Packers: Linsley Pro Bowl-worthy?
It’s that time of year again when quarterbacks sing the praises of their offensive linemen in hopes of garnering them Pro Bowl consideration. So it was no surprise to hear Aaron Rodgers doing just that on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show earlier this week.
What was surprising to some was that he wasn’t talking about guys like Josh Sitton or T.J. Lang, but instead, center Corey Linsley. Does Rodgers have a legitimate point or is he simply trying to boost the confidence of a young rookie?
We certainly believe Linsley deserves serious consideration.
Linsley’s overall PFF grade (+9.3) ranks second only to Seattle’s Max Unger (+10.2) among NFC centers. He has given the Packers a run-blocking presence (+8.7) that they haven’t had since Scott Wells was at his best back in 2010 and 2011.
His pass protection (-1.3) has been middle-of-the-road, but there’s a key stat here that’s likely the reason Rodgers is championing his cause: Linsley has allowed only one QB hit and has yet to give up a single sack.
All this points to a stellar rookie year in the making (currently 7th on our Race for Rookie of the Year list) and a Pro Bowl selection isn’t out of the question. In fact, it’s tough to find anyone more deserving in the NFC.
Ryan Kalil (+2.2) was last year’s NFC starter but hasn’t fared well in pass protection (-5.2). Unger was the NFC backup last year but has missed nearly half of the season with a foot injury.
Brian De La Puente (+8.2) ranks just behind Linsley but isn’t even Chicago’s full-time starter. Washington’s Korey Lichtensteiger (+5.0) and San Francisco’s Daniel Kilgore (+4.6) are next in line, but neither have matched Linsley’s impact in the run game.