SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Five of the biggest snubs from the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl rosters
Less than 24 hours since the NFL announced their 2022 Pro Bowl rosters and the football world is divided to say the least.
While most of fans’ favorite players will likely be going to Las Vegas early next year, including six San Francisco 49ers, there are still a few surprises left off the list. This is nothing new, as the spots are limited and can be attributed to various factors from players to coaches to fans alike.
The issue is that the players that missed out, haven’t performed worse than the ones that made it. For example: Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Fields is sixth in rushing yards this season, becoming one of three QBs ever to break the 1000-yard mark last weekend.
With that being said, here are five of the biggest snubs from the Pro Bowl rosters this year.
49ers RB Christian McCaffrey
To replace: Cowboys RB Tony Pollard
Arguably the biggest snub of them all, McCaffrey not being included on the actual roster feels like a complete misfire from the league office.
The fans did their part, ranking him at the top of the running back group in the NFC at 205,990 votes when it concluded earlier in the week. The issue is with fellow players/coaches from around the league, instead giving one of his spots to Pollard, Eagles RB Miles Sanders and Giants RB Saquon Barkley. All respectable players in their own right, but none of them have CMC’s numbers.
Through 15 games, McCaffrey has amassed 1,578 all-purpose yards, the most in the NFC by more than 100. This feat is especially impressive considering he’s played for two different teams this season. Coming to San Francisco in Week 7, CMC has spearheaded this offense as he gets more accustomed to the playbook each week. The last three weeks have been especially strong, finishing each game with at least 138 all-purpose yards.
He’s also catch 41 passes as a member of the 49ers, now only four away from passing Roger Craig for the most exceptions by an RB in his first six years in the league.
If Christian McCaffrey catches 4 passes on Sunday, he would pass Roger Craig for most catches (434) by a running back in his first 6 seasons in the NFL.
That’s some next-level, historic stuff showing you how versatile McCaffrey’s been in his career.
— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) December 22, 2022
Heading into Week 16, CMC has 927 rushing yards and 623 yards through the air. He’s a long shot to reach a double 1000-yard season, but even the discussion should warrant a full Pro Bowl selection.
I like Tony Pollard, I really do. But he’s splitting a backfield with Ezekiel Elliot, McCaffrey isn’t. On those merits alone, CMC should take the nod.
OLB Dre Greenlaw
To replace: Saints LB Demario Davis
This isn’t to discredit Demario Davis, who does so much for that busted-up New Orleans team, but Dre Greenlaw not even being on the alternate list is very surprising.
The Arkansas standout is in the midst of a career season, racking up 111 tackles through 13 games played, the most on the NFL’s premier defense. He also has one interception, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and one touchdown to his name this season.
San Francisco has been pounding the table for Greenlaw to get the recognition he deserves, including Pro Bow LB Fred Warner, saying that his counterpart needed to be discussed in the same list a few weeks back. Sadly, the recognition won’t come in 2022, not even on the alternates list for Vegas.
Part of the problem too is the position he plays. The 49ers don’t send Greenlaw at the QB like other teams do with outside linebackers, having him reside in the middle of the park with Warner. That’s why Davis gets the nod over Greenlaw, sporting 6.5 sacks on the 2022 season.
A great player turning into a premier LB on the best defense, Greenlaw’s time will come eventually.
QB Tua Tagovailoa
To replace: Seahawks QB Geno Smith
The 49ers certainly didn’t help his case but Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa should have made his first Pro Bowl game this season.
The Hawaiian-born gunslinger has been reinvented under Mike McDaniel, throwing for 3,238 yards, 24 TDs and only five INTs. Tua’s qualm is that his run of form has been inconsistent to say the least, going from three TDs against Cleveland in Week 10 to only one passing touchdown the next week against Houston.
He has also missed three games this season due to a very serious concussion that questioned the NFL’s protocols altogether. Despite the bumpy ride, Tagovailoa has proven a lot of doubters worst this season, leading the Dolphins to an 8-6 record in a packed AFC East division.
His most recent outing in Buffalo was very telling, handling the pressure to throw for two TDs in a blizzard. His team ultimately lost the game, but Tua is showing the NFL that he can be looked at as a QB of the future.
Whether he takes another ascension to true Pro-Bowl status is another story.
WR Jaylen Waddle
To replace: Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase
A precursor: Ja’Marrr Chase is one of the elite wideouts in the entire league, but he missed four games, and for that he should not have made it over Waddle.
The Miami Dolphins wideout is the 1B to Tyreek Hill’s 1A down in South Beach, forming the best receiver combo in the NFL. Playing in all 14 games this season, Waddle has 1117 receiving yards and seven TDs. Chase only has 881 receiving yards to threw in some context.
Waddle’s bid may have been ruined by his own counterpart’s production, as Hill leads the AFC in receiving at 1529 yards. The Dolphins have also lost their last three games, taking the steam off the hype train for the time being.
Both players are elite at the position, but Waddle deserved his first Pro Bowl nod.
OLB Matt Milano
To Replace: Chargers OLB Kahlil Mack
This one coincides with Greenlaw’s argument as Bills linebacker Matt Milano has been holding the fort down for Buffalo this season.
Racking up 85 combined tackles, two INTs, eight passes defended, and 1.5 sacks, Milano has been everywhere for Bills Mafia. He’s also played in 13 out of 14 contests, battling through a knee issue for part of the year.
Meanwhile, Mack’s stats speak to the relevance of pass rushers, getting seven sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games played. His other numbers are less than Milano however, only at 45 combined tackles this season.
Play-style and scheme have an effect on what both can offer, but you can argue that Milano has been the more valuable for the AFC East leaders.
Maybe the league should add a pass-rushers only category on the ballot, that way more players can be recognized for their efforts.