Cleat Geeks

Pro Bowl Preview: Defensive Linemen

 

ProBowlAwardThe NFL Pro Bowl held January 31st in Hawaii is coming up quickly! In my series of articles I will breakdown each position of players, rank them according to who I’d want, and give you a couple guys that were snubbed.

There were six defensive tackles and six defensive ends chosen to participate in the Pro Bowl this year. I will be bringing them up from last-to-first by position in the order of who I’d want on my team. My rankings will be based on their performances from this season and not what they have accomplished in the past.

 

Defensive Tackles

Gerald McCoy:

The sixth-year tackle was voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth year in a row. McCoy has also been named to the first-team All-Pro for three years, but failed to make it this year. He was voted the 28th best player in the NFL by his peers this season, but he failed to put up that kind of performance again this year. In 15 games McCoy had 26 solo tackles, eight assisted tackles, 8.5 sacks and one pass defended. His numbers were extremely similar to last year’s, but he played two more games this season.

 

Calais Campbell:calais-campbell

The old man of the defensive tackles is in his eighth season out of Miami, and he was voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. Campbell was able to get 46 solo tackles, 15 assisted tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and defended three passes. Unfortunately it seems like his production is on a downward trend.

 

Fletcher Cox:

Much like Campbell, Cox was voted to the Pro Bowl as a defensive tackle even though the Eagles still list him as a defensive end. He is one of those players that move around some, so I will evaluate him with that considered. He had his most productive season of his career and finished with 50 solo tackles, 21 assisted tackles, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and defended two passes.

 

Geno Atkins:PJ-BQ279_SP_NFL_DV_20130903183103

Atkins had a great season in his sixth year in the NFL. He was voted to the first-team All-Pro for the second time in his career, and he also was voted to his fourth Pro Bowl. He finished the season with 31 solo tackles, 11 assisted tackles, 17 tackles for a loss (tied for #6), 11 sacks, and one forced fumble.

 

Kawann Short:

The third-year tackle out of Purdue was voted to his first Pro Bowl. Short also was voted to the second-team All-Pro, and he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month twice. He finished with 36 solo tackles, 19 assisted tackles, 17 tackles for a loss (tied for #6), 11 sacks (tied for #7), three forced fumbles, and four passes defended. Short is getting better and better every season, and he will be among the best defensive players next season.

 

Aaron Donald:

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One of the best defensive players this season was Donald. In his second year, he was voted to his second Pro Bowl and to the first-team All-Pro. He was voted the 92nd best player in the NFL by his peers, but I have a feeling he will be getting a lot more respect next season. He finished with 43 solo tackles, 26 assisted tackles, 22 tackles for a loss (#3), 11 sacks (tied for #8), and one pass defended. It’s amazing to think that someone this talented is only in his second season. Donald will have a long, successful career, and he is my first choice among the defensive tackles.

 

Who was snubbed?

Linval Joseph:

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Joseph was one of the best run-stoppers this season in the middle for the Vikings. Even though he only played 12 games, he still finished with 42 solo tackles, 14 assisted tackles, 0.5 sack, and a forced fumble.

 

Defensive Ends

Michael Bennett:

The seventh-year defensive end out of Texas A&M was finally voted to his first Pro Bowl. Bennett had his best season of his career finishing with 33 solo tackles, 19 assisted tackles, 19 tackles for a loss (#4), ten sacks, and two forced fumbles.

 

Muhammad Wilkerson:wilkerson2-psd-web

Wilkerson was also voted to his first Pro Bowl. In his fifth season, he was voted to the second-team All-Pro for the second time, and was voted #74 best player in the league by the rest of the players. Wilkerson was able to get 39 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, 12 sacks (#4), two forced fumbles, and defended seven passes.

 

Chandler Jones:

Yet again, this will be Chandler Jones’ first Pro Bowl! Even though he missed one game this season, he still finished with 31 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, 12.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles (tied for #3).

 

Ezekiel Ansah:1268164

Much like the previous three, this will be Ansah’s first Pro Bowl! He seemed to thrive in the pass rush this season now that Suh wasn’t there. He finished the season with 39 solo tackles, eight assisted tackles, 14.5 sacks (#4), four forced fumbles (tied for #3), and defended one pass.

 

Khalil Mack:

Guess what?! This is Khalil Mack’s first Pro Bowl! He had a great season which led to him being selected the All-Pro team twice! One of our Geeks covered that event here. Mack was voted the 49th best player in the NFL, and it was well deserved. He finished the season with 59 solo tackles, 16 assisted tackles, 23 tackles for a loss (#2), 15 sacks (#2), two forced fumbles, and defended two passes. He is one of the most dominant players in the NFL, but he is only second in my rankings.

 

J.J. Watt:

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans

This will NOT be Watt’s first Pro Bowl. J.J. Watt is easily my number one pick out of these guys, and would be my number one pick in the entire league. When the rest of the players voted who was the best, he came in at #1. The small town Wisconsin boy was not always the star that we know today. He actually started his college career at Central Michigan as a tight end, which explains why he has had success on offense in the NFL. After just one season there, he transferred to the University of Wisconsin and became a defensive end. Because of his dedication and work ethic, he has evolved into the best player in the NFL. He was voted to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, fourth consecutive All-Pro team, and he was the sack leader in the NFL for the second time. This season he finished with 57 solo tackles, 19 assisted tackles, 29 tackles for a loss (#1), 17.5 sacks for a loss of 118 yards (#1), three forced fumbles, and eight defended passes. J.J. Watt is my first pick overall for my All-Pro Bowl team, and I believe he is the biggest difference maker in the league.

 

Who was snubbed?

Carlos Dunlap:

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Dunlap finished with 37 solo tackles, 18 assisted tackles, 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass defense.

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  1. Pingback: Pro Bowl Preview: Our All-Pro Bowl Team – Cleat Geeks

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