Pro-Bowl Rosters are out! Which picks need Questioning?
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I think the pro bowl selectors (players and coaches, not fans) seem to do a good job every year. The only problem with the current process is the handful of awful selections made out of a group that generally does pick the guys having the best years. In this article, I’ll look at some of the questionable selections, and those who got snubbed for them. Here’s 13 guys who were, we’ll say lucky that they got in.
WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos
There’s no doubt that the development, mentally as much as physically, of Marshall has been a big deal for the Broncos to go win 8 games this year (with one more to play), but last year he was sort of a ridiculous pro bowl pick, more for being a workhorse than great (with Jay Cutler’s field-reading ability and all), and he’s deserving of a pro bowl nod, but he’s not in the same class as Vincent Jackson who Marshall has now snubbed in two straight years. Marshall is a lot better than he was a year ago, but Jackson has a legitimate case along with Reggie Wayne to be called the best receiver in pro football.
The Jackson snub is not defensible. Selectors are simply ignorant. You could make an argument that Marshall and Jackson both deserved to go along with Wayne and Welker, and that Andre Johnson and Randy Moss should be the odd players out. Defensible, but I’d give the nod to Andre Johnson, one of the best talents in the game.
OT Jake Long, Dolphins
Great player, great career ahead of him, this is the first of many pro bowl trips for the big guy from Lapeer, MI. This year though, you can’t say enough about the year that Titans RT David Stewart had, except that they couldn’t find a spot in the pro bowl for him. Granted, the AFC is flush with dominant tackles right now, and there’s nothing wrong with Long getting to go, but Stewart might have been the best tackle in the league this year, and his linemate, Michael Roos, might have been the best in the league last year. Jason Peters was in the NFC this year, so he wasn’t around to snub more deserving players, so either Jake Long, or Joe Thomas should have been out.
And unfortunately for Stewart, “The Blind Side” star Michael Oher is on everyones radar and could be a pro bowl player next year. Stewart may never get to go.
RB DeAngelo Williams
Great year last year, and had more yards this year than Jonathon Stewart did. With that said, DeAngelo Williams was probably not the best runner in his own backfield this year, which has prompted the inevitable trade talk. Instead, I would have given the nomination to either Ryan Grant, or Frank Gore for third running back. Both were more deserving than Williams, Gore, I think, the most deserving.
Either way, Adrian Peterson feels like a by default selection with not a ton of RB talent in the NFC this year. Williams just looks out of place on the roster.
TE Jason Witten
Does a bunch of irreplaceable things for the Cowboys offense, but definitely took a back seat this year to Miles Austin as well as that running game he spent so much time blocking for. Instead, why not give this spot to Vicante Shiancoe of the Vikings or Brent Celek of the Eagles?
OT Jason Peters
Really, it’s been three straight years where you could argue that Peters has been a below average NFL tackle, but made the pro bowl anyway. Now, if you’ve seen the NFC field for tackles (as well as the next guy on this list), you would know why this is still defensible. The only good pick was New Orleans RT Jon Stinchcomb as a reserve, which is right about at the level he has played at. There weren’t a bunch of pro bowl worthy tackles, but that doesn’t mean it was right to snub Falcons LT Sam Baker because he’s not a big name. Also in play: RT Winston Justice of the Eagles. Remember him?
OT Bryant McKinnie
I have three ideas where this pick could have gone instead of to McKinnie, who has been an outright disaster. I mean, Orlando Pace has been just as awful, and he’s been to pro bowls before. Why not him?
There were some token picks in Giants LT David Diehl, and Falcons RT Tyson Clabo. Guys who have some history, and weren’t awful this year. But why not: this pick should have been Detroit LT Jeff Backus, who really helped hold the OL together after catching a lot of flack in the offseason, and after a whole bunch of Lions fans wanted to see him replaced and his contract dumped. Backus responded by the best year of any blind side tackle in the NFC North. Unquestionably. Which means, of course, that the other pro-bowl tackle in this division comes from a different team.
G Leonard Davis
Does Leonard Davis get in without that star on his helmet? Almost certainly not. The guy wasn’t even the best guard on the Cowboys OL this year. That would be Kyle Kosier. I want to ask, here you have a Guard from the NFC East making it, and you somehow leave Chris Snee off the team? Where is the logic in that? On what planet is Davis more valuable than Snee?
G Steve Hutchinson
Lifetime achievement award for a guy who is bound to make the hall of fame one day, but despite being the best lineman on the Vikings, Hutchinson hasn’t been this ineffective since his rookie season. What’s really shocking is that none of the blockers from the Rams OL that powered a revival for Steven Jackson made the pro-bowl. Not one. I have to say, instead of lifetime achievement awards, I see not the problem with rewarding Jacob Bell, LG for the Rams, with a pro-bowl berth. It could go to Jason Brown, the center, instead, I suppose.
LB Demeco Ryans
We all know about the downturn in production for Texans DE Mario Williams, statistically, his season was not as strong as his last two, but the Texans needed to make a scheme change, which means that he needed to make some sacrifices for his team. So I’m okay with his selection for that reason. But also joining Williams in the pro bowl was rookie LB Brian Cushing and Ryans. That makes three pro bowlers in the Texans front seven.
Um. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Texans haven’t sported an average defense in the Gary Kubiak era. Along with Williams, Demeco Ryans has been the one constant in a defense that never improved before this year, and still gives up yards in chunks. Ryans can’t possibly be a better pick than Bart Scott, and even Jerod Mayo who missed time, seems like a better selection for this spot. But I don’t see how you could possibly snub Colts LB Gary Brackett. Show me a team that would try to build around Ryans over Brackett and I’ll show you a team that’s never made a postseason.
S Ed Reed
Trancendental player who missed a ton of time to injury this season. I mean, great player, but you’d be better off picking someone who was actually on the field. Oakland S Tyvon Branch was better this year than Ed Reed, as well as Colts S Antonie Bethea, or Patriots S Brandon Merriweather.
S Jairus Byrd
Same deal. Great season with seven interceptions, but, over the guys mentioned above? Hardly. I’d keep him in over Reed because he played more games. Even he is on IR now, and won’t be able to play in the game.
DE Julius Peppers
Really horrendous selection who doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near a pro bowl. Not only that, he’s starting over Trent Cole, who really had as good a year as any in the NFL. In this spot, I would have put either Washington’s Andre Carter, New York’s Justin Tuck, or definately considered 49ers DE Justin Smith, who had a career year in what has turned out to be a pretty strong career.
CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie
Of course, that would have ruined a bi-annual tradition of sending a CB named Cromartie who didn’t play particularly well to the pro bowl. You should at least have to be the best CB on your team to get considered. Except if, like in Brown’s case, the best on your roster is already in the probowl.
I think the NFL should be able to expand the rosters to include players that deserve it. Bengals C Kyle Cook and CB Leon Hall, Redskins LB London Fletcher, 49ers DT Aubrayo Franklin, and Green Bay DT Ryan Pickett, and LB Clay Matthews all deserved to go, but didn’t so much get snubbed as that the competition was simply too strong. I think the NFL should re-vamp the process to allow for players who deserve to make it, but play in a strong field.
And with the weaker fields, well, the selectors need to do a little digging and not send a guy who doesn’t deserve it to the pro bowl. The pro bowl may always be a meaningless game, but that doesn’t mean that the honor itself has to remain a popularity contest.