Favorites For The 2018 NFL Pro-Bowl
There’s always special sentiment among professional athletes in the four major American sports leagues (the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB), in regards to the first time they’re selected to play in their respective league’s All-Star game.
So, with the voting officially underway for the NFL Pro Bowl for 2018, we wanted to take a look at the top 10 players who are in line to earn their first Pro Bowl selection of their careers:
10. Kareem Hunt, Running Back - Kansas City Chiefs -- Rookie Kareem Hunt came out of the gates of the 2017 NFL season at a blistering pace, running for 100+ yards in four of his first five games, accumulating 774 total yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in that span. He's slowed down considerably as the season has progressed but he's still the focal point for which opposing defenses look to attack the Chiefs.
9. Kevin Byard, Safety - Tennessee Titans -- The Tennessee Titans thought so highly of Kevin Byard, their third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, that they passed on taking any of the top safety prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft. Byard has paid in them in kind for this decision. Entering Week 13 of the NFL season, Byard leads the league with six interceptions this season, and he's a major reason the Titans are currently sitting atop the AFC South.
8. Darius Slay, Cornerback - Detroit Lions -- Darius "Big Play" Slay was always considered to be one of the up-and-coming cornerbacks in the NFL, but this is the year he's made that break into elite status. Not only is he tied for the league-lead in interceptions by a cornerback (four), but he's also broken up the fourth-most passes in the NFL over the last four seasons.
7. Zach Ertz, Tight End - Philadelphia Eagles -- Enjoying a monster season alongside the breakout season by his quarterback, Zach Ertz has laid claim to the title of "best tight end in the NFC," finally fulfilling all the promise everyone saw in him. Ertz is second in NFL touchdown catches by tight ends (seven) and third in the league in receptions (55) by anyone at his position.
6. Alvin Kamara, Running Back - New Orleans Saints -- The double-trouble threat that rookie Alvin Kamara brings, in terms of running and catching the football, has provided the New Orleans Saints with an offensive weapon that defenses simply haven't been able to solve. Kamara leads the NFL in total yards from scrimmage in Week 6 and is averaging a staggering 7.1 yards per carry. He might have overtaken Kareem Hunt as the favorite for offensive rookie of the year.
5. Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver - Los Angeles Chargers -- Seeing Keenan Allen healthy for the first time since midway through the 2015 season has been a great story, especially considering how fantastically he's played this year. Entering Week 13, Allen is 7th in the NFL for total receptions (67), 5th in receiving yards (927), and third in the NFL among all wide receivers in yards after the catch (346).
4. Demarcus Lawrence, Defensive End - Dallas Cowboys -- The Dallas Cowboys finally saw Demarcus Lawrence put it all together, in terms of staying healthy (he's played in 12 of 13 games this year), and dominate opposing defenses with his raw pass rushing skills. Lawrence leads the NFL with 13.5 sacks entering the weekend of Week 13, and has recorded a sack in nine of those 12 games.
3. Adam Thielen, Wide Receiver - Minnesota Vikings -- We should have seen this coming when Adam Thielen had a 12-catch, 202-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 16 of the 2016 NFL season. But we didn't, so the under-the-radar receiver has picked up this season where he left off last year. Theielen is 4th in the NFL in receptions (70), third in the NFL in receiving yards (1,005), and 5th in the NFL in receptions going for a first down (46) entering Week 13.
2. Jalen Ramsey, Cornerback - Jacksonville Jaguars -- The young Jacksonville Jaguars defense may be one of the scariest units we've seen in recent memory, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a big reason for that. The uber-athletic and brash cornerback has shut down some of the game's best receivers, like Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins, while recording 14 pass breakups and two interceptions.
1. Carson Wentz, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles -- Carson Wentz isn't just having a breakout year; he's having an MVP-caliber year. Entering Week 13, Wentz leads the NFL in touchdown passes (28), and is on pace to become the third quarterback in NFL history to lead the NFL in touchdown passes in his second year of the league. More importantly, he's led his Philadelphia Eagles to an NFC-best 11-1 record so far.