6 biggest Pro Bowl snubs (and the players they should replace)

Who's on the Pro Bowl roster that shouldn't be? More importantly, which players should be filling those spots?

| 6 months ago
Andrew Luck

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

6 biggest Pro Bowl snubs (and the players they should replace)

At the end of the day, the NFL Pro Bowl is a popularity contest. Name recognition, draft status, and team success often times trump actual on-field performance. Unfortunately, Pro Bowl accolades still matter for contract negotiations and Hall of Fame candidacies, so let’s take a look at the top players to get the shaft this season—as well as whose spots they should be filling on the 2017 Pro Bowl roster.

Snub: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts

Should replace: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

Luck and Roethlisberger make for a great case study because they currently have the exact same number of passing attempts (476). It’s Luck, though, that has more yards and touchdowns with fewer interceptions. Even beyond that, Luck is having to do far more on his own. The Colts’ offensive line is 31st in pass-blocking efficiency this season, while the Steelers’ is third. 61.3 percent of Luck’s yards have come through the air, compared to 56.9 for Roethlisberger (meaning Pittsburgh receivers are doing more after the catch). Grade wise, it’s no comparison, as Luck is second overall in PFF’s system, while Roethlisberger is currently 18th for the 2016 season.

Snub: Matt Paradis, C, Broncos

Should replace: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Steelers

This is no knock on Pouncey—he’s one of the better centers in the NFL—but to overlook what Paradis has done this season is pure name-recognition bias. The former sixth-round pick is barely on the national radar even after playing extremely well for the Broncos down the stretch last year in the playoffs, and continuing that into this season. He’s arguably been the best stretch-zone center in the NFL, but often gets overlooked because the rest of the Denver line does him no favors. Paradis is currently the third-highest graded-center in the NFL.

Snub: Josh Sitton, G, Bears

Should replace: Brandon Scherff, G, Redskins

If you’re a top-five pick in the NFL draft as a guard and turn out not to be a bust, you can basically write your ticket to the Pro Bowl every season. Individual offensive line play—especially on the interior—can’t easily be deduced on one viewing, so it’s natural to expect voters to turn to name recognition and reputation. What is easy to do, though, is simply rewatch and tabulate how many times a guy is beaten in pass protection. For Scherff, that number this year was 39; for Sitton, it was only 10. Now, Sitton has missed a couple of games, but it’s not hard to see why we would have gone with the Chicago guard here.

Snub: Cameron Jordan, DE, Saints; and Brandon Graham, DE, Eagles

Should replace: Any NFC Pro Bowl DE selection

Jordan and Graham have been the best two defensive ends in the NFL this season, so leaving them off of the NFC roster seems like a fair oversight. Jordan, especially, has been basically unblockable, rarely losing one-on-one encounters. Both players have 68 total pressures on the season—more than any DE that made the NFC roster.

Snub: Terence Newman, CB, Vikings

Should replace: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Vikings

Rhodes is having a terrific season in his own right, but we would have liked to see the 38-year-old get his due for an unprecedented season. Newman is allowing only 4.19 yards per target into his coverage this year, the best mark for any cornerback in the NFL. To put that somewhat into perspective, the most ineffective quarterback in the NFL this season is averaging only 5.5 yards per pass attempt. He may only have one interception, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t changed games with his play.

Snub: Sean Lee, OLB, Cowboys

Should replace: Thomas Davis, OLB, Panthers

Of all the players selected to the Pro Bowl this season, Davis was probably the least deserving. His numbers are down across the board from a year ago, and he was a fringe Pro-Bowler then. To put him in over Sean Lee, who has been the lifeblood of a rejuvenated Dallas defense, is a head-scratcher. Lee’s 55 total stops are the most of any linebacker in the NFL, and he has only 11 missed tackles on 143 attempts.

For the full 2016 Pro Bowl roster, click here.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • netti

    Raiders represent good lawd!!

  • crosseyedlemon

    Steelers have no business being at the Pro Bowl but they do deserve an award for best impression of a bumble bee with those hideous uniforms.

    • NAJ

      That uniform is disgusting, i should be banned along with the lime green Seattle one.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I think there must be a competition to see who can create the worst alternate uniform. There doesn’t seem to be even one team with a good one.

    • Richard Nixon

      The morbidly obese Steelers fanbase loves those things for some reason. Worst unis in sports history.

