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INDIANAPOLIS – Unlike last year, the Colts will not have to wait for Pro Bowl alternates to be announced to see if they have representation in the game.
The Colts know for sure that there will be at least 2 Pro Bowlers for the 2018 season.
On Tuesday night, offensive guard Quenton Nelson and tight end Eric Ebron were named to the AFC Pro Bowl team.
But rookie linebacker Darius Leonard was the obvious name left off the Colts’ list. And it’s an absolute joke (see below).
Voting for the Pro Bowl is a combination of 1/3 fan vote, 1/3 player vote and 1/3 coach vote.
The 2019 Pro Bowl will take place on Jan. 27, 2019 in Orlando.
Here’s a closer look at the Colts’ 2 Pro Bowlers and guys were named alternates on Tuesday night:
- Eric Ebron: Travis Kelce and Ebron are the 2 AFC tight ends. Normally, Rob Gronkowski would be the obvious lock at tight end from the AFC. But injuries have limited Gronk to just 11 games this season and he only has 3 touchdowns on the year. Ebron’s 12 touchdown receptions tops any other tight end in the league. The 25-year-old tight end definitely deserved the Pro Bowl nod in 2018.
- Quenton Nelson: Part of being a Pro Bowler is having enough hype around your name. Nelson garnered that thanks to being a rare guard who has weekly highlights going viral. On the field, Nelson hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been good enough to earn one of the 3 AFC Pro Bowl guard nods in 2018. Nelson is the NFL’s first rookie offensive lineman to be named a Pro Bowler since Zack Martin in 2014.
Colts Pro Bowl Alternates
- Darius Leonard: This is a joke. Period. Leonard’s stat line this season looks like this: 146 tackles, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 1 interception. Since 1993 (when forced fumbles became a stat), no NFL player has ever achieved at least those numbers in a season. No one. And Leonard has done it in 13 games played. It’s a crime that Leonard did not receive a Pro Bowl nod. Yes, Pro Bowl voting has made me look sideways at it before, but I don’t understand at all how fans, players and coaches didn’t see Leonard’s impact in 2018 being worthy of a selection.
- Denico Autry: If Autry had this recent month stretch back in September or October, he would have been a Pro Bowler. Autry has 7.0 sacks in the last 5 games. But he wasn’t helped by a lack of name recognition and not having all those sacks numbers earlier in the season. Autry still could/should be a realistic Pro Bowl alternate for the first time in his career.
- Andrew Luck: It’s crazy to have Luck in this category just a couple weeks after he was a legit candidate to be on an MVP ballot. But even in early December, Luck was 8th among quarterbacks in fan voting, 5th for AFC QBs. Look at the AFC QBs voted in: Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers are deserving with their 2018 seasons, and Tom Brady is a lock from fan voting/name recognition when the Patriots are having another playoff season. That trio doesn’t even include Ben Roethlisberger, who is 2nd in the league in passing yards, or Deshaun Watson currently quarterbacking a team that has won 9 of 10 games. For Luck to be chosen this season, he is going to have to make the game via the alternate route. It’s just a loaded position group this season.
- Ryan Kelly: I would not be surprised at all if the Colts ended up with 2 offensive linemen in the Pro Bowl. A month ago, you would have thought Ryan Kelly to be getting a closer look at center. But Kelly missing three weeks late in the season didn’t help his cause at all. The extra attention to the Colts offensive line’s drastic improvement in 2018 is a major reason why Kelly is on this list. He also has seen his own game make a significant jump in 2018, becoming a Pro Bowl candidate in his third NFL season. Kelly is a very deserving alternate as the center for one of the NFL’s better offensive lines.
- T.Y. Hilton: Hilton has been to the last 4 Pro Bowls, benefiting from the alternate route a couple of times. He will need to use that route again this season to be a Pro Bowler. Hilton has more than a 1,000 yards and is on pace to set a career-high in touchdowns, despite missing two games this season. For Hilton to go to a 5th straight Pro Bowl, the alternate route has to be his way in, with the likes of Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Antonio Brown ahead of him
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