The New England Patriots have seven players headed to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2016 Pro Bowl and this will be the seventh consecutive year that the Patriots have at least five members selected to the Pro Bowl. Now if these choices will play the game is a different story, because as we all know the goal isn’t to get a Pro Bowl bid but to have your season conclude in February.
The Pro Bowlers
Tom Brady- QB
Shocking right? Tom Brady has been named a Pro Bowler for the 11th time in his career, a Patriots franchise record. And Brady has been named to the last seven straight Pro Bowls. Tom leads the league in both passing yards and passing touchdowns with 4,405 yards and 35 TDs respectively. TB12 also sneakily has three rushing touchdowns and one reception for over thirty yards. Brady was a no-brainer to be elected to the Pro Bowl and Tom has come a long way since his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2001. Although the MVP candidate, Tom will have some prior commitments that week planning to play another big game, I’m sure he’s humbled by the honor.
Malcolm Butler- CB
Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler had sky high expectation after the Patriots let both Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis walk in the offseason. But Butler has played very well against the strongest of competition. Butler or ‘Strap’ contained Antonio Brown more or less outside of a garbage time touchdown. He also played very well against Odell Beckham Jr. This is Butler’s first Pro Bowl selection and he earned it. From undrafted to Pro Bowler, Malcolm Butler has a chip on his shoulder that he seems to be getting the best of.
Jamie Collins- LB
Jamie Collins a safety from Southern Mississippi that transformed into the star linebacker that he is today. Collins is hands down the most athletic player on the New England Patriots and is probably one of the most athletic players in the entire National Football League. Jamie Collins truly plays sideline to sideline and is seemingly in on every single play in some way, shape or form. Jamie Collins is probably my second favorite player on the Patriots outside of Tom of course. Congrats to Jamie Collins on the first of many Pro Bowl appearances!
Stephen Gostkowski- K
Absolutely automatic from pretty much anywhere inside of seventy yards. I was at last weekends game where Gostkowski missed a 48 yard field goal from the left hash-mark just before halftime. I was shocked just like the rest of the stadium. But Gostkowski came out of the tunnel before everybody else and lineup up for a 48 yard field goal from the left hash-mark and hit the field goal he missed right down the middle at least five times. Serious question, who would you rather have in their prime: Adam Vinatieri or Stephen Gostkowski?
Rob Gronkowski- TE
Do I really need to write anything here? Gronkowski is a mismatch no matter which player is covering him. And if for one play somebody extremely inferior is covering him, Brady and the Pats will exploit that. Gronkowski is the closest thing to a real life cheat code that we have today. No brainer that Gronk gets his fourth Pro Bowl nod here.
Chandler Jones- DE
Chandler Jones has been a subtle leader for this defense, Jones has totaled 12.5 sacks along with an interception. Jones is now in fourth place for the NFL in total sacks. Chandler Jones will always have an impact on the field and he is a player that offenses have to plan around. This is surprisingly Jones’ first Pro Bowl selection but at the young age of 25, this should definitely be the start to a great and decorative defensive career.
Matthew Slater- ST
Slater is absolutely an unsung hero for this Patriots roster. It is not often where a player is satisfied with being a special teams specialist but Slater is and he has embraced that role earning himself a captaincy. This is Slater’s 5th Pro Bowl appearance and Slater is a player that no Patriots fan takes for granted. Although special teams players rarely get much recognition, Slater does around New England and clearly among the Pro Bowl voting participants and selection process.
Devin McCourty- FS, Dion Lewis- RB
Although both of these athletes have suffered various degrees of injuries both deserve thoughts of a Pro Bowl in different ways. McCourty is a top three free safety in the NFL, and although his numbers may not show that, his presence on the field is something you can’t quantify. Without McCourty the cornerbacks wouldn’t be as comfortable or as successful. There is a reason that the Patriots signed McCourty long-term instead of Darrelle Revis or Brandon Browner. Dion Lewis on the other-hand made defenders look stupid. Dion Lewis and his elusiveness were in a league of their own and if not for his injury he would be a sure-fire Pro Bowler in my mind.
The Patriots are tied for second in the NFL with seven total Pro Bowlers along with the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona and Cardinals. Those three teams trail only the undefeated Carolina Panthers with ten Pro Bowlers headlined by Cam Newton, Josh Norman, and Luke Kuechly. It is only fitting since it seems like the Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers and Patriots are the main contenders this year and we will see how the upcoming weeks of the season play out, Go Patriots!!