Pro Bowl 2012: Why New York Giants' Victor Cruz Should Be a Starter

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 04:  Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants reacts after he caught a pass for a first down against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on December 4, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Packers won 38-35.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Since when does 76 receptions, 1,358 receiving yards, eight touchdowns, and 90.5 yards per game not culminate in a Pro Bowl start?

Victor Cruz was shocked to hear that he was not voted a starter in the 2012 Pro Bowl, and rightly so.

He's dominated opposing defenses all season, beginning in Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, when he caught three balls for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Against the Jets on Christmas Eve, Cruz broke the Giants' single-season receiving yardage record, and set the record for the longest play in Giants' history when he scampered into the end zone for a 99-yard touchdown to give the G-Men the lead.

So who is starting over Cruz in the Pro Bowl?

Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith and Greg Jennings were all named starters over Cruz, despite his electrifying play and amplified numbers this season.

Here's the breakdown.


Cruz vs. Johnson

This isn't even close, as Johnson has been a beast all season. The only category that Cruz bests Johnson in is average yards per reception, with Cruz at 17.9 and Johnson at 16.9.  Johnson definitely deserves a spot over Cruz because of his 1,437 yards and 15 touchdowns, and because the Lions finally made the playoffs, due in large part to Johnson.


Cruz vs. Fitzgerald

Cruz has more receptions, yards, yards per reception and yards per game than Fitzgerald, and they each have eight TDs. Cruz's Giants are in prime position to make the playoffs, while the Cardinals missed the playoffs altogether. Cruz deserves the spot over Fitzgerald.


Cruz vs. Smith

 Steve Smith's Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention, which is one reason why Cruz deserves the spot over Smith. The other? Cruz tops Smith in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and yards per game. Need I say more?


Cruz vs. Jennings

Jennings and the Packers are primed for another Super Bowl title, but Cruz still posts better overall numbers than Jennings—and Jennings isn't even the No.1 receiver on his own team. Jennings' 67 receptions, 949 yards, nine touchdowns and 73 yards per game are great, but I think more receptions, yards, and yards per game should take precedence over one more touchdown.

It should be noted that Cruz was voted in as an alternate, but Hawaii is really going to miss this lightning rod in the starting lineup.