Let me be the first to say that the Jets did not have many candidates on their roster worth mentioning in the same sentence as the Pro Bowl. On offense I can’t even go homer and offer C Nick Mangold. He was good, but not the dominant Mangold I’ve come to expect. I suspect having rookies in G Brian Winters and QB Geno Smith that he had to babysit contributed to Mangold’s dip in dominance. Nick Folk could’ve gone as a kicker, but the Kickers selected had comparably good years. That leaves us with DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Wilkshake to those in the know) to defend his head scratching snubbing. Wilkerson was a force on the Defensive Line that I haven’t seen since the days of Kris Jenkins. Wilkerson and his 10.5 was the best player on the Dline that has DROY candidate Sheldon Richardon, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, and former 2012 1st round pick Quinton Coples. At just 24, he is just scratching the surface of his talent.
This year’s Pro Bowl selections for DE based on votes submitted by fans, coaches, and players are:
Greg Hardy, Panthers
Cameron Jordan, Saints
Robert Quinn, Rams
Cameron Wake, Dolphins
J.J. Watt, Texans
Mario Williams, Bills
The top 3 on the list in Greg hardy, Cam Jordan, and Robert Quinn is difficult to make a case against. However, you can make a case that Wilkerson is more deserving than Cameron Wake, J.J. Watt, or Mario Williams. There was a 5-6 game stretch where Wilkerson looked the best defensive player in the league and dominated anyone unlucky enough to be put in front of him consistently. While Cameron Wake, J.J. Watt, or Mario Williams and productive years, Wilkerson dominated in a way they didn’t.
Although I do understand that similar to the NBA Allstar game, the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest, I will agree with Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan who said “I’d be shocked if he isn’t on that (Pro Bowl) list. If Mo doesn’t make it, I don’t get it. It’s personal. Somebody doesn’t like Mo Wilkerson for some reason. You just see his play improving. The sky is the limit for him, I think, if he keeps with the same work ethic that he’s shown.”
I won’t spend too much time worrying about the Wilkerson Pro Bowl snubbing as the team recognized him as the their MVP and he is about to be hit the jackpot with a new deal this offseason. Maybe next year voters will show him love by voting him in so he can snub the Pro Bowl invitation since hopefully he will be preparing for a game… ,-)