Odell Beckham Jr., Fletcher Cox, Eddie Lacy lead list of Pro Bowl snubs
Every year, the Pro Bowl rosters are released, and every year, the fan voting leads to a number of highly questionable selections. This year is no exception. We have the full rosters, but who was unfairly omitted? You could make a very impressive team out of nothing but Pro Bowl snubs. Here are ours.
Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Patriots; Andrew Luck, Colts; Peyton Manning, Broncos; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers; Tony Romo, Cowboys
Who was snubbed? No arguments with the entrants here, though Manning's season has taken a downturn of late. Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson have had exceptional, under-the-radar seasons in different ways -- Ryan with an injured Julio Jones and a patchwork offensive line, and Wilson as one of the more effective rushers at any position -- but we're quibbling here.
Running Backs: Le'Veon Bell, Steelers; Jamaal Charles, Chiefs; Arian Foster, Texans; Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks; LeSean McCoy, Eagles; DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
Who was snubbed? We could start with Eddie Lacy. The Packers' power back has added an element to Green Bay's offense that hasn't really been there throughout the Aaron Rodgers era. And there have been games in which Lacy, and not Rodgers, has been the epicenter of the Packers' offense. Also, Baltimore's Justin Forsett has been one of the better comeback stories in recent years. He was an afterthought bounced by multiple teams, almost quit the game and found a real home in Gary Kubiak's system. Matt Forte has also been productive this season in an offense that is completely dysfunctional.
Wide receivers: Antonio Brown, Steelers; Dez Bryant, Cowboys; A.J. Green, Bengals; T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Calvin Johnson, Lions; Julio Jones, Falcons; Jordy Nelson, Packers; Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
Who was snubbed? Well, any list of the league's current best receivers that doesn't contain Odell Beckham, Jr. is an incomplete one, to say the least. Yes, the rookie missed time at the beginning of the season due to injuries, but he's been the most dominant player at his position over the second half of the season. He needs to make it as an alternate for sure. And if we have to have the requisite number of Eagles, how about taking LeSean McCoy off and putting Jeremy Maclin in?
Tight ends: Jimmy Graham, Saints; Rob Gronkowski, Patriots; Greg Olsen, Panthers; Julius Thomas, Broncos
Who was snubbed? Martellus Bennett is tied with Gronk and Olsen for the league lead for receptions among tight ends with 82, he's an exceptional blocker and he, like Forte, is doing his thing in an offense that doesn't seem to know its right hand from its left. Given Graham's recent disappearing act and his drop rate this season, we might want to sneak Bennett in there.
Fullbacks: John Kuhn, Packers; Marcel Reece, Raiders
Who was snubbed? We would like to see Baltimore's Kyle Juszczyk on this list. He's been a big part of Baltimore's redefined run game.
Tackles: Ryan Clady, Broncos; Jason Peters, Eagles; Tyron Smith, Cowboys; Joe Staley, 49ers; Joe Thomas, Browns; Trent Williams, Redskins
Who was snubbed? Cincinnati's Andrew Whitworth has allowed nine total pressures in 490 passing snaps, the best in the NFL this season. This is also a guy who will unselfishly slip inside to guard, playing at a Pro Bowl level there as well, when his team needs it. He certainly should have made it over Williams, who has struggled at times in an injury-plagued season.
Guards: Jahri Evans, Saints; Mike Iupati, 49ers; Kyle Long, Bears; Zack Martin, Cowboys; Josh Sitton, Packers; Marshal Yanda, Ravens
Who was snubbed? Um, Mike Iupati has allowed seven sacks this season, which leads the league among guards. Bengals right guard Kevin Zeitler has allowed seven total pressures this season, and he's not on the list. Zeitler is also one of the strongest run-blockers in the game. Kelechi Osemele has been the Ravens' better-blocking guard this season, for those in the know, and it's fairly ridiculous that Browns rookie guard Joel Bitonio didn't make it. Meanwhile, Jahri Evans has allowed more pressures (45) than any guard in football. Ugh. Don't worry, Mr. Bitonio: At this rate, you'll hit the list a lot in the next few years.
