It is understood that there are only so many roster spots available on an AFC or NFC roster for the annual Pro Bowl. And as you can imagine, there were some deserving players out there who got stiffed, so to speak. Here’s a list of 10 that deserved to be in Hawaii:
1. Fred Taylor, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars
I don’t want to say that there’s a conspiracy as to why Taylor hasn’t made a Pro Bowl appearance in his illustrious career, but his numbers should’ve got him there at least once. This year, he ranked 6th in total rushing yardage (1,091) and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. I mean really – what does a guy have to do to get a Pro Bowl berth with those numbers? My Colts’ Joseph Addai – while I am happy he got in – could decline the Pro bowl offer and let Taylor in. The Colts’ offensive machine would’ve done fine with or without Addai in the mix.
2. Wes Welker, wide receiver, New England Patriots
I am surprised the Patriots faithful and the coaches who are in the voting process didn’t select him. Besides 1,004 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns, he was what made Moss relevant this season. I guess his omission from the Pro Bowl probably satisifies lots of Jets fans and Patriot haters everywhere.
3. Gary Brackett, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts
I know, you’re saying this – why him? Let me just say this – the Colts’ second-ranked defense didn’t get to where they were by accident, and Brackett was the undisputed leader of that group. Also consider that he had 4 interceptions – not easy to do when you’re a linebacker. ask Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu.
4. Kellen Winslow, tight end, Cleveland Browns
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Winslow had a bigger impact on his team – which is going to the playoffs – than another tight end who happens to play for a team that’s going nowhere – one Tony Gonzalez. Since when does 971 yards and 5 touchdowns for a tight end preclude an appearance ot a Pro bowl? Gonzalez got in by his reputation, if anything else.
5. Mario Williams, defensive end, Houston Texans
Are you kidding me? Williams and his 13.5 sacks not good enough for Honolulu? Yet Jason Taylor gets in? Another case of someone’s reputation getting them in. I hope that Taylor decides to decline the trip so Williams gets in the show. And by the way – Houston drafting Williams was brilliant.
6. Derrick Brooks, linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brooks probably got overlooked because of his age, but also understand that if it wasn’t for him, the Bucs’ defense would just be ordinary. That’s not to knock San Francisco 49er rookie Patrick Willis – who probably got in because of the number of tackles he ammassed – but to be fair, it isn’t that hard to run on the 49ers’ run defense, now is it?
7. Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback, Oakland Raiders
While it is true that his numbers regressed, there’s a good reason for that – no one threw in his general direction. He’s one of the few shut-down corners in the NFL right now. And he’s better than some of the CB’s who did make it to the Pro Bowl.
8. Nick Barnett, linebacker, Green Bay Packers
I have no idea why he wasn’t chosen. Green Bay’s defense lives and dies with Barnett manning the LB spot. The numbers should have gotten him, but for reasons only known to the voters, he didn’t.
9. Charles Woodson, cornerback, Green Bay Packers
Like Barnett, a major reason the Packers’ defense is so good. I guess 57 tackles and 4 interceptions isn’t the gold standard anymore.
10. Plaxico Burress, wide receiver, New York Giants
Yes, his numbers weren’t his best (935 receving yards and 10 TD’s). But also consider that if the Giants didn’t have him out there, they probably wouldn’t be seeing any postseason. He also played with a bad ankle for the vast majority of the season. While there were WR’s out there who had better numbers, I can’t think of a WR that had a bigger impact on his team than Burress.