The votes are in.
The Pro Bowl's 2017 roster is set and, like every year, it serves as a tremendous honor for players who have toiled all season in search of recognition. It is also prone to leaving off some guys who had unbelievable seasons -- and that's why we're here. Over the coming weeks, we'll see different players cycle on and off the Pro Bowl roster, so some of these people will get their due eventually.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Like Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose consistent greatness sometimes bores MVP voters, Brees is a victim of his video game-number consistency. He currently leads the NFL in passing with 4,559 yards. With two games remaining, he's almost a lock to surpass 5,000 passing yards for the fifth time in his career. (No one else has accomplished the feat more than once.) He also has an outside shot at 40 touchdown passes. Yes, his interception number is on the higher end (14), but let's not overthink this.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Stafford is seventh in passing yards (3,720), but his modest touchdown number (22) was likely a point of hesitation for voters. Still, how about eight fourth-quarter comebacks and eight game-winning drives? Those staggering figures are superior to Derek Carr's totals and Carr deservedly made it to another Pro Bowl this season. Most good NFL quarterbacks need multiple seasons to put up this kind of crunch-time résumé. But Stafford is also playing well beyond the statistics. Jim Bob Cooter's offense has given him the freedom to become the passer the Lions initially drafted back in 2009.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks: Graham has an outside shot of breaking 1,000 yards this year. He brought the power, short-range element back to Seattle's game, which was vacated upon Marshawn Lynch's retirement. Outside of Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen, I don't think there's another tight end playing better complete football than Graham, who has absolutely improved (or showcased) his blocking skills in Seattle.
Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee Titans:Taylor Lewan had an amazing season this year, but I think Conklin was just as good on the opposite side. The Titans built a bully in front of Marcus Mariota and it's paying off in a significant way. That is more than a testament to one person, and Conklin's rookie season was seriously overlooked.
Andrew Whitworth, OT, Cincinnati Bengals: Once in a generation, the Bengals seem to produce a completely undervalued stalwart tackle who doesn't get nearly the press he deserves (a nod to Willie Anderson). Whitworth has only made it to two Pro Bowls, the latest being last year, but played one of his finest NFL seasons in 2016. The Bengals' poor team performance obviously impacts voting, but for someone to do what Whitworth is doing at 35 is simply incredible.
Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona Cardinals: Just another six sacks for Campbell this season to go along with six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one for a 53-yard touchdown), a pick, a safety and 46 tackles. The two-time Pro Bowler could see his push for three straight nods fall short, but not for lack of effort. Campbell will be a jewel in this offseason's free-agent market as more and more teams are trying to find a comparable player in the draft.
Cam Jordan, DE, New Orleans Saints: Though it will likely not stand up to a monstrous 10-sack season last year, Jordan's overall combination of speed and force against the run would stand up to anyone on the edge this year. Had Joey Bosa made it to the field for 16 games, I would be tempted to give him the second defensive end spot on this snub list, but Jordan, who added five passes defensed, a forced fumble and 54 tackles, deserves to be in the conversation.
Damon Harrison, DT, New York Giants: I will be shouted down on this, which is fine. But I would argue that Harrison had a destructive effect in the backfield on par with some of the most dangerous interior pass rushers in football. The genius move to convert an athletic, seldom-used nose tackle into an every down 4-3 tackle paid serious dividends for the Giants this year. His success has paved the way for Olivier Vernon's also-excellent 8.5 sack season.
Sean Lee, LB, Dallas Cowboys: This could have been a symptom of Cowboy Voter Fatigue (CVF). Dallas logged five starters in the big game, which means that some deserving performances are unfortunately left out. The rangy linebacker already has blown his previous career high in tackles out of the water with 140.
Eric Weddle, S, Baltimore Ravens: I will be the first to admit that I was dead wrong on Weddle. I thought the three-time Pro Bowler's best years were behind him, but 2016 taught me a lesson. Patriots game aside -- who hasn'tTom Brady done that to? -- Weddle's four picks, 11 passes defensed and 81 tackles stand up to some of his best seasons in San Diego. Ozzie Newsome's free agency gamble paid off in a big way.
A.J. Bouye, CB, Houston Texans: If there were a general manager Pro Bowl based on talent-to-value ratio, the Texans having Bouye for $1.671 million this year would earn Rick Smith a cozy seat near the top. Smith will be lambasted for the Brock Osweiler situation, but his department's acumen on defense has helped keep a very deep Houston team alive in the playoff race. Though Bouye suffers in the glamour-stat department (he has just one pick this season), opposing quarterbacks don't feel confident throwing at the 6-foot Texans corner.
Byron Maxwell, CB, Miami Dolphins: Everyone laughed when Maxwell called himself the best cover corner in football this season. I did not. While I do think there were probably a handful of players better than Maxwell, I also believe his turnaround season is certainly worth Pro Bowl consideration. Maxwell has two interceptions and four forced fumbles to date, to go along with a staggering 15 passes defensed.