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INDIANAPOLIS – The Pro Bowl won’t be played this season, but the honor of being named to the game still holds merit.

And the Colts have some deserving candidates in 2020.

It’s a virtual Pro Bowl coming next month, with no game being played. Voting is currently taking place as usual. It combines one third fan vote, one third player vote and one third coach vote. Fan voting is ongoing and will close at the end of next week. Player and coach voting will take place next week.

The Colts have had multiple Pro Bowlers in 8 straight years.

How many should they have in 2020?

Should/Will Make It

-DeForest Buckner: The fact that Buckner has only made 1 Pro Bowl shows you how big of a farce Pro Bowl voting can be. Buckner is an unquestioned Pro Bowler in 2020. Buckner is the right there with Chris Jones (Chiefs) and Quinnen Williams (Jets) as the most disruptive defensive tackles in the AFC. Buckner has tormented opposing QBs this season with his consistent pressure and quarterback hits. It was nice to see him pad his sack stats a bit (4.5 on the season) last week, which is important to garner those national eyes.

-Kenny Moore: The lack of national recognition for Moore is a crime. He should have been a Pro Bowler last year and deserves it again in 2020. It’s a shame that just because Moore was an undrafted free agent from a small school he doesn’t garner the type of attention that a player of his caliber should. What Moore does in coverage, as a blitzer and as an open field tackler tells the story on why he’s one of the best nickel corners in the game.

-George Odum: Yes, the Colts deserve to have a special teams member in the Pro Bowl. And that would be safety George Odum. With 16 special teams tackles, Odum leads the NFL in that category this season (next up is Seattle’s Nick Bellore and Houston’s Keion Crossen with 12 tackles). There is no fanfare needed with this choice. When a guy is leading the league by that many tackles on special teams, he deserves the vote.

-Quenton Nelson: Even though this season has had some admitted ups and downs from Nelson, he still deserves to be a Pro Bowler. He’s one of the top three guards in the AFC, has still suited up in every game this season, while being part of one of the best pass protecting units in the NFL.

-Darius Leonard: It hasn’t been the insane Hall of Fame production of Darius Leonard we are used to. He’s at 2 sacks and 5 tackles for loss this season, with 1 turnover forced. Those are still notable numbers though and he should be a Pro Bowler. While they aren’t at the Pro Bowl ‘lock’ level that he was in his first two years, he still ranks right up there with any other AFC linebacker, despite missing 2 games.

 

Could (Likely Won’t) Make It

-Braden Smith: Let’s get this out of the way: I’d be stunned if Braden Smith made the Pro Bowl. That doesn’t mean he should be overlooked for it. Smith has been his typical steady and solid self in Year Three. He shouldn’t be taken for granted and deserves a nice pay day here soon. With how tackles get selected to the Pro Bowl, you often just see left tackles get chosen for the entire tackle group.

-Rodrigo Blankenship: Honestly, Hot Rod is only on this list because he currently leads the fan voting for AFC kickers (one third of the voting process). The best kicker in the AFC is Justin Tucker, always. Blankenship has had a very nice rookie season, but he’s 9th in field goal percentage in the AFC and and also 9th in extra point percentage. Good season, yes. Not Pro Bowl good. 

-Justin Houston: Sunday’s performance by Houston has him now in the conversation. He has 7.5 sacks on the season. The competition is still stiff though. Myles Garrett (Browns) and Stephon Tuitt (Steelers) are very deserving. You also have the likes of Emmanuel Ogbah (Dolphins) and Joey Bosa (Chargers). Maybe Houston’s recent massive game will have him on the minds of voters.

-Xavier Rhodes: Name recognition should help Rhodes as he’s had a really good season in joining the Colts. But the interception numbers of Miami’s Xavien Howard (8) and Patriots J.C. Jackson (5) has them in line. Denzel Ward (Browns) is probably worthy, too. But Rhodes needs to be in the mix to round out the cornerback group.

-Julian Blackmon: The rookie doesn’t have the name recognition to be a legit Pro Bowl choice, and the AFC has some great safeties (Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jessie Bates, Marcus Maye, Justin Simmons Kevin Byard). So Blackmon won’t be going to the Pro Bowl. But he is at least in some conversation. It’s been a remarkable rookie campaign for Blackmon—6 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble.