Every season when a Pro Bowl roster is announced, we get inundated with material about who got snubbed. Fan bases and game analysts go bonkers about how certain players were unfairly left out. Truthfully, if every alleged snub received an invitation to the Pro Bowl, there would be about one hundred players per roster. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. Therefore, for someone to have actually been snubbed, somebody made the team that did not deserve the honor. Here are the top ten who least deserved to be named 2017 Pro Bowlers.
Top Five Least Deserving AFC Pro Bowlers
Quarterback Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Rivers finished second in the league in passing yardage and helped the Chargers finish 2017 with a winning record after 0-4 start. However, Alex Smith should be the AFC’s third-string quarterback. Smith threw fewer interceptions all year than Rivers threw in two games against the Kansas City Chiefs. Likewise, Smith was the best player in the NFL in September and finished 2017 with a ridiculous 118.0 road passer rating. Rivers was good but Smith was better. The voters got this one wrong.
Wide Receiver A.J.Green, Cincinnati Bengals
This was the closest competition in the AFC. Green had a fine season as he made some big plays and beautiful catches. The only reason he did not deserve this selection is because he took the spot away from Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins. Landry led the entire NFL in receptions and in a down season for the Dolphins, he competed hard on every play of every game. Landry is the quintessential guy you love to have on your team and hate as an opponent. It would be great to see Landry catch passes from an elite quarterback someday.
Special Teams Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Slater is one of the top five special teamers to ever play in the NFL. Still, there is no way he deserved the Pro Bowl nod for his injury-plagued 2017 campaign. There were two very strong candidates for that honor. Brynden Trawick of the Tennessee Titans is the highest paid special teamer in the NFL and he is fantastic. Due to Slater going to the Super Bowl, Trawick will be playing on Sunday in the Pro Bowl. Michael Thomas of the Miami Dolphins may have been better than both in 2017. In fact, Pro Football Focus named Thomas as their Special Teams Player of the Year.
Center Rodney Hudson, Oakland Raiders
Hudson is a very nice player. Jack Del Rio referred to him as the “staple holding this thing together” when describing what he means to the Raiders. Oakland’s offense struggled so rewarding them with offensive linemen in the Pro Bowl makes little sense. Hudson’s 2017 was not in the same category as Patriots center David Andrews. Over the season, when New England passed almost 600 times, Andrews allowed two sacks. Whenever he is in pass protection, he bears the additional weight of guarding for arguably the best and most popular player in sports history. In addition to his fine work as a pass blocker, he paved the way for Dion Lewis and the running game. The Patriots love to run up the middle and that is where Andrews does his best work.
Guard Richie Incognito, Buffalo Bills
Incognito made the Pro Bowl because his name is instantly recognizable from a list of people playing the least glamorous position. Make no mistake, Incognito is an above-average football player. He is not a Pro Bowler, though. The Bills offense finished twenty-ninth in the NFL. Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy were hit the backfield multiple times in every ball game except one. Joel Bitonio of the lowly Cleveland Browns deserved this spot. He was the most consistent offensive player for the Brown in 2017. Someday, Cleveland will field a relevant team again and Bitonio will be a key member of their improved squad.
Top Five Least Deserving NFC Pro Bowlers
Running Back Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Of all the players in the 2018 Pro Bowl game, Kamara deserves to be here the least. Granted, he is an amazing talent. He has rare abilities in the mold of a Marshall Faulk or Thurman Thomas. There is simply no way he should be in the Pro Bowl ahead of Jordan Howard of the Chicago Bears. It is likely Kamara got in ahead of Howard because Kamara makes camera-friendly plays week in and week out. Also, it could be that Howard plays for a mediocre Chicago team. While Kamara does not deserve to be in the Pro Bowl, it will entertaining to watch him play in the Pro Bowl!
Center Alex Mack, Atlanta Falcons
Mack is the heart and soul of the Atlanta Falcons and he is an outstanding football player. Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles, though, is the best center in the NFL and had perhaps the best season of any offensive linemen in the whole league. This was an egregious oversight by the voters. Kelce rightfully was named first-team All-Pro.
Tackle Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Smith’s play suffered due to injuries in 2017. When healthy, he is unquestionably the best. If the 2018 Cowboys get a full season out of Smith and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys will be right back in the NFC East mix. He certainly did not deserve this Pro Bowl spot ahead of David Bakhtari of the Green Bay Packers. Bakhtari is one of the most unsung players in the league. Without Aaron Rodgers and any semblance of a running game most of the season, Bakhtari showed up in a massive way for the overachieving Packers.
Linebacker Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings had a tremendous regular season on defense. Thus, the voters rewarded certain individuals due to the team success. Barr no doubt contributed to Minnesota’s accomplishments, but there were definitely people who belonged in the Pro Bowl ahead of him. Tajir Whitehead of the Detroit Lions and Robert Quinn of the Los Angeles Rams both had better statistical seasons than Barr. Even K.J.Wright of the Seattle Seahawks or Preston Smith of the Washington Redskins could have been considered. It could be that voters went with the eye test. Barr’s hit that knocked Rodgers out for the season was replayed over and over again. Whitehead did not have a signature hit or play in 2017 so he flew under the radar while Barr was constantly in front of our faces.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles
Jenkins is a super football player. Harrison Smith is the best at what they do, though. Like Green for the AFC, Jenkins does not deserve to be in the Pro Bowl only because there is someone out there that had a better season at the same position. Again, Smith was rightfully named first-team All-Pro. Jenkins deserves to play in the only Bowl game that matters: the Super Bowl!
Brandon Fazzolari is a Super Bowl expert…@spot_Bills