The Pro Bowl rosters of 2021 were hilariously awful. While there are snubs every season, this season had some genuine head-scratchers.
Here is what the rosters should have looked like:
An asterisk indicates that the player was not included in the Pro Bowl roster.
AFC Quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs, Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills, Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
This is perfect. Mahomes, Allen, and Watson were the best three quarterbacks outside of Aaron Rodgers. The only real question would come up if the Chiefs or Bills head to the Super Bowl. Although, would it be worthwhile to replace players in a Pro Bowl that is not even played in person?
AFC Running Backs: Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans, Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns, James Robinson* – Jacksonville Jaguars, Jonathan Taylor* – Indianapolis Colts
Lost Spots: Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders, Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs
Henry and Chubb are no-brainers. Robinson had a stellar season for the lowly Jaguars until missing the final two weeks. Taylor came on late, but he came on in such a big way that it is hard to leave him out, especially after Edwards-Helaire won the final player competition.
AFC Fullback: Andy Janovich* – Cleveland Browns
Lost Spot: Patrick Ricard – Baltimore Ravens
Both players are deserving of the spot as they both helped their respective rushing attacks. Janovich gets the nod here, but Ricard likely won the real spot because he was a 2019 Pro Bowler.
AFC: Wide Receivers: Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs, Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills, Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers, A.J. Brown – Tennessee Titans
Perfect. These four are a cut above the rest of the AFC.
AFC Tight Ends: Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs, Darren Waller – Las Vegas Raiders
This is also perfect. It is a shame that there are only two spots because Mark Andrews (Baltimore Ravens) and Mike Gesicki (Miami Dolphins) had strong seasons as the third-best tight end, but Kelce and Waller were two of the easiest picks of this exercise.
AFC Offensive Tackles: Garrett Bolles* – Denver Broncos, Jack Conklin* – Cleveland Browns, Laremy Tunsil – Houston Texans
Lost Spots: Eric Fisher – Kansas City Chiefs, Orlando Brown – Baltimore Ravens
The Fisher selection is inexcusable. Brown had a good year at left tackle for Baltimore, but the Pro Bowl should reward excellence. Bolles and Conklin had stellar seasons and are egregious misses. Tunsil tailed off near the end of the season, but he was considered as the best tackle in the NFL for nearly three months.
AFC Guards: Quenton Nelson – Indianapolis Colts, Joel Bitonio – Cleveland Browns, Wyatt Teller* – Cleveland Browns
Lost Spot: David DeCastro – Pittsburgh Steelers
Teller was the best guard in football in 2020. He missed time, yes, but he was a devastating blocker. DeCastro is the bigger name (and plays for Pittsburgh, not Cleveland), but his selection is unwarranted. Nelson and Bitonio had excellent seasons per usual, but Teller was the cream of the crop.
AFC Centers: Brandon Linder* – Jacksonville Jaguars, J.C. Tretter* – Cleveland Browns
Lost Spots: Maurkice Pouncey – Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Kelly – Indianapolis Colts
Pouncey must have some sort of under-the-table agreement with the NFL. For the ninth time in 11 seasons, he is a Pro Bowler. Sure, he had some good seasons, and he deserves some of those, but this selection is just incorrect. Kelly had a solid season for the Colts, but the Pro Bowl is for excellence, not solidity. Linder and Tretter were tremendous, but they play for less-heralded teams.
Stay tuned tonight for the NFC offense, as well as tomorrow for defense and special teams!