The Pro Bowl selections are out, so let the winning and whining begin.
That happens every year, basically. Players get selected who don’t deserve the honor. Players get overlooked. It’s politics. It’s a popularity contest. This guy knows this guy. This guy used to coach that guy.
The Eagles, with the NFL’s best record, had eight players selected, most in the league.
But what about omissions?
What about Eagles cornerback James Bradberry? No whining: He got robbed.
Bradberry is the most appalling exclusion. He has been a shutdown corner all season, plus he has outstanding stats.
- Three interceptions
- One touchdown reception allowed in 14 games
- Targeted 74 times
- Allowed 33 completions for 273 yards (44 percent)
- Played 97 percent of snaps
Pro Bowl players shouldn’t be selected on stats alone. You watch players and plays and you can sense who is playing at a high level.
ESPN said Bradberry was the “most egregious snub on the board.”
- Also from ESPN: “He has allowed 0.6 yards per coverage snap and minus-37 expected points added (EPA) as the nearest defender, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and those are both the best by any outside corner with at least 250 coverage snaps.
- “Those aren’t just Pro Bowl numbers; they’re numbers that should put him in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year.”
ESPN also said Bradberry should replace the Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs.
- From ESPN national NFL writer Jeremy Fowler: “Eight Pro Bowlers wasn’t enough for the Eagles. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and cornerback James Bradberry are among Philly players who deserved a spot on the NFC team. This is the most complete roster in football.”
Over the years, the Eagles had their share of outstanding cornerbacks — Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor; Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown.
With those tandems, the Eagles’ pass coverage was in good hands.
As this season unfolded, fans saw that Bradberry and Darius Slay weren’t letting much get past them. The Eagles have the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL, and their defense ranks second overall. The Eagles rank sixth in points allowed.
Four cornerbacks were picked from each conference. Slay made his fifth Pro Bowl and was joined by Diggs; Seattle’s Tariq Woolen; and Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander.
WHY NOT EDWARDS AND HARGRAVE?
Middle linebacker T.J. Edwards also should have been given serious consideration.
He calls the defensive signals and has 124 tackles, third in the NFC and 39 more than fellow linebacker Kyzir White. Edwards is always around the ball.
Hargrave received the most fans votes for NFC defensive tackles but was not selected. He has 10 sacks on the season and certainly should have been considered.
Eighty-eight players are selected for the Pro Bowl based on voting by players, coaches and fans. Each group’s vote represents one-third. The NFL is the only professional team to use these three groups to determine its Pro Bowlers.
There is no longer a Pro Bowl game, per se. There will be skills competition, plus a flag football game in Las Vegas on Feb. 5.