The midpoint of the adventurous 2020 season is fast approaching, and so too is award season.
The Pro Bowl might not be as prestigious as it used to be after transitioning to a (partial) fan vote, but getting a nod to play in the NFL’s all star game is still a worthy achievement. There will not be an actual Pro Bowl game this season due to COVID-19, but the roster will still be voted upon and, honestly, that’s all people ever cared about anyway.
Last year, Kenny Golladay and Darius Slay were voted into the Pro Bowl, but we will likely see new faces represent the Lions this year, if at all. Slay is obviously in Philadelphia now, while Golladay will likely miss time with injuries. Matching his 1190 yard, 11 touchdown season could prove difficult, especially in a conference with plenty of talented receivers.
The Lions are sitting at 3-4 with minimal optimism in the fanbase, but despite the woes, there have still been some Pro Bowl-worthy performances.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Do the Lions have any Pro Bowlers so far?
My answer: I believe they do, but given that the Pro Bowl is very much a popularity contest, a mediocre season from the Lions as a whole could make earning a spot difficult.
Jack Fox has been outstanding as a punter, and while his numerous game balls reflect on the struggles elsewhere on the team, his play is deserving of a Pro Bowl nod. He is leading the league in both total average and net average, which are two important stats to win over mindless voters. Working against him is the popularity of Michael Dickson and Johnny Hekker, as well as last year’s NFC Pro Bowler Tress Way. Those are three names that Fox will have to beat out to claim the lone NFC punter spot.
Frank Ragnow is in a similar situation with just two centers making the NFC team, but he has been among the best in the league since being transitioning to center full time. Packers center Corey Linsley is his biggest competition, currently PFF’s top rated center in the league that happens to be on a team often in the spotlight. Ragnow is PFF’s second ranked center, so his performance is not far behind, but given that offensive linemen have very few stats, people might default to former Pro Bowlers Jason Kelce or Alex Mack.
The Lions could have some dark horse Pro Bowlers, but they would need a superb second half. Romeo Okwara leads the team in sacks, and has been fantastic in recent weeks, but he has never performed at this level for a full season. Jamie Collins Sr. is one of the best defenders on the team, but he lacks the big plays to earn casual votes. Jonah Jackson could be on the All-Rookie team, but a Pro Bowl nod is a bit out of his reach. Matthew Stafford has not played at a Pro Bowl level, but he has the talent to rebound and go on a tear, and who knows how the rest of the season could go—a playoff berth would reflect well on him.
Overall, I think the Lions have two Pro Bowlers, and while center and punter aren’t sexy positions, Ragnow and Fox are still crucial players for the Detroit Lions.