In what is the biggest surprise in recent Pro Bowl voting, Raven safety Eric Weddle did not make the Pro Bowl. The star safety is the second alternate, per Luke Jones of WNST.
Dennis Pitta, Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, and Brandon Williams were all named as second alternates. #Ravens— Luke Jones (@BaltimoreLuke) December 21, 2016
Weddle was graded by Pro Football Focus (PFF) as the top safety in the NFL over the entirety 2016 season as of December 15.
Top-graded safeties in the NFLhttps://t.co/SpPvzdWMX9 pic.twitter.com/unluMWtGGe— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 15, 2016
After Week 9, PFF put Weddle on their All-Pro team, and put his name at the forefront of the discussion for top overall defender in the first half of the 2016 season.
Eric Weddle and Brandon Graham headline PFF's Midseason All-Pro Team:https://t.co/vhaReXxb2C pic.twitter.com/czv7WTTBWd— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 10, 2016
Despite the accolades, Weddle finds himself on the outside looking in of the Pro Bowl. Kansas City safety Eric Berry, who came in at sixth on PFF’s list of top safeties on December 15, and New England’s Devin McCourty, who did not make the top seven of PFF’s lists are the starters for the AFC. Oakland’s Reggie Nelson, who is not on PFF’s list either, is the backup.
The numbers put out by PFF don’t lie, Weddle has been incredible for the Ravens this season. Weddle has even provided a huge boost for the Ravens in leadership, something that cannot be measured by numbers. Weddle has made play after play for the Ravens this season, cleaning up the back end of the Ravens secondary, and helping it return to prominence in the 2016 season. Weddle has 81 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, four interceptions, and 11 passes defended. Those are Pro Bowl numbers.
Being that Pro Bowl selection is based on a fan vote, it sure didn’t help that Weddle’s worst moment came with the whole NFL world watching. Weddle’s busted coverage against Chris Hogan when facing the Patriots on Monday Night Football, which led to an 80-yard touchdown, did not bring attention to the great season Weddle has been having. That one missed play may have swayed votes away from Weddle, as so many potential voters watched it live.
Jones also listed Terrell Suggs and Brandon Williams as players who will be second alternates. Suggs and Williams are also both huge snubs. Suggs has recorded eight sacks on the year, as well as three forced fumbles. Suggs is in the midst of a spectacular comeback following missing most of the 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon. Williams has 46 combined tackles, one sack, one blocked kick, one pass defended, and two stuffs. Williams is producing all over the stat sheet, but also finds himself on the outside looking in on the Pro Bowl.
Ronnie Stanley is yet another Raven who was snubbed. Stanley has not allowed a sack, let alone a QB hit, since Week 9 against the Steelers. Keep in mind, this is a rookie. Stanley has played at an elite level since Week 9, and at least should have received recognition as an alternate.
But the biggest snub outside of Weddle is Sam Koch. All of Koch’s number are up from last season, a season in which he made the Pro Bowl. Koch is averaging just 0.4 less yards per punt than last season (down from 46.7 to 46.3) and 32 punts downed inside the 20 (43.8% of his punts, which is up from last year). In early December, PFF had Koch ranked as a top five punter, in addition to having the second best game a punter has had all season.
Ravens have 5 players in the top-5 of @PFF's position rankings:— Garrett Downing (@gdowning14) December 2, 2016
S Eric Weddle
FB Kyle Juszczyk
G Marshal Yanda
K Justin Tucker
P Sam Koch
Ravens punter Sam Koch had the second highest graded game by a punter (next to Raiders Marquette King's game in Baltimore) this year— Gordon McGuinness (@PFF_Gordon) November 7, 2016
Eric Weddle will prove to be the most notable, and most atrocious Pro Bowl snub in the league, but he is far from the only snub in Baltimore.