Pro Bowlers from the New Orleans Saints have been rare for the last three seasons. 7-9 records have held several great players back but it could all change in 2017 if the team starts winning. So today we take a look at the players who could be joining the NFL's elite in Orlando next season.
Cam Jordan, Defensive End
It’s really a joke that Cam Jordan hasn’t been to the Pro Bowl more than two times (2013, 2015). He has consistently been one of the very best defensive players this league has to offer, and you could even argue he has gotten better every year despite the sacks totals dropping to 7.5 in 2016.
He impacts both the running and the passing game, and he also functions as one of the leaders on a very young and inexperienced defense. The Saints are hoping this could be the season the defensive pieces fall into place, and if that were to happen Jordan will undoubtedly make the Pro Bowl.
Every Saints fan knows that Jordan should be praised as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. This might just be the season the rest of the NFL fan base start to notice.
Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver
Thomas had an exceptional rookie season. When stacking him up against the other wide receivers across the league, he ranked 9th with 92 receptions, 9th with 1,137 yards, 6th with 9 touchdown grabs, and 2nd with a catch percentage of 76%. These numbers put him among the elite receivers, and it would come as no surprise if he makes the Pro Bowl this year.
Michael Thomas received 121 targets from Drew Brees in 2016. That number could increase significantly with the departure of Brandin Cooks (117 targets). If that were to happen, Thomas could easily exceed his rookie output of 1,137 yards and 9 TDs, which most likely would result in him going to the Pro Bowl for the first time.
Drew Brees, Quarterback
To be honest, Drew Brees should make the Pro Bowl every season. He consistently leads the league or is in the top tier in yards and completion percentage, and he does it on a team that more times than not fails to put him in a position to win games. Just last season, Brees led the NFL with 5.208 passing yards and came in 2nd with a 70% completion percentage. Add in 37 touchdown passes and you have a season that should warrant a Pro Bowl selection, but the voters thought otherwise.
What the voters see as important is apparently the winning record (see Dak Prescott). Therefore, the Saints have to win more in 2017 for Drew Brees to make the Pro Bowl, and that could very well happen. If it does, then the voters will have no excuse for not putting a check mark next to his name in this season's poll.
Kenny Vaccaro, Strong Safety
Kenny Vaccaro became a household name in the NFL after his excellent first season. He showed his skills as a box safety who could do just about anything, and he seemed like the perfect fit for the new Saints defense under Rob Ryan. Now 4 years later, the Rob Ryan defense is long gone and Kenny Vaccaro doesn't get mentioned much as the next big thing. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been playing well. Just last season, Vaccaro had 2 interceptions, 5 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, a sack, and 67 tackles in just 11 games. That is a massive contribution to a defense that for most of the season failed to really deliver stops or turnovers.
If the defense can change that in 2017, Kenny Vaccaro could easily be a Pro Bowl candidate - and he’ll have a big hand in changing that landscape. He stuffs the stats sheet, and you would have to think that his stats will be even better if the defense improves next season. He undoubtedly has the potential. Maybe 2017 will be the year where he fulfills it.
Do you think that any Saints will make the Pro Bowl this season, and if so who will it be?