Centers: Travis Frederick, Cowboys; Jason Kelce, Eagles; Nick Mangold, Jets; Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
Who was snubbed? This is a pretty solid list, though Kansas City's Rodney Hudson deserves consideration as a developing pass blocker.
Defensive ends: Calais Campbell, Cardinals; Robert Quinn, Rams; Cameron Wake, Dolphins; DeMarcus Ware, Broncos; J.J. Watt, Texans; Mario Williams, Bills
Who was snubbed? The NFL needs to split this into 3-4 and 4-3 ends because any Pro Bowl list without Eagles end Fletcher Cox is pretty weird. Outside of Watt, Cox has been the best 3-4 end in the league this season. Seattle's Michael Bennett isn't racking up the sacks, but he's a pressure machine who slips through zone blocking like nobody's business, and he's just as valuable as a 4-3 pass-rushing defensive tackle.
Defensive tackles: Marcell Dareus, Bills; Aaron Donald, Rams; Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers; Dontari Poe, Chiefs; Ndamukong Suh, Lions; Kyle Williams, Bills.
Who was snubbed? This is a great list, but it would be nice to see Jacksonville's Sen'Derrick Marks on here. To rack up 8.5 sacks with very little around him in the way of pass rush? Marks has proven to be one of the NFL's better pressure tackles over the last two seasons and he needs a Pro Bowl berth sooner than later.
Outside linebackers: Connor Barwin, Eagles; Elvis Dumervil, Ravens; Tamba Hali, Chiefs; Justin Houston, Chiefs; Clay Matthews, Packers; Von Miller, Broncos.
Who was snubbed? Good to see both of the Chiefs' dynamic duo make it. We guess Baltimore's Pernell McPhee will continue his status as one of the NFL's most underrated players -- he plays effectively all over the front seven, and he's been a pressure machine. Oakland's Khalil Mack has played as well as anyone at the 4-3 outside linebacker position, and Detroit's DeAndre Levy should absolutely be on this list as a run-stopper and pass defender.
Inside linebackers: Luke Kuechly, Panthers; C.J. Mosley, Ravens; Lawrence, Timmons, Steelers; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks.
Who was snubbed? Poor Rolando McClain. First his house burns down and then he gets snubbed in the Pro Bowl (though obviously, the latter doesn't mean a thing compared to the former). McClain was a total bust with the Raiders, but he's come alive in Rod Marinelli's Cowboys defense as an elite run-stopper. It's also too bad that neither of the Patriots' inside guys, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, made it. Collins, who stepped in after Jerod Mayo was lost for the season, deserves a lot more mention than he gets.
Cornerbacks: Vontae Davis, Colts; Brent Grimes, Dolphins; Joe Haden, Browns; Chris Harris, Broncos; Patrick Peterson, Cardinals; Darrelle Revis, Patriots; Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Aqib Talib, Broncos
Who was snubbed? We're good with all these names and there are no notable omissions, though it could be argued that guys like Buffalo's Corey Graham and Carolina's Josh Norman have had better seasons than Haden has on a week-to-week basis.
Free safeties: Tashaun Gipson, Browns; Glover Quin, Lions; Earl Thomas, Seahawks; Eric Weddle, Chargers
Who was snubbed? Great to see Gipson, who led the league in picks before he was hurt, get in. You could argue for Minnesota's Harrison Smith here, but this is a pretty solid list.
Strong safeties: Kam Chancellor, Seahawks; T.J. Ward, Broncos.
Who was snubbed? Ward has had an up-and-down season, while San Francisco's Antoine Bethea has been lights-out all season. It should be Bethea as the starter over Ward and Chancellor, who struggled at times early in the season when he was hurt. We'd go with Bethea and Chancellor, in that order, only because Chancellor has been amazing over the last few weeks as he's been healthier. And Detroit's James Ihedigbo has been better in coverage than Quin, who made the roster.