When Pro Bowl rosters are released, it is natural to look at who didn’t make the list as thoroughly as who did make it. There are Pro Bowl “snubs”, or those left out of the game who deserved it, every year.
Let’s look at the AFC roster in regards to the Baltimore Ravens, being that the rosters were made available yesterday.
For those that did make it, it was absolutely deserving. Marshal Yanda and Kyle Juszczyk will represent the offense, C.J. Mosley will anchor the defense, and Justin Tucker undoubtedly kicked himself into the All Pro roster as well this season. Each of these players are having great seasons. Yanda is the best guard in the NFL, and Juszczyk is one of the last fullbacks in the league. C.J. Mosley could have been in contention for DPOY had he not missed three games with a hamstring injury. Justin Tucker is nearly perfect this season, going 33-34 on field goals and 25/25 on extra points.
As stated earlier, every Pro Bowl roster comes with a few snubs.
Eric Weddle, Brandon Williams, and Terrell Suggs were all named alternates, but a case could be made for each to deserve an original spot.
Weddle deserves it the most of the three, without a doubt. The All Pro safety spent nine years in San Diego before taking over Baltimore’s secondary. Many thought his best years were behind him, but he has shown that there’s plenty of gas left in the tank. Weddle’s stats (81 tackles, 11 pass deflections, 4 interceptions, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) rival any year he had previously as a Charger. He could also easily have 6 or 7 interceptions if he had better hands and a team that doesn’t consistently commit penalties.
Devin McCourty, Reggie Nelson, and Eric Berry were all selected over Weddle. It would be difficult to see Weddle making it over McCourty or Berry, but Nelson? Probably. Nelson’s stats (60 tackles, 4 interceptions, 10 pass deflections, and 2 fumble recoveries) are similar to Weddle’s, but less impressive overall. Weddle was a clear snub off the 2016 Pro Bowl roster.
Next, Brandon Williams has been the key cog of the league’s No. 2 ranked rush defense. But, he doesn’t flash the big numbers of sacks that usually get interior linemen on the roster. Williams isn’t asked to rush the passer that often, as evidenced by his 1 sack in 2016. Baltimore’s defense has been tough against opposing running backs all season, and was ranked No. 1 until Week Fifteen. Running the ball against the Ravens would be much easier sans Williams, who is one of the best run defenders in the game. With two games left he has potential to record the most tackles in his career (currently 46 tackles, 3rd among nose tackles).
As for Terrell Suggs, his numbers are solid (33 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 4 pass deflections), but not top-level like they’ve been before. If Suggs were to make the original roster, it would mostly be on reputation alone. His numbers aren’t bad, especially for a 34-year-old outside linebacker, but can’t compare to the likes of Von Miller, Lorenzo Alexander, and Brian Orakpo. Uncoincidentally, those three are the top three AFC linebackers in sacks, respectfully. Suggs consistently plays football at the top tier of outside linebackers, though, and even through injury. If Suggs can get 2+ sacks in the next two games, he would probably have deserved a spot on the original roster. Especially being that Baltimore’s last two games are the most important of the season.
But, that isn’t the way Pro Bowl rosters are formed.
I’m 100% certain these players would rather be playing the week after the Pro Bowl, anyways.