The Atlanta Falcons haven’t had a lot to celebrate in 2018, a trend that is unfortunately likely to continue. One thing that has happened, however, is that the best players have shone despite the stinking mess around them, like stars buried deep in the gas of a nebula.
That’s why it’s worth digging deep in the positivity bins at the back end of the garage of my soul to try to figure out who might actually make the Pro Bowl this year for the Falcons, because they do have worthy players. I don’t blame anyone for being disgusted with the state of this team, but I would hate to see us go screaming into January without a word for the excellence of the stars.
So without further ado, here are a few Falcons I think could make the Pro Bowl. I only expect Julio Jones and Damontae Kazee to actually make it, though.
QB Matt Ryan
He’s turned in a couple of duds and had bad stretches, sure, but he’s also statistically one of the better quarterbacks in football this year and has some truly excellent performances to fall back on. Wins alone will probably get Drew Brees (who is deserving), Russell Wilson (ditto) and Kirk Cousins (yeah, I guess) by him, not to mention Jared Goff, but he’s got a strong case.
WR Julio Jones
He’s leading the league in receiving yardage and he’s turning another absurdly great season in overall. The low touchdowns are a knock, but he doesn’t have zero anymore and feels like a mortal lock for a Pro Bowl spot.
LT Jake Matthews
I skipped right by Austin Hooper, who has the counting stats and has been pretty good this year, and Mohamed Sanu, who unfairly or no won’t get a look as the #3 receiver in this offense. Heck, Calvin Ridley’s touchdowns might get him a longer look than Sanu.
Matthews has been very good on the left side of the line this year and has a shot, however remote, to be recognized for it.
DT Jack Crawford
Crawford’s 5.5 sacks put him in the top five or so for defensive tackles in the NFC, and as ridiculous as it is to type this he’s been the team’s most consistently effective pass rusher in 2018. Again, a long shot, but if he keeps producing he might actually get a nod.
S Damontae Kazee
Kazee has been far from perfect, but he’s emerged as a legitimate ballhawk with an NFL-leading six interceptions, and he has some of those highlight-reel hits to bolster his case. Picks tend to be one of the most appealing parts of a safety’s game, and Kazee’s a great story as a replacement for an injured Ricardo Allen. He should get a berth.
ST Justin Bethel
Pro Bowl track record? Check. A handful of brilliant special teams plays that will stand out for anyone looking to evalute his effectiveness? Check. Don’t count him out.
Who else would you give a fair shot to, or alternatively, who do you think is just plain deserving?