The annual Pro Bowl is coming up, and the NFL announced the list of players yesterday. Of course, it’s no longer split up into the usual NFC and AFC teams, but instead just a big group of players in which two retired players will have a fantasy draft of the players. Does this make it more fun? Yes and no. Yes because other people think so, but definitely no in my opinion. The Pro Bowl is already so pointless by now that it really doesn’t matter what happens. I really am only interested in which players on the Eagles are selected for it. Of course, they missed out on a couple of people they should’ve added, but here’s what they got right.
RB LeSean McCoy, C Jason Kelce, OT Jason Peters, OLB Connor Barwin and KR Darren Sproles were all picked to be part of the Pro Bowl festivities. Five players from a team that won’t make the playoffs is pretty solid, and it’s actually the most among teams to miss the postseason. I could also make a strong argument for both WR Jeremy Maclin and DT Fletcher Cox to make the list as well after both had breakout seasons. It’s impossible to include every star on the list, but I still think they should’ve made it.
McCoy had a much worse season than last year, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been considered for the Pro Bowl. He is currently fifth in the league in rushing yards with just the one game to go, adding five touchdowns. He also had 140 receiving yards on the season. That’s clearly not his best year, but with the offensive line injuries throughout the season, it made things pretty hard. He’s definitely a top six running back in the league this year, although I’d probably list him last in that list. McCoy may have gotten some more votes based on name recognition, but in this case, he still deserved it. It’s his third selection of his career.
Kelce is probably an example of someone who should’ve made it last year but not this year. He was hurt for a handful of games and didn’t play lights out when he was on the field. He still was a great player, but I think missing the amount of games that he did, he should’ve been left off the list. This is basically a makeup Pro Bowl after he should’ve been selected last year. I’ll take it though.
Peters once again was selected to the Pro Bowl and definitely deserved it. It’s his seventh Pro Bowl selection and his second in a row. Peters is the lone player on the original starting offensive line that managed to play the entire season, which is a bit surprising considering he’s had his fair share of injury problems throughout his career. He was ejected in one game this year, not finishing the first game against the Redskins after he attacked Chris Baker, who had hit Nick Foles that play. I still believe Peters is one of the best offensive linemen in the league, so it’s nice to see him continuing to get recognition.
Barwin had a breakout season at linebacker, which came at just the right time considering the injuries to Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans that caused them each to miss a lot of time. Barwin currently has 62 tackles and 14.5 sacks, which is a career high and good for fourth in the league. He also had five passes defensed and two forced fumbles. His leadership on the defensive side of the ball was a large part of their great front seven and stingy run defense, something the team has been lacking for years. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite players on the team.
Sproles came to the Eagles in a trade with the Saints last offseason, and the Eagles have made New Orleans pay for that one. So many people believed that Sproles would be too old to have much of an impact anymore, but they were completely wrong. He has 324 rushing yards and six touchdowns as well as 364 receiving yards. But, he wasn’t selected for his offense, he was picked because of his great punt returning skills this year. His 13.3 yard per return and two punt return touchdowns both led the league this year, making him a clear pick for a Pro Bowl selection. Surprisingly, this is just his first selection though.
As for people who didn’t make it who should’ve, Maclin and Cox are the two clear guys that come to mind. Jeremy Maclin is eighth in the league in receiving yards with 1,269 yards and 10 touchdowns- the yards are a career high and the touchdowns are tied for one. While only eight receivers could be selected and it seems like he’s at the bottom, he still deserved it over some guys who only got in based on name recognition. To be honest, Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green should not have been selected. They both missed three games due to injury and therefore will have lower season stats, but Maclin’s 84.6 YPG is just barely below the 86.5 YPG of Johnson and above the 79.9 yards per game of Green. In addition to the three games Green missed, he also had two games in which he didn’t record a catch. That doesn’t sound like a Pro Bowl player to me. Both players also only had six touchdowns compared to Maclin’s 10. It doesn’t particularly surprise me that he wasn’t picked because of how breakout players are often left off the list, but he still deserved it.
Cox on the other hand definitely should’ve been selected, and it’s a shame he wasn’t. He had essentially no league-wide recognition though, which clearly hurt his chances, but that shouldn’t matter. Cox has 54 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries on the season, which are pretty solid stats for the run-stuffer. His lack of sacks probably hurt his chances,but he did so many other things that weren’t on the stat sheet to help the team. The group of defensive tackles that were selected were a great bunch, but Cox should’ve been better than the fifth alternate.
Overall, five selections and a handful of alternates (K Cody Parkey, ST Chris Maragos, G Evan Mathis, Maclin and Cox) is a pretty solid outcome for a season that didn’t even end in a playoff berth. Obviously they would’ve preferred to be in the playoffs, but for Eagles fans it means they can see some of their guys one more time on the field before the offseason. It’s the best they can do.