favour. Harrison has once again been the best run stuffing interior defensive linemen and is playing at an even higher level than last season despite the talent surrounding him under achieving.
9) Case Keenum, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Keenum has surpassed all expectations this season and has stepped in without missing a beat. Despite not receiving first string reps this past off season, according to ESPN Keenum is 3rd in their Total Quarterback Rating which factors in rushing and a wider range of statistics. Keenum is 3rd behind Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz.
8) Adrian Amos, Safety, Chicago Bears
While Earl Thomas has the star power to warrant Pro Bowl votes, his level of performance this season was surpassed by Adrian Amos. His contribution in the run game has set him apart from other free safeties in 2017. Amos has been excellent against the pass but he’s also been a force in and around the box and has offered plenty of versatility from the FS position.
7) Kevin Byard, FS, Tennessee Titans
I’m not too sure what more Byard could have done to warrant Pro Bowl recognition? While Eric Weddle has played well for Baltimore, I’m sure Byard is more deserving than Bills SS Micah Hyde who made the roster. Byard’s been effective against the run and a ball hawk in the back end with six interceptions (2nd in the NFL). While he’s playing on a team that isn’t getting much national coverage, Byard has been impressive this season.
6) Tre’Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills
Granted A.J. Bouye, Jalen Ramsey and Casey Heyward have played well this season but Aqib Talib over Tre’Davious White? Talib has not been his normal dominant self this year while White has been a lockdown corner. White is fourth in the NFL with 4INTs and 9th in pass break ups. White has not even been named an alternative… something’s wrong!
5) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Miami Dolphins
Suh has enjoyed his best year as a Miami Dolphin and this season was the best interior defensive linemen not named Aaron Donald – fact. He’s been the second best run stuffer behind “Snacks” Harrison and Top-10 in pass rush despite being double teamed on every snap. Suh deserves to be in the Pro Bowl this year especially when you compare his level of play this year to the other three from the AFC – Jurrell Casey, Geno Atkins and Malik Jackson.
4) David Bakhtiari, LT, Green Bay Packers
Despite missing four games this season, when healthy David Bakhtiari has looked like the best offensive linemen in the NFL – Joe Thomas only played 7 games. Bakhtiari is extremely smooth in pass protection and able to fend off both speed rushers and go pound for pound against bull rushes. Bakhtiari has only allowed a staggering six pressures all season and his omission from the list is puzzling. Based on performance this season, I would have Bakhtiari ahead of Dallas’ Tyron Smith.
3) Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles
Ok I will admit that Alex Mack of the Falcons and Travis Frederick of the Cowboys have had good seasons but Kelce has been the best center in football this year. He’s been influential in helping Wentz’ development with identifying blitzers and protection while anchoring against bull rushers inside. In run blocking, Kelce is playing at a historic level and is the best pulling center in the NFL. He’s athletic enough to work into space and looks for work in the second level against linebackers and safeties. Kecle is also extremely strong and able to generate a push upfront when going blow for blow with interior defensive linemen.
2) Harrison Smith, FS, Minnesota Vikings
Harrison Smith has been the best safety in football this season. He’s a key component of one of the league’s best defense and is constantly seeing whizzing across monitors. He’s excelled in coverage and playing the run and deserves to be an All-Pro let alone a Pro Bowl nod. This one does not make sense and he should be on the roster instead of Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins.
1) Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Yes the Kansas City Chiefs have struggled recently but the blame for that is solely on the offensive and defensive lines. Alex Smith leads the league in QBR with 105.4. So far he’s had 25TDs and only 5INTs. Smith is 3rd in completion percentage, 4th in yards per attempt, 5th in TDs, 7th in yards per game and 5th in QB rushing yards adding 342 yards (6.1 average) and 1 TD on the ground. Smith has balled out this season but a combination of long standing stigma and the Chiefs recent wobble appear to have conspired against him.
Who do you think was snubbed in this years Pro Bowl vote? Tweet your thoughts @TomLikeNFL.
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10 Notable Pro Bowl Snubs.