PFF's Pro Bowl roster
After 14 weeks of fantastic performances, which players have stood out above all their peers? Which quarterback has been the most accurate, which pass rusher the most destructive, which tackle the most flawless in pass protection?
Well, we’re going to give you a rundown of some of the stars this season as we announce the Pro Football Focus Pro Bowl roster.
Tom Brady (NE), Carson Palmer (ARI), Cam Newton (CAR), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), Russell Wilson (SEA), and Aaron Rodgers (GB)
A special mention for both Derek Carr and Andy Dalton, who were beat out for the final spot by Aaron Rodgers, who has had to overcome more than you’d consider fair this season. The standouts are the first four mentioned, all of whom can lay claim to deserving to start.
Doug Martin (TB), Jonathan Stewart (CAR), DeAngelo Williams (PIT), Adrian Peterson (MIN), Chris Ivory (NYJ), and Todd Gurley (STL)
In the end, the big-play ability of Gurley won out over the more steady play of T.J. Yeldon, but it bodes well for the Rams and Jaguars future that both are in this conversation at all. While Peterson leads the league in rushing, his fumbling woes mean that Martin and Stewart would be our consensus starters right now. Seattle backs both miss out—despite fantastic grades—because of low snap counts.
Patrick DiMarco (ATL) and Jalston Fowler (TEN)
It wasn’t hard picking DiMarco, a true fullback who has a real knack for generating movement. Rookie Fowler edges out fellow 2015 draftee Michael Burton.
Rob Gronkowski (NE), Delanie Walker (TEN), Tyler Eifert (CIN), and Greg Olsen (CAR)
Any objections here? Didn’t think so. Gronkowski has been as “Gronkowski” as ever, with double digit touchdowns and some strong in-line blocking. While it would seem logical for Eifert to get the other start, it’s actually Walker who has stood out more. He has caught plenty of balls, and his blocking has always been underrated.
Antonio Brown (PIT), Julio Jones (ATL), Larry Fitzgerald (ARI), Allen Robinson (JAX), A.J. Green (CIN), Alshon Jeffery (CHI), Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG), and DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
With so much wide receiver talent here, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, so let’s spend some time talking about the standouts—and where better to start than with Brown? He might not have the build of other pass catchers, but given how good he has been this year, and how good he is every year, can we call him the best receiver in football? Jones couldn’t keep his incredible start to the year up (if he did, records would have tumbled), but how he has been as productive as he has with so much defensive attention is incredible.
Tyron Smith (DAL), Joe Thomas (CLE), Terron Armstead (NO), Andrew Whitworth (CIN), Mitchell Schwartz (CLE), and Ryan Schraeder (ATL)
We know what you’re thinking: How have Schwartz and Schraeder made this list when guys like Joe Staley, Cordy Glenn and Trent Williams (to name but a few) have not? Well, we can’t ignore the right tackles out there, and those two are the best of the bunch. On the left side, we might not be quite in the age of Jones, Pace, and Ogden, but there’s a plethora of talented tackles, making those who make this team true standouts.
Marshal Yanda (BAL), Richie Incognito (BUF), Zack Martin (DAL), Kevin Zeitler (CIN), Josh Sitton (GB), and Trai Turner (CAR)
After last year’s fantastic group of guards entering the league, it was always unlikely that the 2015 class would replicate that level of success. But it’s nice to see no real sophomore slump, with Martin and Turner representing the group well. Yanda and Incognito are the standouts of the group.
Joe Berger (MIN), Travis Frederick (DAL), Ryan Kalil (CAR), and Weston Richburg (NYG)
The first three picked themselves, while in the end, it was Richburg who just bested Eric Wood for the final spot. The most notable name is Berger, the backup Vikings lineman who was thrust into a starting spot, and has subsequently earned the highest grade of all centers.
(Where applicable, we used the position that the NFL Pro Bowl ballot listed players as to decide whether they were a defensive end, defensive tackle, or linebacker).
Khalil Mack (OAK), Cameron Jordan (NO), Cliff Avril (SEA), J.J. Watt (HOU), Fletcher Cox (PHI), and Michael Bennett (SEA)
Some real star here, with the emergence of Mack probably the most eye-catching. He’s a rival for Watt for Defensive Player of the Year, with the Raider building on his fantastic rookie season by rounding out his game to be a fearsome pass rusher.
Aaron Donald (STL), Geno Atkins (CIN), Mike Daniels (GB), Kawann Short (CAR), Linval Joseph (MIN), and Ndamukong Suh (MIA)
As good as it has been to see Atkins approach his 2012 level of play, even he takes a backseat on this team to Donald. The Rams’ sophomore is another real contender for DPOY, with his ability to penetrate in the run game and pulverize when rushing the passer the most impressive of any player in the league this year.
Von Miller (DEN), Justin Houston (KC), Anthony Barr (MIN), K.J. Wright (SEA), Pernell McPhee (CHI), and Tamba Hali (KC)
We’ve got a mix of rush linebackers and your more conventional outside guys—such is the nature of a Pro Bowl ballot. Barr and Wright are those you’d most commonly associate with traditional, 4-3 outside linebackers, with Barr in particular looking every bit the first-rounder. Of the group of edge rushers, Miller and Houston are your two guys who you really notice, with Miller especially delivering a lot of pressure this year.
Luke Kuechly (CAR), Derrick Johnson (KC), Jerrell Freeman (IND), and Brandon Marshall (DEN)
What can we say about Kuechly that hasn’t already been said? He’s having a year for the ages. It puts everything else in the shadow, but we must admit it’s been nice to see the veteran Johnson playing at the peak of his powers.
Josh Norman (CAR), Chris Harris, Jr. (DEN), Ronald Darby (BUF), Johnathan Joseph (HOU), Patrick Peterson (ARI), Bashaud Breeland (WAS), Darius Slay (DET), and Adam Jones (CIN)
The trickiest selection of any position here, given the depth at the spot. Trumaine Johnson, Richard Sherman, and Logan Ryan were all guys who it was hard not to squeeze in. The top of the crop were Norman and Harris, with Norman enjoying a true breakout season.
Reshad Jones (MIA) and Eric Berry (KC)
The story here is that Berry hasn’t just returned to playing football, but that he’s playing as well as ever.
Malcolm Jenkins (PHI), Harrison Smith (MIN), Kurt Coleman (CAR), and Tyrann Mathieu (ARI)
Mathieu was always going to make this team, the question was merely whether the NFL classed him as a safety or cornerback. Regardless of how you view him, he’s a versatile weapon. While the Eagles’ defense has had plenty of down moments, you can’t fault Jenkins, who has been an all-action star this year.
Stephen Gostkowski (NE) and Dan Bailey (DAL)
Can you have a better year than Gostkowski? He doesn’t look like he’s in danger of missing.
Pat McAfee (IND) Sam Koch (BAL)
The Colts have seen too much of McAfee this year, but at least he’s made his punts count by being the best punter in the league.
Jarvis Landry (MIA) and Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN)
The star punt returner and the star kick returner; sometimes, these things fit nicely.
Walt Aikens (MIA) and Justin Bethel (ARI)
While Bethel remains in a class of his own as a special teamer, it’s nice to see players like Aikens challenging him for the throne.