Three weeks ago, the public voting for the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl opened: until December 13, fans can cast their votes online for their favorite players to be sent to the league’s all-star game in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Naturally, each teams’ fanbase will primarily vote for players from the team it is supporting. But when it comes to the New England Patriots, which players are actually worthy of consideration?
Let’s take a look at those who deserve to be named to the Pro Bowl.
FB James Develin
Develin’s stats are not the only reason why he should make the Pro Bowl: the 30-year old has registered 14 touches this season for 47 total yards and three touchdowns and ranks second, fifth, and first at his position in the respective categories. So why else should he make the all-star game as one of two fullbacks? Because of his outstanding work in the Patriots’ running game: Develin is arguably the NFL’s best lead blocker.
OG Shaq Mason
The Patriots and Mason agreed to a five-year, $45.0 million contract extension in August, and the 25-year old has lived up to the deal and the billing as one of the league’s best interior offensive linemen so far this season. Ranked as Pro Football Focus’ number one guard in the NFL, he is his usual excellent self as a run blocker and also steady in pass protection. All in all, Mason is as reliable an offensive lineman as there is.
DE Trey Flowers
One of the NFL’s under-the-radar players, Flowers is in the middle of a very good season. While his sack number through 12 games — he is tied for the team lead with 4.5 quarterback takedowns — is rather pedestrian, the 25-year old is still one of the league’s best pass rushers when it comes to impacting plays. He has 12 hits and 23 additional hurries on his résumé this season and also is terrific versus the run and when it comes to setting a hard edge.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Other than his week 10 game against the Tennessee Titans, Gilmore has been lights-out this season. The second-year Patriot is one of the NFL’s true shutdown cornerbacks week in and week out and has allowed just 41.8% of passes thrown his way to be completed for 321 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. While passer rating is far from a perfect statistic to evaluate players, it still somewhat reflects effectiveness — and Gilmore has been just that this year: he is surrendering a rating of just 59.4. For comparison, the NFL’s lowest-rated qualifying passer (the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen) has a 66.3 rating.
As can be seen, some big names are not on this list as it stands right now — and none is bigger than Tom Brady. The Patriots’ quarterback is leading one of the NFL’s best offenses but has been comparatively mediocre so far this season, at least when compared to his own lofty standards. He is still among the best passers in the league, but when it comes to the Pro Bowl vote others should probably get preferential treatment at this point in time.
Other players just missing the cut include running back James White, offensive linemen Joe Thuney and David Andrews, and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy. All four are in the middle of outstanding seasons but get lost in the numbers game at their respective positions. Are there any other Patriots players you think are deserving of a spot in the Pro Bowl? Let us know in the comments.