The rosters for the NFL's first-ever Pro Bowl Games were announced Wednesday, and there were several glaring omissions.
Running Back: Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
This one was especially surprising, given how impressive an all-around player McCaffrey is.
His PFF rushing grade ranks 11th in the conference among all players with 100 or more carries, with the NFC selections (Tony Pollard, Miles Sanders and Saquon Barkley) all ranking ahead of him, but his work as a receiver should surely have vaulted him higher.
Through 15 weeks, McCaffrey has the best PFF receiving grade of any player in the NFL (92.5); he's reeled in 74 receptions for 623 yards and four touchdowns, forcing 17 missed tackles in the process.
Wide Receiver: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
With only four receivers making each roster, multiple players would always be disappointed here. Still, you can make the case that St. Brown should have made the squad (just) ahead of Washington's Terry McLaurin.
St. Brown’s 90.5 receiving grade ranks fourth among all wide receivers in the NFL, with 57 of his 89 receptions resulting in a first down or touchdown.
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||Terry McLaurin|
|90.5||PFF receiving grade||83.2|
|57||First downs and touchdowns||48|
|2.54||Yards per route run||2.03|
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams might have struggled this year, but Wagner sure hasn’t. His 90.5 grade is the best of any linebacker in football right now, and it’s hard to see how he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl Games roster.
He has missed three tackles all season long and allowed 29 receptions, none of which have resulted in a touchdown. On top of that, he has an interception and three pass breakups in coverage and has racked up five sacks, a hit and nine hurries from 96 pass-rushing snaps.
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
The cornerback position has more than enough contenders for the Pro Bowl Games roster, but there are two in the conference who will feel that they have played well enough to have deserved a spot.
The first of those is Peterson, who is on track for his highest-graded season since 2018. His 83.1 coverage grade ranks third among all cornerbacks through Week 15. He has three interceptions and nine pass breakups entering Week 16.
Cornerback: Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers
The stingiest cornerback in football in 2022, Horn is another player who can feel aggrieved to have not made the squad this year. From 426 snaps in coverage, Horn has allowed 23 receptions for 216 yards, both the fewest in the NFL. He has allowed zero touchdowns in coverage and an NFL-low 39.4 passer rating when targeted.
Offensive Tackle: Kolton Miller, Las Vegas Raiders
Miller has developed into one of the top pass-blockers in the NFL after a rough rookie season, producing a pass-blocking grade of 80.0 or higher in each of the past three campaigns.
This year, he has allowed just three sacks, three hits and 22 hurries from 488 pass-blocking snaps. Compare that to Orlando Brown Jr., who made the squad ahead of him despite giving up four sacks, seven hits and 32 hurries from 616 pass-blocking snaps, and Miller clearly has a case to be in the squad.
|Kolton Miller||Orlando Brown Jr.|
Offensive Guard: Michael Onwenu, New England Patriots
Quenton Nelson’s first three seasons in the NFL were incredible, but Onwenu has been the more productive player on a per-snap basis — both as a run-blocker and a pass-blocker — this year.
The Patriots guard has produced the sixth-best PFF run-blocking grade (75.6) and the third-best pass-blocking grade (85.0) at the position this season. He's allowed zero sacks, one hit and seven hurries from 514 pass-blocking snaps.
Defensive Interior: Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
Even in his 12th season, Heyward remains one of the very best interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Through the first 15 weeks, he has the third-best overall grade at the position in the AFC (89.9), trailing only Kansas City's Chris Jones and New York's Quinnen Williams.
This is only a minor snub, however. While he has a higher overall grade than Jeffery Simmons, Simmons does have a higher pass-rushing grade.
Linebacker: Germaine Pratt, Cincinnati Bengals
Roquan Smith has impressed since he arrived in Baltimore, but he wasn’t playing particularly well in Chicago before the move and has only been in the AFC since the trade deadline.
Pratt has impressed all season long for the Cincinnati Bengals. His 81.6 overall grade is the highest of any linebacker in the AFC, while his 90.3 coverage grade — mainly due to a pair of interceptions and pass breakups — is the highest in the entire NFL.
Cornerback: Stephon Gilmore, Indianapolis Colts
Gilmore has produced a PFF coverage grade of 79.8 this season, fifth at the position in the AFC and well above Howard, who ranks 50th at 54.1.
Across 78 targets in coverage, Gilmore has allowed 48 receptions, including two touchdowns, but has recorded two interceptions and eight pass breakups.