On December 18, the 2019 Pro Bowl rosters were announced and it looks like it should be another fun one in the 407. There are plenty of obvious choices at each position, such as Pro Bowl main stays like Antonio Brown, Patrick Peterson, and Luke Kuechly along with many new faces like Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, and James Conner. You look at the names of everyone on the rosters and think they all deserve their Pro Bowl appearance; but then you remember who they left off.
Let’s start in the AFC. The QB’s that made the Pro Bowl are Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady. Not a bad list right? Well when you look at the body of work from Tom Brady, most would say this is not a Pro Bowl season from him. He has been in the top half of the league and at the top in the AFC but Andrew Luck should have been in over Tom Brady.
His team is still in the playoff hunt, he has thrown more touchdowns and just 28 less yards than Brady so far this season. Another teammate of Luck’s who was snubbed was Darius Leonard. Not only does the rookie from South Carolina State lead the AFC in tackles, he leads the entire NFL in that category. The three guys picked over him include Von Miller, Jadeveon Clowney, and Dee Ford. Once again, another good list of players, right?
On the list of total tackles at the linebacker position, Darius Leonard ranks first in combined, solo, and assisted tackles in the AFC whereas Miller and Ford are tied for 39th in combined and Clowney is 48th. Looking at Ford and Clowney, they are primarily one trick ponies who are in the game to rush the passer and that is it and it is evident by their high sack total, but Darius Leonard only have one less sack and 109 more tackles than Clowney.
Dee Ford nor Jadeveon Clowney have any coverage statistics and Von Miller only has three deflections and one interception to Leonard’s seven deflections and one interception. It’s a shame that someone who will have the highest combined tackles in the AFC since Vontaze Burfict in 2013 (yes he made the Pro Bowl) will not be traveling to Orlando.
Now to the NFC. Many people wonder why Odell Beckham Jr., a crowd favorite, did not make the Pro Bowl this season. While he has had a good season, it does not compare to that of Davante Adams whom people think should not be in over Odell. They neglect to look and see that Adams is beating Beckham in all major statistical categories. Adams is beating Odell in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns this season and there is no way Beckham can catch up. Now on to what many fans believe are the biggest tragedies of the Pro Bowl snubs, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey.
The three running backs chosen over them were Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, and Saquon Barkley. It is very hard to justify not taking any of those guys but here I am finding ways to do it. Both McCaffrey and Kamara are in their second year, both are approaching 1,000 rushing yards and have double digit touchdowns combined from rushing and receiving. Kamara is one of the most efficient and elusive running backs in the NFL who combines speed with power and finesse while McCaffrey is on pace to break the single season record for most receptions by a running back set by Matt Forte in 2014. Not to mention McCaffrey can also break a record for most games with 8+ receptions by a running back, set by Larry Centers in 1996 with six games, and the record for most games with a least five passes caught by a running back. Matt Forte also has that record, catching 5+ passes in 14 of 16 games.
Record breaking seasons from record breaking players deserve spots in the Pro Bowl and that fact these players are not getting in is heinous.
By: Joe Zollo