Seven Green Bay Packers were selected to the 2020 Pro Bowl. They tied with the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens with the most selections. The only problem? They should have been the clear leaders with eight or nine.
Five of the seven players are on offense, which makes sense. The Packers lead the NFC in total points, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and red zone touchdown percentage. More about red zone touchdowns later.
Most of the picks were not surprising. All seven have played outstanding this year. The Packers usually have a couple of snubs every year, including Za’Darius Smith and Aaron Jones last year, when players were first announced. Let’s quickly breakdown the selected players. It would be hard to disagree with any of the choices.
Packers Pro Bowl Selections
Aaron Rodgers is having an MVP-caliber season. He is the first quarterback to have three seasons with at least 40 touchdowns, which includes this year. He currently has 3,828 yards, 40 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions through 14 games. His current competition for MVP is Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has 4,462 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 5 picks. Rodgers may be behind in yards, but he is ahead in touchdowns and has less interceptions. Rodgers also leads the NFL in touchdowns, and this is Rodgers’ ninth Pro Bowl selection.
Aaron Jones had been lights out once again this year. A minor injury kept the running back out a few games, but he will be a very expensive free agent going into next year. Jones has 968 rushing yards this season, with 10 touchdowns (eight rushing; two receiving), and it doesn’t hurt that he has no lost fumbles on the season. He will easily end the year with over 1,000 yards and could have at least 15 total touchdowns.
Davante Adams, in my opinion, is the best wide receiver in the league. He is seventh in total yards (1,186), fourth in receptions (98), and second in touchdowns (14). He has also missed a couple of games and could still easily end the season with 20 touchdowns and 1,500 yards. Adams has been selected to the last four Pro Bowls.
David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and the entire Packers offensive line could have made the Pro Bowl. Bakhtiari is already earning his new four-year, $92 million contract and one of the best in the business. There is a good reason Green Bay has allowed the fourth fewest sacks. Jenkins is only in his second year, but the Packers should already be saving money to re-sign him. He can play any position on the line, and is currently the center due to Corey Linsley’s injury. The second-year player could end up one of general manager’s Brian Gutekunst’s best draft picks.
Linsley is scheduled to return soon, and probably should have been selected to the Pro Bowl as well. His injury and lack of household name are probably the only reasons he wasn’t. Sadly, the Pro Bowl is very much a popularity contest. There are a lot of good players who put in the work every week and aren’t recognized nationally. Bakhtiari and other teammates went to bat for Linsely regarding the Pro Bowl, and he is a good candidate for a Pro Bowl alternate.
Za’Darius Smith has been nothing but outstanding as a Packer. He has already reached two contract incentives this year. Smith got $250,000 for making the Pro Bowl, and has also earned another $500,000 for recording double-digit sacks. Smith currently has 11.5 total sacks, might end the season with 15 or more, and received the most fan votes for NFC outside linebackers.
And if you want to know how good Jaire Alexander is, just watch a Packers game. They never mention his name. Do you know why? Because he is so good at guarding his receivers, they never mention their names either. He was given PFF’s second highest grade for cornerbacks in 2020 at 85.2. Only Xavien Howard (Miami Dolphins) was higher 87.3. At only 23, he shares honors with Eddie Lacy in 2013 as the youngest Packer to be voted in.
Packers Pro Bowl Snubs
There is one major snub on this year’s Pro Bowl roster for the Packers besides Linsley. Only two tight ends from each conference are selected each year, and Robert Tonyan wasn’t one of them.
Tonyan has had a breakout season in 2020, with 551 yards, 49 receptions and 10 touchdowns. If you want to compare by stats alone, Tonyan and Engram aren’t even close. Engram does have more yards, but only 21 more. Engram does have more receptions at 54, but only five more. Now let’s look at touchdowns. Engram has one. Yes, one. Tonyan has ten. That’s a huge difference.
When being targeted, Tonyan’s quarterback rating is through the roof at 148.8. Engram’s is only 60.4, and he also has six drops when being targeted compared to Tonyan’s zero.
Hockenson I can’t argue with. He has 60 receptions, 675 yards and six touchdowns. He is a great player, and one a lot of Green Bay fans were eyeing up in the 2019 draft. Little did they know “Big Bob” Tonyan was patiently waiting for Jimmy Graham to leave. You know who is also a better blocker? That would be Tonyan.
Tonyan has also been amazing in the red zone. I told you we would get back to that. Tonyan is 9-for-9 in the red zone in targets and completions. Six of his ten touchdowns have come in the red zone. Is it too late to call him “Big Bob Red Zone”? Those are ridiculous numbers.
Again, it comes down to market size and popularity as a factor. Outside of fantasy football or Packers fans, Engram is more of a household NFL name. If Tonyan continues to improve or keep pace, that will obviously change. It just really is a head-scratcher that Engram would be selected with one touchdown on the season.
Pro Bowl selections are great, but not having to be at the Pro Bowl is more ideal for the Packers. That would mean they are playing in the Super Bowl, and I’m sure players like Linsley and Tonyan would much rather have a ring than a Pro Bowl selection.