Despite finishing 6-10 and in last place of the AFC South in 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars were still able to send three players to the Pro Bowl in defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Josh Allen joining wide receiver DJ Chark.
2020 will likely be significantly tougher for the Jaguars to have a trio earn such honors considering their 1-10 record, but it doesn't mean they don't have players with strong cases like they did a year ago. The Pro Bowl will look much different, but it doesn't mean the Jaguars don't have players worthy of recognition on a national stage.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Pro Bowl will instead be held as a week-long virtual event as opposed to an All-Star game. There is still plenty of voting going on, however, and making Pro Bowls is still a major accomplishment in the eyes of players.
So even with Jacksonville's poor 2020 season in mind, which Jaguars do we think have cases to be made as Pro Bowl picks? We offer four suggestions here.
RB James Robinson
2020 stats: 194 carries for 890 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. 36 receptions for 280 yards (7.8 yards per reception) and two touchdowns. 1,170 scrimmage yards on 230 touches (5.1 yards per touch).
Is there a more obvious pick? James Robinson hasn't just been one of the best rookie running backs in the NFL this season, he has been one of the best running backs overall. He has accounted for 30.5% of Jacksonville's scrimmage yards, just barely behind Dalvin Cook (31.6%) and Derrick Henry (30.99%) but ahead of Alvin Kamara (29.66%). He is currently fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage and third in rushing yards. By all accounts, he has been among the best running backs in the NFL in 2020.
The biggest thing working against Robinson as a Pro Bowl candidate is the amount of star power at running back in the AFC. Henry will obviously earn a Pro Bowl spot, but there are also players like Josh Jacobs, Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire that could take votes from Robinson. Robinson has the second-best resume of all AFC running backs this year, though, and should be rewarded as such.
LB Myles Jack
2020 stats: 74 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, and three pass deflections.
Myles Jack's play has cooled off a bit since his dominant start to the season and his ankle injuries have likely played a big part in that. Despite him not playing quite at the elite level he was for the first month of the year, Jack has still put forth his best NFL season and has been among the best linebackers in the AFC this season. He has been a consistent playmaker in terms of forcing negative plays and he has been among the better linebackers in pass coverage in 2020.
Despite this, Jack faces a stiff challenge to make the Pro Bowl. One could argue he has been the AFC's best off-ball linebacker this season, but playing outside linebacker will likely count against him because the Pro Bowl still foolishly counts 3-4 and 4-3 outside linebackers in the same category. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree have two of those spots locked up, but Jack's play-making compared to his peers still makes him a deserving candidate.
P Logan Cooke
2020 stats: 40 punts for 1,877 yards (46.9 yards per punt). 12 punt returns allowed for 74 yards. 11 punts downed within the 10-yard line.
Braden Mann has certainly been a fine punter for the New York Jets in 2020, but he has zero arguments over Logan Cooke as the AFC's top punter this season. Cooke had a good season in 2019 but he has reached a top-tier status in terms of punters, giving the Jaguars a terrific specialist to bail out their offense. Cooke has placed 18 punts within the opposing team's 20-yard line and 11 of those punts were downed within the 10-yard line.
Only nine punters in the league are placing the ball within the 20 on a more frequent basis, but no other punter in the entire NFL is putting the ball within the opponent's 10-yard line than Cooke, who leads the league in percentage of kicks within the 10 at 27.5%. Cooke has been one of the best at his entire position this year and this is backed up by both the tape and the metrics.
C Brandon Linder
2020 stats: one penalty.
Brandon Linder has missed a few games with injuries this year but there haven't been many centers more consistent than him when he is on the field. Linder has turned in a career year in terms of blocking efficiency for the Jaguars, frequently moving defensive tackles with ease and sealing off linebackers for James Robinson. No player has been more pivotal to Robinson's success this year than Linder and there is a good argument to make this is the best Linder has played since his elite play in the 2017 postseason.
Linder is currently Pro Football Focus' No. 2 graded center but he is their top center in terms of pass blocking and comes in at No. 4 in terms of run blocking. Add in the fact that his penalties have regressed from 10 in 2019 to 1 in 2020 and it is hard to argue against Linder as a player deserving of a Pro Bowl honor this year.