  • jcom67

    Snacks Harrison!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike Pereira

    I asked you on Twitter, no reply.
    How does LT David Bakhtiari grade out compared to the 3 higher-drafted NFC OT’s that made it. I agree each of those 3 are great, especially Tyron Smith who I have seen make Matthews look like a stiff.

    -T Williams
    -T Smith
    -J Peters

    • Mike

      Peters was undrafted so not sure what was meant there. More recognizable?

      As for the grades- Williams ranks 1st, Bakhtiari ranks 3rd, Peters 9th and Smith 10th. Not to say the PFF grading system is perfect, it truly isn’t anywhere close. But those are their rankings.

      Bakhtiari has the best pass blocking grade among NFL tackles according to PFF, but comes in at #30 for run blocking.

  • Justin


  • Thomas Bell

    Sean Lee didn’t make the pro bowl? He seems to make every other tackle, and doesn’t have a great supporting cast around him.

  • JudoPrince

    Sean Lee is certainly deserving but you can never argue against a player like Thomas Davis. Even though Davis has less tackles, Davis has 3 Interceptions, a touchdown and 2.5 sacks, where Lee is blank in those areas. Those splash plays add up to pro bowl votes even though Lee gets better technical grading. Davis was a high impact player on defense this year despite his lower than usual pff grade of 79.

  • Braden Griffith

    Thoughts on Benardrick McKinney not making it? He’s second in tackles and leads all of the other AFC LB’s on the Pro Bowl roster in Sacks and TFL.

  • ADaddy

    There’s no argument that Brees isn’t the biggest snub and I have no idea how he isn’t on this list. He leads the league in yards and TDs while completing 71.1% of his passes.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi


      • Robert Anasi


        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          not his best year in regards to them, but far from his worst either. a 71.1 completion percentage at 7.7 YPA is absurd though. and he’s on pace for his 2nd highest yardage total ever, and his 5th 5,000 yard+ season

          • Robert Anasi

            Thanks for adding more context. When you’re right you’re right, and you’re right. Seems like it’s a case of being on a losing team and having thrown a few game-changing picks.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Brees carries the team on his back in the same way Marino use to do with the Dolphins many years ago. That he is good enough to go to Canton but not a Pro Bowl game seems a bit silly. The only possible knock you can have on him is that he gets to play half the time in the comfort of a dome stadium.

  • Richard Nixon

    Eric Weddle is by far the biggest snub

    • crosseyedlemon

      Geographic location and market size are probably having some impact
      there. I’m sure if he was in New York he would get more recognition.

    • Brandon Tesch

      Jordy Nelson is.

  • jdg3

    “Jordan and Graham have been the best two defensive ends in the NFL this season, so leaving them off of the NFC roster seems like a fair oversight” –

    Khalil Mack says hahahahahaha

    • xpac101000

      I guess reading isn’t your strong suite. Either stay or go back to school

      • Brandon

        I guess reading isnt your strong suit(or spelling because you misspelled suit) but the article said two of the best in the NFL… not the NFC, they only later mention the NFC when talking about rosters.

      • jdg3

        so you didn’t see the ” in the NFL this season”? You even fail as an internet troll.

    • Pook

      I don’t get it. Are you saying Khalil Mack is a defensive end?

      • jdg3

        yes. Mack made the pro bowl as a DE this year.

        • Pook

          Ah ok. I was thinking he was a linebacker. Semantics, I guess.

  • Joe Doe

    HaHa Clinton Dix snubbed about a half dozen guys.

    • Brian Dugan

      Ha-Ha has had a really good season and has been ascending as a player pretty noticeably for the last two years. He fully deserves the nod this year.

      What 6 guys deserve it over him?

  • rhodesgolfer

    You’re high. Football has become such a nerd stats game. Scherff in pass pro is only a fraction of his job. This guy has been a rock on this O-Line from the very beginning last year. A well deserved selection. Please try to be more professional at your job and peel back the layers of the onion. Come on bruh!

  • Brandon

    How did KJ Wright not only get snubbed from the pro bowl, but on this article as well.

  • http://www.lexalexander.net lexalexander

    I’ll grant that Thomas Davis hasn’t had a Pro Bowl year this year, but he got snubbed a number of seasons when he should have gone.

  • G-WV

    Eric Weddle?

  • dlund6cutler

    Man the whole Browns team was snubbed.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I have a feeling they would just as soon get the day off so they could watch Lebron play against the Thunder.