Pro Bowl voting has becoming a bit of a laughingstock, with deserving players routinely missing out while other players make the game primarily due to their reputations (Jet fans: see LaRon Landry getting selected while Muhammad Wilkerson stays home). But Cromartie's selection was entirely appropriate, as he has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league this season.
With Darrelle Revis sidelined since late in the Jets' Week 3 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, Cromartie has been asked to play the role of true shutdown cornerback, similar to few other players in the league.
Week in and week out, Cromartie matched up one-on-one against the opposition's best receiver as Revis would have, with the Jets having little choice but to maintain their defensive scheme and hope for the best. And virtually week in and week out, Cromartie proved he was up to the challenge and shut the other team's top guy down.
As Grantland's Bill Barnwell notes, Cromartie accomplished this despite an unfavorable set of circumstances. Wilkerson had a big year, but the Jets' overall pass rush was less than ideal, and the rest of the team's secondary (including No. 2 cornerback Kyle Wilson) certainly had its lapses throughout the season. But Cromartie played with a level of consistency rarely before seen from the enigmatic corner.
Cromartie's emergence was one of few welcome signs for Jets fans this year, as he has always had the talent to be an elite cornerback. Something had always seemed a bit off in Cromartie's week-to-week approach, with him appearing to lack aggression at times, but when asked to produce this year he put everything together and rose to the level of elite player.
With Cromartie potentially joining a healthy Darrelle Revis in the Jets' secondary next year and anticipated improvement from Wilkerson and Quinton Coples as pass-rushers, the New York Jets could be a very difficult team to throw the ball against next season.