** Pro Bowl Selections are at the bottom***
Reggie Nelson is a player who made this year’s Pro Bowl largely due to his performance in 2015. He led the NFL In interceptions last year, and has played decently this season, but Nelson has made the Pro Bowl this year thanks to fan voting and the name recognition he received from his 2015 season. His selection comes as a surprise given that he is not an instantly recognizable player and his play has not been impressive enough to warrant the top votes of his peers in the league. He has had 4 INT’s this year, which is something to be proud of, but he has consistently been beaten deep and his defense has given up way too many big plays for him to be a Pro Bowler.
Fitzgerald is another player who has made this Pro Bowl based on past merits. He is having an okay season, but in the past 5 games he has only once eclipsed 65 yards receiving and has only 1 game over 100 yards on the season. In addition, he hasn’t caught a touchdown in 9 games. Those are simply not Pro Bowl numbers.
If the season ended 8 games in, then Amari Cooper would not only be a Pro Bowler but an all-pro at his position. Through his first 8 games this year, Cooper had 4 incredible games of 137, 138, 129, and 173 yards receiving, and he was playing at an unmatched level. However, since those first 8 games he has not had more than 60 yards receiving, including 3 games of receiving yards in the 20’s. Cooper has had some great games, but has been far too inconsistent to be a Pro Bowl selection. He has had 4 games with only 20 total receiving yards, only 4 TD’s on the year, and a disappointing number of dropped balls. Outside of those 4 big games mentioned before, he has not done anything special. He is playing good football, but Cooper has made the 2016 Pro Bowl because he was a high draft pick out of Alabama with the Raider Nation’s support behind him.
This isn’t saying that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t deserve a Pro Bowl bid. He is having a Pro Bowl caliber season, especially the way the team is looking as of late and heading into the playoffs. Despite this, the selection comes as a surprise because of who he has been chosen over. Matthew Stafford was in the MVP discussion for most of this season, and Drew Brees has been putting up video game numbers every week. With this competition from other QBs in the league, it is tough to say Rodgers deserves this selection.
Drew Brees is going to throw for 5000 yards and close to 40 TD’s. How in the world does that stat line itself not get Drew Brees into the Pro Bowl? While his team isn’t going to the playoffs, Brees cannot be deemed responsible. That stat line alone is the only evidence you need to show why Brees is a Pro Bowl snub.
This one I understand a little bit more, but Gordon is going to run for over 1000 yards (assuming he comes back from his injury) and has double digit touchdowns. He has been one of the most consistent players all year, yet he will not be going to the Pro Bowl. It is rare to see a 1000 yard rusher, but to see one with double digit touchdowns is even rarer, especially in today’s NFL. Despite his performance, being on a poor team limited Gordon’s Pro Bowl votes, resulting in this snub.
Given the fact that Melvin Gordon is being considered a snub, Blount should be a given. He is on a winning team, has run for over 1000 yards and has 15 touchdowns. By the end of the year, Blount could approach 20 touchdowns without a Pro Bowl selection. A huge disappointment for a player having such a great season.
Matthew Stafford has gone from being in the MVP discussion to being left out of the Pro Bowl in a matter of a few weeks. The only reason Stafford might not have deserved a selection is if the Lions were to collapse and lose the division title to the Packers ( I think they will, you can find out in this article. Predictions: 2016 NFL Division Winners). However, voting took place long before that possibility, and Stafford’s production at QB has spoken for itself this year.
Stats are unnecessary for this one. How is Andrew Luck not in the Pro Bowl over Ben Roethlisberger? Luck has single-handedly carried his team into playoff contention again, and without Luck, the Indianapolis Colts would be the Cleveland Browns. He is not quite in the MVP discussion, but should definitely be in the Pro Bowl for his continued production despite a weak supporting cast.
He is 2nd in the NFL with 140 tackles and has been playing solid football all season on arguably the best team in the league. The Cowboys defense has been revamped and he is a huge reason why, yet he hasn’t received any Pro Bowl love. Another disappointing snub that is a result of the terrible NFL Pro Bowl voting system that puts too much emphasis on reputation.
*** Check Below for all the Pro Bowl Selections***
Tom Brady, Patriots – Derek Carr, Raiders – Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Dak Prescott, Cowboys – Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Matt Ryan, Falcons
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – LeSean McCoy, Bills – DeMarco Murray, Titans – Kyle Juszczyk, Ravens
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys – Devonta Freeman, Falcons – David Johnson, Cardinals – Mike Tolbert, Panthers
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Amari Cooper, Raiders – A.J. Green, Bengals – T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants – Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Julio Jones, Falcons – Mike Evans, Buccaneers
Travis Kelce, Chiefs – Delanie Walker, Titans
Greg Olsen, Panthers – Jordan Reed, Redskins
Joe Thomas, Browns – Donald Penn Raiders – Taylor Lewan, Titans – Marshal Yanda, Ravens – Kelechi Osemele, Raiders – David DeCastro, Steelers – Rodney Hudson, Raiders – Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
Tyron Smith, Cowboys – Trent Williams, Redskins – Jason Peters, Eagles – Zack Martin, Cowboys – Brandon Scherff, Redskins – T.J. Lang, Packers – Travis Frederick, Cowboys – Alex Mack, Falcons
Khalil Mack, Raiders – Cameron Wake, Dolphins – Jadeveon Clowney, Texans – Geno Atkins, Bengals – Ndamukong Suh, Dolphins – Jurrell Casey, Titans
Everson Griffen, Vikings – Cliff Avril, Seahawks – Michael Bennett, Seahawks – Aaron Donald, Rams – Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers – Fletcher Cox, Eagles
Von Miller, Broncos – Lorenzo Alexander, Bills – Brian Orakpo, Titans – Dont’a Hightower, Patriots – C.J. Mosley, Ravens
Vic Beasley, Falcons – Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins – Thomas Davis, Panthers – Bobby Wagner, Seahawks – Luke Kuechly, Panthers
Chris Harris, Broncos – Aqib Talib, Broncos – Marcus Peters, Chiefs – Casey Hayward, Chargers
Janoris Jenkins, Giants – Patrick Peterson, Cardinals – Richard Sherman, Seahawks – Xavier Rhodes, Vikings
Devin McCourty, Patriots – Reggie Nelson, Raiders – Eric Berry, Chiefs
Landon Collins, Giants – Harrison Smith, Vikings – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers
Colts punter Pat McAfee – Ravens kicker Justin Tucker – Chiefs return specialist Tyreek Hill – Patriots kick coverage specialist Matthew Slater
Rams punter Johnny Hekker – Falcons kicker Matt Bryant – Vikings return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson – Giants kick coverage specialist Dwayne Harris
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.