Today, the NFL released the rosters for the January 25th Pro Bowl in Glendale, AZ. The Kansas City Chiefs will be represented by 4 players: Jamaal Charles (4th Pro Bowl), Tamba Hali (4th), Justin Houston (3rd), and Dontari Poe (2nd). While all four are much-deserving (especially Charles, who is 2nd in the league in total touchdowns with 14 and Houston, who leads the NFL in sacks with 18), there are certainly other deserving players on KC’s roster. Below, I make a case for a few Chiefs who were left out:
FB Anthony Sherman: He doesn’t rack up any flashy stats (he only has 14 career rush yards and a meager 71 receiving yards this season), but he has caught 4 first downs and 1 touchdown while playing one of the most important positions for the Chiefs – Jamaal Charles’ main blocker. Sherman is well-regarded as one of the league’s best I-formation blockers in only his third season in the NFL. John Kuhn and Marcel Reece were picked for the Pro Bowl, which is Reece’s third straight and Kuhn’s second overall, which might have played a role in Sherman not being selected.
CB Sean Smith: Smith deserves a lot of credit for the Chiefs’ surprisingly solid secondary this season. Like Sherman, he does not have many flashy stats (only 1 interception this season), but is 7th on the team with 46 tackles. His biggest claim for the Pro Bowl is in his Passes Defensed – he currently ranks 3rd in the NFL with 18 passes broken up. Smith is probably a huge reason the Chiefs have only given up 22 passing plays of 25 yards or more, which is 9th fewest in the NFL.
C Rodney Hudson: In his 4th season, Hudson has become the Chiefs most dependable offensive lineman. The Chiefs rank #4 in the NFL with 31 first downs and #5 with 14 rushes of 10+ yards when rushing through the center of the offensive line and have only allowed 9 negative rushes through the center, which is better than half of the NFL. Unfortunately, the Chiefs have allowed the 8th most sacks in the NFL and the OL has generally played awful so Hudson’s play is often overshadowed by the pocket collapsing and Alex Smith scrambling.
TE Travis Kelce: After missing basically all of last season, Kelce started this season with a bang. He currently has 60 catches for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns. He ranks #6 in receiving yards, #8 in total receptions, and #11 in touchdowns by NFL tight ends. Kelce also has the fifth most first downs caught by a TE with 41. The 4 Pro Bowl tight ends are Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olson and Julius Thomas. Gronk, Graham and Olson are having great years but Kelce currently has more catches, yards, yards per game, and first downs than Julius Thomas. If Kelce can solve his fumbling issues and continue to produce as he is this season, he should be a lock to make the Pro Bowl in the coming years.
Kudos to Charles, Hali, Houston and Poe and good luck to the Chiefs this weekend!
*note: after writing this post, I saw Arrowhead Pride wrote a similar post about Sherman and Smith as Pro Bowl snubs. Rather than provide a re-hash of what they wrote, I left my post as it is since I discuss different stats than they do. You can read their analysis here.