When the Pro Bowl rosters are officially released, plenty of time is spent debating which players were snubbed from the list. However, many of the biggest misses end up finding their way on the teams regardless.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks reaching the Super Bowl will leave many of the best players in the NFL out of the All-Star game. Additionally, plenty of other stars have dropped out of the contest, leaving space for other deserving players.
Although this process waters down the matchup somewhat, these are some players who are well-deserving of a trip to Hawaii.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Few would have called Nick Foles a Pro Bowl-caliber player heading into the season, but few were more impressive on the field this season.
The second-year quarterback took over at the start of October when Michael Vick went down with an injury. The results were more than anyone in Philadelphia could have hoped for as he finished the regular season with the best passer rating in football.
ESPN also provided this eye-opening statistic:
Nick Foles had the best TD/INT ratio in NFL history in the regular season.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 4, 2014
Foles made quick decisions to make the most out of his weapons and helped DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper accomplish career highs. His 8-2 record as a starter also helped the Eagles win the competitive NFC East.
While there are still questions about his ability to be a franchise quarterback, there is no doubt Foles was one of the best quarterbacks in football this season.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Anyone who played fantasy football knows about how good Eddie Lacy was in his rookie season for Green Bay.
The second-round pick finished with 1,178 rushing yards, and his 11 touchdowns on the ground ranked third in the NFL. He helped balance the Packers offense while Aaron Rodgers was on the sideline and was a big reason why they were able to win the NFC North.
Although he was named second-team All-Pro, he was not originally on the Pro Bowl roster until Adrian Peterson dropped out due to an injury. Lacy noted that this was a big moment for the start of his career, via Packers.com:
I was extremely excited to hear that I am getting to go to the Pro Bowl after my rookie season. I feel like it gives me a great opportunity to thank my teammates, especially the offensive line, and coaches, for working with me and helping me accomplish what I did on the field this year.
The rookie was arguably the best rookie in the NFL this year, and this will likely be the first of many Pro Bowls for the young player.
Derrick Johnson, ILB, Kansas City Chiefs
For much of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs had the best defense in football, which helped them go from two wins in 2012 to 11 wins and a playoff berth in 2013.
While Tamba Hali and Justin Houston earned a lot of the credit, Derrick Johnson also deserves praise for an excellent season as a performer and a leader. He had a team-high 107 tackles in the middle of the defense and was also solid in coverage.
When Johnson was originally not included in the Pro Bowl, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller was not happy about it:
No Alshon Jeffery. No Lavonte David. No Derrick Johnson. I hate you, Pro Bowl.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 28, 2013
Although Lavonte David still had not gotten a bid, Johnson will get his ticket to Honolulu as one of the many representatives from the Chiefs. Considering this is his third Pro Bowl in as many years, it is clear that he is becoming one of the best in the NFL at his position.
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