The NFL officially announced the rosters for the Pro Bowl on Monday night.
While the rosters are purely symbolic — the league canceled the game due to the COVID-19 pandemic — that doesn’t mean that some worthy players were left off the list.
Packers tight end Robert Tonyan
This one is easy, especially when you look at the NFC tight ends who made the cut.
Packers tight end Robert Tonyan is having by far the best year of his career. The 26-year-old has racked up 551 yards on 49 receptions, and has scored 10 touchdowns. That’s tied for the fifth-most among any receiver or tight end in the league, and tied with Travis Kelce for the most by any tight end this year.
Giants tight end Evan Engram has found the end zone just once, and has almost the same receiving yards and number of receptions headed into Week 16.
Considering how big of an impact Tonyan has had while helping the Packers to the top of the NFC standings, it’s easy to make his Pro Bowl case.
Colts DT DeForest Buckner
DeForest Buckner knows he was deserving of a spot.
Buckner has had a tremendous season with the Colts, having made 52 total tackles, two forced fumbles and 7.5 sacks, the second most among interior defensive lineman behind only Aaron Donald.
He hasn’t been available for every game, either. Buckner landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in November, and the Colts struggled to contain the Titans without him — they gave up 229 yards on the ground behind a big three touchdown day from Derrick Henry and 45 points in the blowout loss.
Buckner was feeling the snub, too.
I never was the popular kid 🤷🏾♂️
— DeForest Buckner (@DeForestBuckner) December 22, 2020
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
Though the AFC had several stellar quarterbacks make the cut — Patrick Mahomes is the starter, after all — Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill deserved a spot.
Tannehill has thrown 31 touchdowns this season, the fifth-most in the league, while leading the Titans to a 10-4 record and almost certainly back to the playoffs. He has thrown just five interceptions, too, on par with Mahomes and behind only Aaron Rodgers’ four.
Sure, he’s up against stiff competition but Tannehill has more than done his job.
Falcons WR Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley has shined this year. Yet with the Falcons sitting at 4-10, it’s easy to forget about him. Ridley has already brought in a career-high 1,192 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 77 receptions in Atlanta.
He has plenty of competition in the NFC with Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson all making the list ahead of him.
If the Falcons were better and he could bring more attention, Ridley’s play likely would have earned him his first Pro Bowl nod — though that can’t be far down the road for the 26-year-old.
Jaguars RB James Robinson
The Jaguars have won just one game. But rookie James Robinson is dominating the ground game in Jacksonville — and deserves more attention.
Robinson, who was not taken in last summer’s draft, has ran for 1,070 yards this season. Only Dalvin Cook and Henry have compiled more. Robinson has scored 10 total touchdowns, too, and has 344 receiving yards.
After what he’s shown so far, it shouldn’t be too long before Robinson can crack the list in future Pro Bowls.
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