That guy right there. Mike Daniels.
The Green Bay Packers had the three usual suspects named to the Pro Bowl roster on Tuesday. Daniels, who is arguably having the best year of anyone on the Packers, was not.
Frankly, that’s not surprising at all. It’s typical, in fact.
Pro Bowl voting is done by fans, players and coaches. They each get one-third of the vote. The vast majority of fans — at least those who vote — have no fucking clue. Players, well, we suspect they aren’t really paying attention either, except perhaps to the guys they match up with directly.
The point here is, the guys selected to the Pro Bowl are usually selected based on reputation or buzz. They’re not the guys actually playing the best at their position in that particular year.
I mean, remember when Jeff Saturday made it that year he was on the Packers, even though he lost the starting center job?
Anyway, Daniels is starting to generate some buzz this year, but it hasn’t reached critical mass. We can all but guarantee you he’ll make the Pro Bowl next year, regardless of what kind of season he has. People will remember his name from this season and say, oh yeah, Mike Daniels, I’ll vote for him.
It’s like how B.J. Raji had his one good season back in 2010, when he had 39 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Did he make the Pro Bowl that season? No. He made it in 2011, when his numbers declined to 22 tackles and three sacks.
As for Daniels, he has 43 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble. He’s stout against the run, disruptive in the passing game and is frequently double-teamed. Pro Football Focus has Daniels graded at 91.8 this season, which is sixth overall among interior defenders.
The good news is, Daniels will almost certainly make the Pro Bowl anyway. He’s a first alternate and a multitude of guys drop out of the game after the season citing injury, but really just because they don’t want to play a meaningless game. The Pro Bowlers on the teams playing in the Super Bowl don’t participate either. So basically, just about everyone who’s in an NFL starting lineup gets an opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl these days.