There's a new format for the Pro Bowl this year, and it's kind of weird. Instead of voting along AFC and NFC lines, voters are asked to just vote for the best players league-wide at each position. Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice are going to coach it, and they'll "draft" their players from the players who receive the most votes.
You may have not considered voting for any Falcons to attend the Pro Bowl. It's easy to lose sight of players who might deserve that trip to Hawaii in a season that is so colossally disappointing. The Falcons do have a handful of players who are truly deserving.
For quarterbacks, fans can vote for up to six players. Matt Ryan is currently fifth in the league for passing yards with 3,471. Ryan's completion percentage is 66.3%, also good for sixth in the league. Ryan is also third in the league for passing attempts per game, which emphasizes that Ryan is not only putting up solid numbers compared to his peers with no Julio Jones, a hobbled Roddy White, but he's also bearing the brunt of the responsibility for any offensive production, with no running game to speak of and barely a shadow of an offensive line.
Yes, Ryan had a handful of abysmal games, which have led to an inflated number of interceptions. But, overall, Ryan has kept Atlanta's passing offense in the top five in the league without key weapons, adequate pass protection, or a ground game to relieve some of the pressure. He's got my vote.
Fans can vote for up to four tight ends.Tony Gonzalez is fourth in the league for receptions among tight ends. He is fifth among tight ends for receiving yards, and perhaps most importantly, he's second among tight ends for receptions for first downs. Tony Gonzalez is also the greatest tight end to ever play the position, and he, more than anyone else on this team, deserves your vote in his final season in the NFL.
Fans have six votes for outside linebacker, and undrafted rookie Paul Worrilow is currently sixth on the list at that position for tackles with 89. The crazy thing is, Worrilow has gotten to that number without nearly as much playing time as the players above him on the list. Worrilow is also credited with two quarterback hits and nine hurries by Pro Football Focus. The rookie's rapid development has been a bright spot in a dark season, and he deserves your consideration.
Rookie Desmond Trufant is currently tied for first in the league for pass deflections with 13. If you're obsessed with interception numbers, you're probably not terribly impressed with Trufant, but he has actually been excellent in coverage. The rookie also has 53 tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception on the season, but for the number of pass deflections alone, and where it ranks him among his peers, keep Trufant in mind as you place your votes. Fans can vote for up to eight cornerbacks.
A strong case can be made for Matt Bryant. He has long been one of the most reliable kickers in the league. The Falcons have won a number of games on his leg. He has missed two kicks this season, and everyone is astonished when he does miss because it happens so rarely. Matt Bryant, in short, is money, and warrants serious consideration for one of your two Pro Bowl votes for kickers.
I make the case for voting for Matt Bosher for Pro Bowl with this gif alone.
You can vote for Falcons players, and any other players you deem deserving, via the official Pro Bowl ballot. Which Falcons players would you like to see in the Pro Bowl this season?