Update: 5 additional players have been selected as Pro Bowl Alternates. Denico Autry, T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Kelly, Darius Leonard, and Andrew Luck.
Our 2019 #ProBowl alternates!— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 19, 2018
➡️ https://t.co/qZLnF5aznD pic.twitter.com/8na4Sfi8fT
The Colts will send two players to this year’s Pro Bowl. Rookie guard Quenton Nelson and tight end Eric Ebron will both make their first Pro Bowl appearances and they’re well deserved.
Your #Colts 2019 Pro Bowlers!— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 19, 2018
Congrats @Ebron85 and @BigQ56! pic.twitter.com/yrTd6cUeXQ
Ebron broke the franchise record set by Dallas Clark for most touchdowns by a tight end, and has been a red zone machine, scoring 13 touchdowns with two games to go.
Quenton Nelson has been serving more pancakes than a Denny’s next door to a frat house. He has been a huge part of the turnaround of the Colts’ offensive line and has brought the kind of meanness and attitude to this offense that it has sorely lacked.
There is a notable problem with this list of Pro Bowl players for the Colts, and it doesn’t take long to spot it. Two very notable names are absent from the list, and they’re the two best players on this Colts team.
On offense, Andrew Luck somehow finds himself below Tom Brady, a feat that in previous years would not have been notable, but based on their play this season, is laughably absurd.
Brady has 10 fewer touchdowns than Luck, has been unable to extend plays as he looks scared to take a hit, and has generally been a better than average to good quarterback for the Patriots. Luck on the other hand has been transcendent at times, weaving around defenders and avoiding sacks to extend plays when needed, and taking the smart dump off pass when it makes sense.
He has been nearly impossible to defend and as much as his dramatic decrease in sacks is due to the offensive line’s improvement, it is also a product of his changed playing style. Luck has gotten rid of the ball quickly and made it nearly impossible to sack him. His awareness and decision making have been some of the best in the league and the idea that Brady has even been close to as good this season is just silly.
Somehow, though, Luck’s snub isn’t even the worst one. Darius Leonard, the same guy who is playing historically well both for a rookie and for a player at his position in general, did not make the Pro Bowl. That’s right, the guy who leads the league in tackles with 146, has 7 sacks, an interception, 4 forced fumbles, 6 passes defended, and 12 tackles for loss, didn’t make the cut for the Pro Bowl.
Jadeveon Clowney made it in ahead of Leonard, because they’re somehow in the same category despite Leonard playing the inside linebacker position. Regardless of his incorrect categorization, Leonard has still been more impactful than Clowney, who has 8 sacks, no picks, no passes defended, no forced fumbles, and just 37 tackles. Darius Leonard has played like one of the best defenders in football, not just at his position or for a rookie. One of the best defenders in the game period.
All I can say about this is that I pity how Darius Leonard plays with yet another chip on his shoulder. Saquon Barkley and the Giants had better get ready.