The Pro Bowl sucks.
We know it. The league knows it. Everyone knows it.
However, the one group that doesn't necessarily think that the NFL's sorry excuse for an All Star exhibition sucks is the NFLPA. The reason for this is players who get Pro Bowl nods use those nods to leverage teams for more money. This, of course, makes sense. If a guy has a good year and is recognized for it with a Pro Bowl invite, then he should get compensated for that.
Pay for performance, sans the bounties.
So, based on this alone, Colts first year linebacker Jerrell Freeman absolutely should get a Pro Bowl nod this season. We're not talking as an alternate. He should be a starter!
Outside of Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, Freeman's numbers are the best in the AFC. In fact, in many ways, his numbers compare to Mayo's.
Mayo: 112 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 3 forced fumbles
Freeman: 101 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT (for a touchdown), 1 forced fumble
No other inside linebacker in the AFC comes close to the production these two studs are providing for their respective teams. The closest is Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs, and while I have nothing against Johnson personally, it should be a standing rule that NO Chiefs get Pro Bowl nods in 2012.
Freeman is a first-year player (26 years old) who played his college ball at Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor. He played in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 2009-2011. Last season was a breakout year for him in the CFL in which he led their league in tackles (105). Now, in the NFL, he's the NFL's fourth leading tackler.
When you consider how little the Colts invested in their defense during the 2012 NFL Draft, finding a player like Freeman was critical if Indy was going to field anything close to a competent defense. Much to the credit of Ryan Grigson and the Colts front office, they did.