The ever so eventful, thrilling, and competitive Pro Bowl Week has finally arrived. In recent years, the NFL has made changes to the schedule and make-up of the Pro Bowl to improve the fan experience. The skills showdown was brought back to allow players to compete in various non-contact competitions. From 2014-16, teams were also chosen by captains made up by former NFL stars.
We all remember the generic pro bowl games from the late 2000s and early 2010s. There was little difference between those games and a High School football game. The only real highlight of those games was the brutal hit by the late Sean Taylor on Bills punter Brian Moorman.
This 2019 season has been as unique as any we’ve seen before. The Tennessee Titans managed to make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth finishing the year 7-3 after a dismal 2-4 start. Then managed to take down the New England dynasty and the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens on the road. Jameis Winston was also the first player in NFL history to make the unimpressive 30-30 (TD-INT) club and recieved high praise from his head coach.
This year has a solid roster all-around but like every professional All-Star event is missing some under the radar type guys. So, let’s get into the biggest snubs of the 2020 Pro Bowl.
Josh Jacobs, RB: Oakland Raiders
The three running backs representing the AFC are Nick Chubb, Derick Henry, and Mark Ingram. Chubb and Henry respectively were the top two rushers in the NFL this season. Jacobs finished his rookie year 8th in the NFL with 1,150 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns compared to Mark Ingram who barely surpassed 1,000 rushing yards and had 10 touchdowns. Not trying to hate on Ingram who had a great first year in Baltimore but Jacobs easily surpassed his expectations as a rookie and could have been a more deserving nod.
Darren Waller, TE: Oakland Raiders
If you’re wondering, no I’m not a fan of the Oakland Raiders. Waller though is my biggest snub on this list. Mark Andrews was selected as the second tight end behind Travis Kelce despite Waller finishing with 26 more catches and nearly 300 more receiving yards. Waller is not a household name but was followed heavily in last year’s series of Hard Knocks with the Oakland Raiders. Waller’s powerful story of beating opioids and cocaine addiction was told and showed his dedication to the game was bigger than anything else. With Travis Kelce and the Chiefs heading to the Super Bowl, there’s a decent chance our guy could be a substitute.
Taylor Lewan, LT: Tennessee Titans
Lewan is the backbone of the Titans offensive line that helped Derrick Henry lead the league in rushing. Tennessee ultimately finished second in total rushing behind Baltimore.
Lewan was an All-Pro just two years ago and is becoming one of the top young linemen in the league. The Michigan product is also well known for his post-game press conferences and rants as well as his trash talking. Check out what he did to Redskins CB Josh Norman after a game in 2018 in which he accused Norman of targeting Derrick Henry.
Kevin Byard, FS: Tennessee Titans
Byard has become a strong leader on the Tennessee defense that finished 12th in defensive scoring on the year. Two years after leading the league with 8 interceptions, Byard tied for 4th in the NFL with 5 passes picked off. The AFC has a stacked arsenal of young safties led by Jamal Adams and Minkah Fitzpatrick while also acquiring Earl Thomas from the NFC last offseason so it’s a hard arguement but Byard should certainly be considered.
Dak Prescott, QB: Dallas Cowboys
This is going to get instant rebuttal from my fellow Eagles fans but the stats talk in Prescott’s favor. Drew Brees was the final QB selected to the NFC team and while he’s easily a 1st Ballot HOF, Dak is more deserving of the selection. To start, Brees missed significant time this year with a hand injury and has 2,000 fewer passing yards. I’m no fan of the Cowboys or Dak Prescott but he did finish second in passing yards and fourth in touchdown passes.
Kenny Golladay, WR: Detroit Lions
The NFC has a deep list of wide receivers led by Michael Thomas, who broke the league record by snagging 145 receptions. The list continues on with other stars like Julio Jones and Mike Evans as well as Chris Godwin, who put together an impressive season. Golladay was slept on mostly due to his team’s disappointing 3-12-1 record, a season in which they ended up losing 12 out of their final 13 games.
Golladay led the league with 11 touchdown receptions while also getting 65 catches and 1,190 yards. Not a bad season considering the team went through multiple quarterbacks after Matt Stafford missed a large portion of the season.
Jordan Hicks, MLB: Arizona Cardinals
Hicks was able to put together a steady, full season after leaving the Eagles for Arizona. He came second in the conference in tackles with 150. The Texas product also had 1.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. Hicks was also recognized by Football Outsiders as one of the most efficient players in the league this season.
It’s always good to see guys like Hicks put together a terrific season after injury, and it’s a shame he won’t be recognized in the Pro Bowl.