Pro Bowl voting has been rolling along, but there’s now only a couple of weeks left before it closes. That means it’s time for a little clarion call to ensure deserving Atlanta Falcons make it to the game, which is meaningless as a contest but important for contracts and legacies for these players.
That’s why I’m dropping a quick reminder to vote for at least these handful of Falcons—if you want to vote for Desmond Ridder and Richie Grant, it’s a free country—and get them the recognition they deserve for their great seasons.
S Jessie Bates
Currently, Bates is running second in voting at free safety behind Baltimore’s Geno Stone, which is fair given that Stone has been superb. Still, Bates has been worth every dollar the Falcons gave him this year, with five interceptions, three forced fumbles, a defensive touchdown, and stingy defense across the board. His passer rating against is 23rd in the NFL among all defenders, only two players have more interceptions than he does in 2023, and Pro Football Focus puts his run defense grade as the 14th-best in the NFL, again among all defenders.
Bates has been an elite player and an elite safety, and has given this defense a much-needed dose of playmaking and reliability. He’ll make the Pro Bowl, but I’d urge you to keep voting to make him the number one guy, if only because of our own justified bias for a new fan favorite in Atlanta.
K Younghoe Koo
We all know how good and reliable Koo is. He’s tied for third in the NFL in field goal percentage, has nailed 100% of his kicks past 50 yards, and is seventh in the NFL in field goal makes for the season. As he has been every year in Atlanta, he’s one of the best kickers in the NFL.
In the sort of unjust twist that’s baked in to Pro Bowl voting, however, he’s only running fifth among kickers right now. It’s hard to argue against Brandon Aubrey (100% on field goal tries) or Harrison Butker (ditto), but Dustin Hopkins (12th in field goal percentage) and Justin Tucker (22nd!) are running ahead of him based on name recognition and passionate fanbase voting alone. We gotta hike Koo’s numbers up.
G Chris Lindstrom
He’s not quite as dominant as he was a year ago, but Lindstrom has rounded into form and is one of the better guards in the NFL yet again. Pro Football Focus has him third in the NFL in terms of run blocking grade—and your eye test should confirm that—and 44th in pass blocking. Among guards, he’s first in run blocking and 11th in pass protection, and has probably been hurt by an early season stretch of shakier plays and six penalties on the season.
Still, he’s not even in the top ten right now, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that he’s anything worse than a top ten guard in the NFL. As is the case with Koo,
DL David Onyemata
A critical player for Atlanta all season long, Onyemata is 7th in PFF grade among all interior defensive linemen, just outside the top ten in terms of stops, and is tied for third in quarterback hits. He has been the glue that has held this line together and an excellent player up front for Atlanta, and is quietly one of the better players at his position in the league.
I’m not sure if that adds up to a Pro Bowl berth, but he certainly should be garnering more consideration given how excellent he has been. He’s currently outside the top ten in leaguewide voting, and I’d love to at least have him make that list.
RB Bijan Robinson
Right now, the rookie is sixth among running backs in Pro Bowl votes, with his name recognition doing him a lot of favors there. Robinson is currently 8th in rushing yards in the NFL and 14th in total yards among all NFL players, and he has done that as the focal point of a mostly dysfunctional offense that hasn’t done him a ton of favors.
Like the two players above and below him, I doubt Robinson actually makes the Pro Bowl, but getting him in line to be there as an alternate feels just given how important he’s been to this offense and how excellent he has been overall despite the offense’s larger struggles.
C Drew Dalman
His snapping woes cropped up again early in the season, but those have threatened to overshadow a breakout campaign for the young center in 2023. His run blocking grade is tops among centers and second in the NFL overall, but his pass blocking has been so-so throughout the season.
You can make a case that Dalman’s elite work as a run blocker merits consideration for a Pro Bowl vote, even so, and I’d certainly like to see him in the top ten even if I think he has a zero percent chance of actually getting the Pro Bowl nod.
Who else would you add to this list?