Fighting the Fan Vote
Fighting the Fan Vote
At least a storm of incredulity in PPF headquarters as the NFL released their list of players who lead fan votes at their position. Needless to say some of it isn’t just bad, it’s downright offensive.
Now, to be fair, some positions have been hit. Players like Aaron Rodgers, Darrelle Revis and Fred Jackson are all at the top of their positions in their respective conferences. That, I can dig.
But some of the picks? Well let’s just say there’s too much love for some Packers, and too many reputation picks elsewhere. Time to explore some of the worst. I’ve limited myself to the 11 that hit me the hardest (in no particular order).
Maurkice Pouncey, C, Pittsburgh Steelers
Positional Rank: 19th overall (C)
Selection Analysis: The man who inspired this list. We here at PFF have always been pretty strong in our conviction that younger Pouncey has never got close to earning the praise afforded him. That continues this year as he somehow leads the race for the Pro Bowl center spot. This is frankly ludicrous, with Maurkice not even being the better Pouncey right now.
Suggested Candidate: It’s not even a contest in our minds given how well Chris Myers has played all year.
Logan Mankins, LG, New England Patriots
Positional Rank: 32nd overall (G)
Selection Analysis: Mankins may be the best guard in the game given his work over the past four years. That doesn’t make him the best guard in the league right now, and he’s put forth a series of very average performances. His run blocking in particular has been somewhat lacking since getting his big pay day.
Suggested Candidate: The best guard in the league right now? He plays on the right side, and he plays in Baltimore. Marshal Yanda, that’s you I’m talking about. This is one guy who got paid and is actually outperforming his shiny new contract.
Michael Oher, RT, Baltimore Ravens
Positional Rank: 24th overall (T)
Selection Analysis: This pick tells you all you need to know about how fans view offensive lines. I imagine it’s because Oher has a film about him, because while he hasn’t been terrible he shouldn’t be anywhere near a Pro Bowl. The amazing thing is that he looks like bucking the trend of the Pro Bowl being a haven for left tackles. It’s just a shame he’s not doing it the right way by outperforming those tackles; he’s already given up 30 combined sacks, hits and hurries.
Suggested Candidate: This is a year where Michael Roos, our top-ranked left tackle is actually living up to his reputation and then some. If you want a guy from the right side, Eric Winston should be your choice.
Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Positional Rank: 30th overall (4-3 DE), 6th in Pure Passing Rushing
Selection Analysis: If Freeney was the putting in his usual pass rushing performance, I’d understand. But he’s not. In fact, he ‘only’ has four sacks, six hits and 20 pressures on the year, with his impact somewhat negated by the Colts’ struggles limiting his opportunities to pin his ears back. The real shame is the fans have been robbed of the guy they should be looking at: Carlos Dunlap. The Bengal isn’t on the ballot because he doesn’t start, despite managing a combined 37 sacks, hits and hurries on 202 pass rushing attempts. Phenomenal.
Suggested Candidate: With no Dunlap, how about showing some love for either Andre Carter (nine sacks, 11 hits and 18 pressures) or Terrell Suggs (+13.8 grade in run defense).
LaMarr Woodley, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Positional Rank: 12th overall (3-4 OLB), 13th in Pure Pass Rushing
Selection Analysis: Woodley has 10 sacks. That eye catching number alone is bound to garner him votes, but if you look past that number what do you get? 23 quarterback disruptions. That number is less than James Harrison who has played far fewer snaps. So I ask the question, if Woodley makes the team because of his pass rushing, but isn’t even the most productive pass rusher on his team, how does he end up the top vote-getter in the AFC? I reiterate, sacks are not everything.
Suggested Candidate: You don’t need to go for a 3-4 OLB, especially when you have the new prototype of strongside linebacker/ rush end in the NFL. Kamerion Wimbley (45 QB disruptions) and Von Miller (40) warrant a nod for their sublime work.
John Kuhn, FB, Green Bay Packers
Positional Rank: 27th overall (FB)
Selection Analysis: A fullback should lead block right? Did why the heck are you picking Kuhn? Answering with what he does as a short-yardage back isn’t a suitable answer, when the guy that deserves the nod has had some of his own (even if they aren’t followed by people shouting out his name).
Suggested Candidate: A lot of people hadn’t heard of Jed Collins before this year. I was one of them, and now look at me singing his praises. That’s how good he has been.
Chad Clifton, T, Green Bay Packers
Positional Rank: 45th overall (T)
Selection Analysis: There are so many reasons not to pick Chad Clifton. One, he’s only played 284 snaps – that’s less than half of all Packer snaps. Two, he was pretty poor when he played. Pro Bowl voters, hang your head in shame. Clifton, with his limited snap count, has given up 18 QB disruptions. There are tackles who have played every snap who have given up less.
Suggested Candidate: Jason Peters has played exceptionally well for the Eagles. His work at the second level and in pass protection has been as good as anyone.
T.J. Lang, G, Green Bay Packers
Positional Rank: 28th overall (G)
Selection Analysis: If you’re going to pick one guard from Green Bay at least make sure you’re picking Josh Sitton. The ultra-talented Sitton has greatly outperformed his Packers teammate, even if Lang has been an upgrade on Daryn Colledge. Neither man should be leading the Pro Bowl vote however.
Suggested Candidate: Somebody will pay Carl Nicks a lot of money this year.
Desmond Bishop, ILB, Green Bay Packers
Positional Rank: 13th overall (ILB)
Selection Analysis: This is a joke right? You’re not seriously telling me that a group of people would really pick anyone over Patrick Willis? Wow. There’s homerism, and then there’s HOMERISM. Guess what this is. Bishop has played well, but nowhere near the level of play he put forward in 2010 when I wouldn’t have had a problem with this pick.
Suggested Candidate: Right now you’re blinkered if you go for anyone not playing football in San Francisco. NaVorro Bowman has played well, but Patrick Willis is the best linebacker in the league. Period.
Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers
Positional Rank: 84th overall, 18th coverage (CB)
Selection Analysis: Another one of those picks that makes me want to smack my head into a table ferociously. Woodson doesn’t even warrant consideration, with a lack of plays considering how much he rushes the passer, seven penalties and some inconsistent work in coverage. Sure he has five interceptions, but this isn’t just a numbers game and Woodson isn’t even the best cornerback on his own team.
Suggested Candidate: He had a tough day against the Giants but you’d be wise to look at Carlos Rogers, and, after the way he handled Calvin Johnson, Charles Tillman.
Roman Harper, S, New Orleans Saints
Positional Rank: 75th overall, 15th in run defense (S)
Selection Analysis: Harper can blitz no doubt. But then he’s afforded the opportunity to so much that his seven sacks shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. It’s a great figure but how many of those are unblocked? Six of them. He executes, but don’t be fooled by the numbers, especially since he’s given up more touchdowns (five) than any other safety.
Suggested Candidate: Kam Chancellor is having a breakout year, while Adrian Wilson is putting in the kind of complete performances you don’t always see from him.