We are at the halfway point of the 2019 NFL Season. We have seen a lot of exciting moments so far and the second half of the season should be a good one. Around this time, the NFL will release the Pro Bowl ballot where fans can vote on who should make the yearly All-Star game. While the Pro Bowl […]
We are at the halfway point of the 2019 NFL Season. We have seen a lot of exciting moments so far and the second half of the season should be a good one. Around this time, the NFL will release the Pro Bowl ballot where fans can vote on who should make the yearly All-Star game.
While the Pro Bowl is something fans have been vocal about with the lack of hard-hitting action, I personally find the Pro Bowl fun to watch. It is a way to see teammates and matchups we have never seen and how they gel together on the field.
In honor of the halfway point, I came up with my Pro Bowl roster so far. Obviously, things can be completely different once Week 17 ends, and the playoffs start but why not have the discussion now?
So without further ado, here are my mid-season predictions for the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl roster for the AFC side. Like tradition, I picked the starters, along with the required number of backups based on positions (two backups for quarterbacks, one backup for defensive tackles for example), and a few potential alternates that are in the running as of now.
- Starter: Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Backups: Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)
Mahomes had a historic MVP 2018 season and once again has shown that he is still one of the best QB’s in the league today. With 2,180 yards, 15 TD’s, and just one INT this season, Mahomes is having another successful season. A knee injury will have him out for the next few weeks but that should not affect his chances to have another Pro Bowl nod under his belt.
Brady has been selected to 14 Pro Bowls in his Hall of Fame career but has only played in two, with a majority of the reasons for skipping is that the Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl. Still, with another great season, he earns another Pro Bowl nod but will likely skip it again if the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl (or could skip it in general). I have Jackson making the last QB spot as he has been very impressive this season, showing that he is one of the best mobile QB’s in the league right now.
- Potential Alternates: Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans), Jacoby Brissett (Indianapolis Colts)
- Starter: Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Backups: Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns), Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders)
Fournette has had a nice bounce-back season with the Jaguars thus far. He is currently second in rushing yards with 741 but is first in the AFC. While he only has had one touchdown so far, you have to give him credit for turning things around after a sophomore slump. It also helps that the team finally has a capable starter in Gardner Minshew II to take the load off the former LSU Tiger.
Chubb is right behind Fournette with 738 yards and has become the clear bell cow in Cleveland’s rushing attack with a bright future. The rookie Jacobs gets the nod here and is currently third in the AFC in rushing yards (620).
- Potential Alternates: Marlon Mack (Indianapolis Colts), Mark Ingram II (Baltimore Ravens)
- Starter: Alec Ingold (Oakland Raiders)
The fullback may be a dying position in the NFL but it is alive and well in the Pro Bowl. Not a lot of choices here but I went with the rookie Ingold as he has played a lot of snaps this season, helping Josh Jacobs become a top back in the NFL.
- Potential Alternate: Anthony Sherman (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Starter: DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans), DJ Chark Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Backups: Courtland Sutton (Denver Broncos), Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers)
Hopkins is one of, if not the best, wide receivers in the NFL. His 617 receiving yards ties for third in the AFC and along with three touchdowns, he gives Deshaun Watson a legit weapon to throw too. I’m giving Chark Jr. the nod here as the other starter as the second-year pro has developed into a solid WR in the Jaguars offense and his six touchdowns tie the AFC for most by a wide receiver. His 660 yards leads the AFC.
Much like Chark, Sutton has developed nicely in his sophomore season in the league, with his 636 yards being second in the AFC to go along with his three touchdowns. Allen ties Hopkins for most receiving yards and once again has shown he is one of the more consistent WR’s in the NFL.
- Potential Alternates: Julian Edelman (New England Patriots), Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
- Starter: Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Backup: Darren Waller (Oakland Raiders)
Kelce is one of the top tight ends in the league and has been a consistent Pro Bowl nod. The same can be said for this season as his 604 yards leads all AFC tight ends this season and is on pace to break 1,000 yards once again, a rare achievement you see with tight ends.
Waller has been a nice story this season. The former sixth-round wide receiver had injuries and off the field troubles for the Ravens but turned this around when he joined Oakland as a tight end. His 496 yards are second behind Kelce in AFC tight ends and his three touchdowns are tied for second in the AFC. A great season could finish with a Pro Bowl selection for Waller.
- Potential Alternates: Mark Andrews (Baltimore Ravens)
- Starters: Mitchell Schwartz (Kansas City Chiefs), Anthony Castonzo (Indianapolis Colts)
- Backup: Ronnie Stanley (Baltimore Ravens)
Schwartz and Castonzo have been consistent starters that been nothing but perfect in protecting their franchise quarterbacks. Stanley has taken a few years to develop but has finally developed into one of the better offensive tackles not only in the AFC but all of the NFL.
- Potential Alternates: Larmey Tunsil (Houston Texans),
- Starters: Quenton Nelson (Indianapolis Colts), Joel Bitonio (Cleveland Browns)
- Backup: David DeCastro (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Nelson is a beast, plain and simple. The Colts success in the running game and Jacoby Brissett is all thanks to him and previously mentioned Castonzo. While Cleveland has had troubles in the blocking department, Bitonio has been one of the few bright spots on that offensive line this season. DeCastro has been one of the more consistent guards in the NFL so he gets the nod here also.
- Potential Alternates: Marshal Yanda (Baltimore Ravens)
- Starter: Rodney Hudson (Oakland Raiders)
- Backup: Ben Jones (Tennessee Titans)
Hudson has been one of the better centers in the league and should get the credit for helping Josh Jacobs develop into a solid running back in the league. He did, unfortunately, get injured in last week’s game against the Houston Texans, so let’s hope it is not too serious and he’ll be back in the Silver and Black. Jones has developed nicely in the Titans offensive line, paving the way for guys like Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis in their 1-2 punch running attack.
