When the NFL released the Pro Bowl roster for 2018, expecting to see all of the San Francisco 49ers to make the roster was nothing more than blind optimism. While every player and playmaker deemed a game changer can’t make the NFL’s version of an all-star game, the 49ers had some players putting together a decent season.
So who made it? Kyle Juszczyk. That’s it. George Kittle is slotted in as a reserve, something infuriating at first, but after you think about Zach Ertz in the mix, it makes a bit more sense if you try to be objective about it.
But there are some names we can get angry about. Let’s wallow in despair on the snubs.
The obvious name is a current alternate, but they should be at the very least a reserve like Kittle, and that’s DeForest Buckner. Why the defensive tackle got slotted in as an alternate we may never know. Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) getting the starting nod is understandable, he’s having a great season with the Los Angeles Rams. But Akiem Hicks (Chicago Bears) and Geno Atkins (Cincinnati Bengals) is a bit strange. Per Pro Football Reference, Buckner is sitting on 11 sacks for the season while Hicks and Atkins have six and 10 sacks respectively. Also, Buckner shares the same number of solo tackles with Hicks (38) and a whopping 17 more than Atkins’ 21. The one thing Buckner is beat at is the forced fumble category where he shares a goose egg with Atkins while Hicks has three. Stats do lie though, tape doesn’t. So go put on a DeForest Buckner tape (I recommend his recent pilgrimage in Seattle) and tell me how he gets left out. So whatever, I guess.
Robbie Gould also stands as an absolute snub. Aldrick Rosas was selected as the kicker. A decent choice. Just one problem: While he and Gould share a single missed field goal on the season, Gould has him beat on total field goals made by one. Rosas has him beat by having one missed one extra point vs. Gould’s one miss and one botched attempt. Apparently the NFL finds extra points that important in the scheme of things.
Sort of snubs
Joe Staley has been punching tickets to the Pro Bowl his whole career, but he’s not going this year. Despite starting every single game and being ranked eighth on Pro Football Focus’ Top-25 offensive linemen, Staley is sitting out in favor of tackles Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys); Terron Armstead (New Orleans Saints) Trent Williams, (Washington). The three names are all respectable talents who have played lights out this year. Armstead in particular is ranked No. 1 on that aforementioned offensive lineman list and has been a brick wall to defensive lines. Smith and Williams both have turned in some very, very good performances as well. Williams makes me wonder how the voting went, because there’s others (besides Staley) that I felt played better than he did. When it gets down to it, it seems more like an unfortunate coin flip that Staley lost.
What bothers me is that Staley isn’t even listed as an alternate—now that stings. Staley is in the twilight of his career and the players listed above are all understandable superiors, but to even keep Staley off the alternates list is a bit baffling.
Richard Sherman also comes to mind here on a sort of snub. He’s played very well coming back from his Achilles injury, however he’s also been injured and kept out of some games. Given that he’s had to be sidelined a couple times this year, it’s understandable how he could have been kept off the roster. Being out a game or two isn’t an absolute check mark, but Sherman also hasn’t been able to notch any turnovers for 2018, which hurts his stock. Plus, that cornerback roster of Kyle Fuller (Chicago Bears), Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals), Darius Slay (Detroit Lions), and Byron Jones (Dallas Cowboys) is full of players with impressive 2018 seasons.
Itty bitty snubs
A lot of you were wondering if Matt Breida would make the Pro Bowl given the season he’s had. Um, no. Breida maybe at-best could be an alternate, but when you have Ezekiel Elliot (Cowboys), Todd Gurley (Rams), and Saquon Barkley (Giants)as your running back depth, it makes sense why Breida doesn’t make the squad. Those three have been go-to guys for everything this year. It would have been nice—and deserving— to see Breida as an alternate, but understandable he’s not mentioned.
Mike McGlinchey put together a solid rookie campaign and has been one of the best rookie offensive linemen this year. Just because he’s exceeding expectations his rookie season doesn’t mean he belongs on the Pro Bowl roster. Like Breida, listing him as an alternate would be nice, but if Joe Staley isn’t making that list, McGlinchey has an even longer hill to climb making it.
Finally, Jimmy Garoppolo. Because the world always needs Jimmy G. Even if he’s playing only in our hearts this year.