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2019 NFL Pro Bowl: Fullback James Develin is the Patriots’ biggest snub

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The fullback should have received the honor.

Minnesota Vikings v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Yesterday, the NFL announced its 2019 Pro Bowl rosters and as expected the selections led to quite the discussion on and off social media. From the New England Patriots’ perspective, the main topics are the inclusion of quarterback Tom Brady — the Hall of Famer is having a down year compared to his own lofty standards but still has a case as one of the AFC’s top three passers — and the exclusion of a handful of seemingly worthy candidates.

None of the Patriots’ snubs is bigger than fullback James Develin, though. There are two reasons for that: his own play during the season and the man who took the lone fullback spot on the AFC’s Pro Bowl team, the Kansas City ChiefsAnthony Sherman. Let’s start by taking a look at Sherman’s numbers to potentially find a reason why he has been voted to his first ever all-star game:

Anthony Sherman 2018 statistics

Player Games Playing Time Touches Yards Touchdowns
Player Games Playing Time Touches Yards Touchdowns
Anthony Sherman 14 9.6% 7 79 1

Playing only 89 total snaps during the first 14 games of the regular season and touching the football irregularly, the 30-year old is a rotational and package-specific player in the Chiefs’ high-octane offense — one that sees most of his playing time on special teams (which is, however, irrelevant for Pro Bowl purposes). And even though Sherman is as solid as a lead blocker, his overall contributions to the offense are comparatively limited.

James Develin, on the other hand, plays as big a role within the Patriots’ offense as any other fullback in the NFL:

James Develin 2018 statistics

Player Games Playing Time Touches Yards Touchdowns
Player Games Playing Time Touches Yards Touchdowns
James Develin 14 34.4% 17 67 4

While Sherman has Develin beat when it comes to yards gained, New England’s fullback plays a lot more snaps than the Chiefs’ and finds the end zone more often — all while being no worse as a lead blocker. And even though the Patriots offense is less spectacular and successful than Kansas City’s, the team’s running game actually plays a bigger role in the overall composition of the unit as a whole.

So how come Sherman gets the nod over Develin? The answer might be a simple one: the Chiefs offense is the best in football and Sherman a part of it. That does not mean he is having a bad year; the 30-year old certainly is among the league’s better players at his position. However, when it comes to the pinnacle of fullback play in this era of the NFL it does not get much better than James Develin — and 2018 is no exception.

What do you think, is Develin the Patriots’ biggest Pro Bowl snub? Or is it a player like center David Andrews, guard Shaq Mason, or defensive edge Trey Flowers?

Poll

Who is the Patriots’ biggest Pro Bowl snub?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    OC David Andrews
    (8 votes)
  • 66%
    FB James Develin
    (267 votes)
  • 16%
    DE Trey Flowers
    (67 votes)
  • 13%
    OG Shaq Mason
    (55 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (name in comments)
    (2 votes)
399 votes total Vote Now

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Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Tuesday, December 18, 2018