Were Josh Allen and DJ Chark Snubbed As Pro Bowl Replacements?
Every season, NFL players opt to not participate in the Pro Bowl for a variety of reasons. Whether it be due to the playoffs, injuries, or just needing to recharge from the grind of a long season.
When this happens, it sets up for alternates to be named to Pro Bowl. For teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars who have only one player currently selected to the game (defensive lineman Calais Campbell, in Jacksonville's case), this opens the door for more of their players to earn Pro Bowl honors.
But so far in 2020, the Jaguars are striking out as AFC alternates named as replacements for those not participating in the Pro Bowl, perhaps unjustifiably.
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa are two players who have so far opted out of playing in the All-Star game in Orlando. In their places, Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram have been named to the Pro Bowl.
Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen and wide receiver DJ Chark were both voted as Pro Bowl alternates when the rosters were first announced, but neither has been named as replacements, with Sutton and Ingram taking the places instead in this case.
Unless either player was offered an invitation and declined like the original players who are not participating were, it means Allen and Chark were passed over in favor of Ingram and Sosa. Do their 2019 performances indicate they should have been?
Sutton and Chark actually had similar production in 2019. In 16 games in 2019, Sutton caught 72 passes for 1,112 yards (15.5 average yards per catch) and six touchdowns. Establishing himself as a dangerous downfield threat, Sutton averaged 69.5 yards per game and 9.0 yards per target.
Comparatively, Chark had 73 catches for 1,008 yards (13.8 average yards per catch) with eight touchdowns in 15 games. Making a big jump in his sophomore season, Chark was one of Jacksonville's best players in 2019, totaling 67.2 yards per game and 8.5 yards per target. Had an ankle injury not slow him down at the end of the year, perhaps he would have produced even better numbers.
So Chark had more catches and touchdowns than Sutton, all while playing fewer games, but Sutton had more yards and was more dangerous on a catch-to-catch basis. Chark is certainly deserving of Pro Bowl consideration, but their numbers are close.
As for Ingram and Allen, there is more of a discrepancy from a production standpoint.
In 13 games in 2019, Ingram recorded seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, one fumble recovery, one interception, and five pass deflections. The veteran had a solid season considering the time he missed.
But compared to Allen, the seventh overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, his overall numbers are not quite as impressive. As a rookie, Allen recorded 10.5 sacks (leading all rookies and a new Jaguars' rookie sack record), 11 tackles for loss, 21 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles in 16 games played.
And despite playing in more games, Ingram actually played more snaps than Allen. In 2019, Ingram started 13 games and was on the field for 668 snaps (69% of Chargers' defensive snaps), While Allen only started four games and was on the field for 634 snaps (60% of Jaguars' defensive snaps).
Ingram played more than Allen in 2019 and overall didn't have better production. While Allen will likely miss out on defensive rookie of the year thanks to Nick Bosa's fantastic season, there is a good argument to make that he shouldn't be missing out on the Pro Bowl.