- Potential Alternates: J.C. Tretter (Cleveland Browns)
- Starters: Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns), Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers)
- Backup: Calais Campbell (Jacksonville Jaguars)
10 sacks in eight weeks? There is no doubt that Garrett is a stud and has shown he is one of the best pass rushers in the league and he’ll only get better. One of the few first-round picks Cleveland got right and they’ll look to keep him around for the long haul. Bosa is right behind him with seven sacks this season and is one of the better pass rushers in the league.
Campbell is one of the reasons for Jacksonville’s success on the defensive end and gets the nod here as the backup.
- Potential Alternates: Justin Houston (Indianapolis Colts), Benson Mayowa (Oakland Raiders)
- Starters: Cameron Hayward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Jordan Phillips (Buffalo Bills)
- Backup: Adam Butler (New England Patriots)
Hayward has been a consistent starter on Pittsburgh’s defense, placing second in the team with 4.5 sacks this season. Phillips went from bench player who was cut by the Miami Dolphins to a solid starter with the Buffalo Bills. His five sacks lead all defensive tackles and looks to be one of the bright spots in Buffalo’s defense.
Butler has been solid in New England’s historic defense, recording 4.5 sacks, which is second on the team behind the next person in the linebacker section.
- Potential Alternate: Geno Atkins (Cincinnati Bengals)
- Starters: Josh Allen (Jacksonville Jaguars), Jamie Collins Sr. (New England Patriots)
- Backups: Kyle Van Noy (New England Patriots)
Collins came back to New England and after two poor seasons in Cleveland, has turned back into his old self. He leads all linebackers in interceptions with three and his six sacks ties for the lead in AFC linebackers. Allen has become a star right away on the Jaguars defense, leading the team with seven sacks and has a bright future in the NFL. Van Noy has turned this around since joining New England, becoming a consistent pass rusher in the defense as well as a solid coverage linebacker.
- Potential Alternates: Tahir Whitehead (Oakland Raiders), Von Miller (Denver Broncos)
- Starter: Joe Schobert (Cleveland Browns)
- Backup: Tremaine Edmunds (Buffalo Bills)
Schobert has been a consistent starter in Cleveland’s defense and leads the AFC in total tackles with 73. Edmunds has become a rising star in middle linebackers and looks to have a bright future in Buffalo’s defense.
- Potential Alternates: Rashaan Evans (Tennessee Titans), Zach Cunningham (Houston Texans)
- Starters: Stephon Gilmore (New England Patriots), Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore Ravens)
- Backups: Logan Ryan (Tennessee Titans), Tre’Davious White (Buffalo Bills)
Gilmore, in my opinion, is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He earned a Pro Bowl nod last season and likely gets another one this season, shutting down the other team’s best receiver. Humphrey has really turned into one of the leagues rising corners this season and while he only has one interception this season, his cover skills should not go unnoticed.
Ryan’s three interceptions get the nod here as he has turned into a solid corner for Tennessee while White has turned into a great corner in Buffalo’s defense.
- Potential Alternates: Casey Hayward Jr. (Los Angeles Chargers), Jonathan Jones (New England Patriots)
- Starter: Devin McCourty (New England Patriots)
- Backup: Kevin Byard (Tennessee Titans)
Another Patriot makes the mid-season Pro Bowl team and will likely get the nod when the real rosters come out. McCourty’s five interceptions lead the NFL, becoming one of the better ball-hawking safeties in the NFL. Byard got paid this offseason and has not lost a step, notching three interceptions as one of the big bright spots in Tennessee’s defense.
- Potential Alternates: Earl Thomas (Baltimore Ravens), Micah Hyde (Buffalo Bills)
- Starter: Jamal Adams (New York Jets)
Usually, the Pro Bowl has one strong safety and could add another if a free safety opts out. Right now, I’ll go with Adams, who is one of the best safeties in the league and is a tackling machine despite being on a poor team like the New York Jets. Still, Adams is a great player to build around let’s hope the Jets don’t waste his prime years.
- Potential Alternates: Justin Simmons (Denver Broncos), Ronnie Harrison (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Starter: Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens)
Tucker is automatic and is the best kicker in the NFL (may sound bias as a Ravens fan). He is 16/16 on field goals this season to go along with 20/20 on PATs.
- Potential Alternate: Josh Lambo (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Starter: Brett Kern (Tennessee Titans)
Kern has been one of the better punters in the NFL, leading the NFL with 2,010 NET yards and 26 punts inside the 20-yard line.
- Potential Alternate: Jake Bailey (Denver Broncos)
- Starter: Brandon Wilson (Cincinnati Bengals)
Wilson has only nine kick returns but leads the AFC in return yards with 337 yards, including a 92-yard return for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.
- Potential Alternate: Gunner Olszewski (New England Patriots)
- Starter: Morgan Cox (Baltimore Ravens)
Coaches usually pick the long snapper but I am going bias here with Cox, who has been a consistent snapper and has been a huge help in Justin Tucker making field goals looks easy.
- Potential Alternate: Thomas Hennessy (New York Jets)
- Starter: Matthew Slater (New England Patriots)
Slater is listed as a wide receiver but only has one career catch. His main contribution has been as a special teamer, being one of the best gunners in punt and kick coverage. He actually scored his first career touchdown, blocking a punt and scoring against the Buffalo Bills. With seven Pro Bowl nods and five All-Pro selection as a specialist, he is in the conversation as one of the best special teamers of all time.
- Potential Alternates: Brandon Bolden (New England Patriots), Tyler Matakevich (Pittsburgh Steelers)
*Stay tuned for my predictions on my mid-season NFC Pro Bowl team!*