The 2017 Pro Bowl rosters were announced on Tuesday evening, which found the New Orleans Saints coming up short with no selected representation. The black and gold were one of six teams that didn’t have players selected, which included the Jaguars, Bears, 49ers, Jets, and Lions. While it’s not entirely realistic to have all your favorite Saints make this roster, we take a look at the ones who should have received some consideration.
Who got in instead: Matt Ryan, Atlanta, Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, Dak Prescott, Dallas
The NFL’s leading passer in yards and touchdown throws didn’t get in. According to Shannon Sharpe, it’s because of the win-loss record. That’s right. The same tight end who got in with the Denver Broncos for consecutive seasons despite being on mediocre teams is citing overall records taking precedence over individual performance. However, he contradicts himself by saying what got him in the Pro Bowl in the early 90s was because he dominated the stats compared to others. When Pete Prisco is left stunned on Brees not making the Pro Bowl, that should tell you something.
Who got in instead: Cliff Avril, Seattle, Michael Bennett, Seattle, Everson Griffen, Minnesota
Clearly, no one watches Saints football. Cam Jordan has been an absolute monster for Dennis Allen’s squad this season, and it’s obvious on any film you watch. Michael Bennett getting in is an absolute joke, and is pretty embarrassing. His whopping stats of 29 total tackles, 3.0 sacks, 9 tackles for loss and 13 QB hits isn’t even in the vicinity of Jordan’s 54 tackles (fourth-best in NFL), 6.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 22 QB hits.
Even Pro Football Focus got in on the action, which says all you need to know about Jordan and Brandon Graham, who was also a Pro Bowl snub.
Should replace: Any NFC Pro Bowl DE selection
Jordan and Graham have been the best two defensive ends in the NFL this season, so leaving them off of the NFC roster seems like a fair oversight. Jordan, especially, has been basically unblockable, rarely losing one-on-one encounters. Both players have 68 total pressures on the season—more than any DE that made the NFC roster.
Who got in instead: Mike Tolbert, Carolina
During the fan voting results at the beginning of December, John Kuhn was leading all fullbacks. He’s been a clear asset for the Saints, and at age 34, the veteran is showing no signs of slowing down. Where we take offense to Tolbert’s selection is simple. Tolbert may have more rush yards on more attempts, but he’s been into the end zone once. On the other hand, Kuhn has five total touchdowns. Clearly, the popular name gets in here.
- Brandin Cooks - He’s No. 4 in receiving yardage for the NFC behind the big three players who did get in. Larry Fitzgerald does lead the league in receptions, but has half the amount of touchdowns and is No. 8 in the NFC in yards.
- Max Unger - He’s been consistently graded as one of the top centers this season allowing a low amount of quarterback pressures all year.
- Nick Fairley - He’s in the Top 5 of all interior linemen in the NFL in sacks (5.5).
- Michael Thomas - He’s clearly the best rookie wide receiver out there, and has eight total touchdowns on the year (fifth-highest in NFC).
- Thomas Morstead - Just watch game film and see how good Morstead is. He’s averaging more yards per punt than Johnny Hekker on 38 fewer attempts.
- Mark Ingram - He has the best average among all NFC running backs at 5.1 yards per carry. He also has the longest rush (75 yards), and the sixth-highest rusher (850 yards) on over 40 less attempts to the top guys.
According to the NFL, fan voting makes up one-third of all votes, while players and coaches make up the other. Surely, of the 88 players selected, you can fully expect at least one-third of them to drop out for various reasons or excuses. So, you should see Saints players get in as Pro Bowl alternates, but it’s all just fickle.
Who do you feel got shafted? What other honorable mentions would you throw out for the Saints?