WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers):
The Pro Bowl voting process has always been considered by critics as a “popularity contest”, which makes it a lot more surprising that JuJu was left off the team. His teammate Antonio Brown has been arguably the most consistent receiver in the NFL over the last five years.
Perhaps it even takes away some of JuJu’s spotlight, but if you watch any Steelers game this year he is always making some sort of significant impact to the game, and the stats correlate with the impact.
Player to Replace: Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers):
Keenan Allen is an unbelievable receiver in the prime of his career, possessing all the necessary tools to build an offense around him as the number one receiving threat. While you can possibly make an argument around Allen earning his spot due to the impact of being a number one threat on a championship contender.
Even though he has to compete with Antonio Brown for targets, there is no debate he’s performed better this season than Allen. They’ve both scored 6 times so far this season, but Smith-Schuster has seven more receptions, 200 more receiving yards, and averages 15 more receiving yards per game than Allen.
LB Darius Leonard (Indianapolis Colts):
The emergence of rookie second round pick Darius Leonard out of South Carolina State has been truly remarkable for a rookie season. Leonard has 146 tackles and seven sacks in 13 games, the next most tackles for another player that has more than seven sacks is Danielle Hunter’s 66 tackles which is 92nd in the league.
The Colts have gone from the league’s 30th ranked defense to now approaching a top-10 unit, and much of that can be thanked from to the pace Leonard has set in the middle of the field.
Player to Replace: Jadeveon Clowney (Houston Texans):
The former number one overall pick has received his second-straight Pro Bowl selection, and not saying he is not deserving as a player, but Leonard is 100% more deserving this season. Clowney’s eight sacks, combining for 37 tackles does not slightly compare to Leonard’s stats, which also includes Leonard’s four forced fumbles, and two recovered.
RB Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers):
McCaffrey is quietly having a phenomenal season, and has been the shining star for a disappointing Carolina Panthers squad. McCaffrey has 94 receptions, which to put in perspective how impressive that is; that’s as many as DeAndre Hopkins, and more than Antonio Brown, Travis Kelce, Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill.
He has scored six receiving touchdowns, which is as many as Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Zach Ertz, Odell Beckham, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
He’s not just been a weapon only in the passing game, he currently has rushed for 979 yards averaging 5.0 a carry. He has seven rushing touchdowns, which is one more than Ezekiel Elliot, and he has more 40+ yard rushes than Elliot and Gurley combined.
Player to Replace: Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears):
While it’s hard to argue against Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliot, or Saquon Barkley being selected to the Pro Bowl, I think McCaffrey deserves the returner spot over Cohen.
Returners in the NFL rarely even get to demonstrate their abilities much with the new safety rules of kickoff, so the selection should be for a “utility type of player”, and there is no better selection than McCaffrey.
DE Chris Jones (Kansas City Chiefs):
The Chiefs success this season can be credited by having arguably the most dangerous offense in the NFL, but if there is one player on defense that deserves the credit it’s Chris Jones.
Last game, Chris Jones tied the NFL record for most consecutive game with a sack in 10 straight games. Jones has 14 sacks for a loss of 111 yards (the most yards lost on sack in the AFC), in addition to six passes deflections and an interception.
Player to Replace: Melvin Ingram (Los Angeles Chargers):
Ingram so far this season has 7 sacks for a loss of 55 yards, which makes it hard to see why he’s above Jones. It’s fascinating to see a defensive linemen noticeably dominate for one of the best teams in the leagues, and miss a spot on the roster.
OT David Bakhtiari (Green Bay Packers):
Bakhtiari has been considered arguably among the best left tackle in the NFL the past three seasons, and now it will be the third straight season where he is snubbed from the Pro Bowl.
Despite being the second-highest ranked offensive tackle according to ProFootballFocus, and being selected to the second-team All-Pro for the last two years he was left out again. Bakhtiari maintained his health despite the rest of the Packer offensive line being ravaged by injuries, giving Rodgers some much needed stability.
Player to Replace: Terron Armstead (New Orleans Saints):
The Saints passing game has been elite this season, but there should be no reason Armstead deserves a spot over Bakhtiari. Armstead has not played in a full game since Week 9, so I’m not really too sure how a guy whose only played half the season deserves a spot.
QB Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts): 2nd in the AFC with 34 passing touchdowns.
QB Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks): Tied with Brees for 1st in the NFC with 31 Passing Touchdowns. Second best passing rating in the NFC behind Brees (111.6).
RB Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals): AFC leader in rushing with 995 yards, and most rushing yards per game (82.9).
RB Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints): 2nd in the NFC in rushing touchdowns with 12, 10th in the NFC in receptions (77).
WR Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): 2nd in the NFC in receiving yards with 1,328, averaging 17.9 yards per catch (more than every other NFC Pro Bowl WR).
OT Andrew Whitworth (Los Angeles Rams): Anchor of the Rams offensive passing attack proving Jared Goff protection on his blind side.
DE Yannick Ngakoue (Jacksonville Jaguars): Has been the most consistent force on the Jaguars defensive front, typically averaging around 3 hits per game.
DE Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals): Tied for 4th in the NFC in sacks with 12. Has been the only consistent player on Arizona’s defense.
LB Leighton Vander Esch (Dallas Cowboys): Third in the NFC in tackles with 116, and has transformed Dallas into one of the top defenses in the NFL.
OLB Bradley Chubb (Denver Broncos): Tied for 5th in the AFC in sacks in his rookie season with 12, along with 52 tackles which is seven more than teammate Von Miller.
CB Tre’Davious White (Buffalo Bills): White has dominating, since week 9 he’s allowed just a total of 8 yards on 96 coverage snaps, an average of 0.08 yards per coverage snap.