The NFL announced the rosters for this year’s Pro Bowl. The Patriots had three players make the cut. As voted on by fans, this is pretty good! New England was honored to announce that Stephon Gilmore, Matthew Slater, and Jake Bailey made the Pro Bowl. It’s a match made in heaven for Slater and Bailey, they complement each other’s position so perfectly. Gilmore, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, was a shoo-in for a cornerback slot.
This is Gilmore’s 3rd straight trip to the Pro Bowl, 4th overall. Last year, he led the league in both interceptions (6) and passes defended (20). This year, Gilmore missed some time with a knee injury and started 11 games. He’s been targeting on the field 49 times on the season and has given up only 28 receptions. He has one interception with a 15-yard return in the 2020 season. Gilmore was also selected First-Tea All-Pro in 2018 and 2019.
Slater has been a lock for the Pro Bowl since voting opened. He’s a special teams great that every team knows to keep their eyes on. This will be Slater’s 9th time on the Pro Bowl roster, extending the record for most Pro Bowls by a special teamer. He’s tied for second-most Pro Bowl appearances with John Hannah. Behind only Tom Brady who had 14 with New England. If you need someone to stop a ball from getting in the endzone on a punt or a kick, Slater will get the ball downed inside the 5 more often than not. Since being named special teams captain in 2011 he’s only missed the Pro Bowl once (2018). He has a talent that is unmatched.
Bailey is the one I’m most proud of, in his second year in the NFL he was selected for his first Pro Bowl. He has a powerful foot at the end of his leg. Bailey is one of the best to pin opposing teams deep within their own zones. Bailey leads the AFC with the most times a punt was downed within the opponent’s 20-yard line (24). He’s averaging nearly 50 yards per punt on the season. His leg in tandem with the rest of the special teams cast has allowed less than 50 yards returned on Bailey’s punts in 2020.
One Snub: JC Jackson
I know that there are only 4 spots for cornerbacks in the AFC and they’re all deserving of their spots. However, I’m confused as to how JC Jackson didn’t get enough votes to be included in the Pro Bowl. It was bad enough that he was initially left off the Pro Bowl voting options. He has played in 14 games so far this season, generally complimenting Gilmore. He’s been named a starter 9 times with 8 interceptions. Jackson is a ball magnet! He’s been targeted by opposing quarterbacks 70 times and has only allowed for 41 completions. In my opinion, Jackson was more deserving of a spot than Gilmore based on this season’s gameplay.
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-Jess Donahue (@jldx392)