Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson Lead Way for Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl Snubs
Respect will be earned.
Kansas City had to clinch an AFC West division title before analysts came forward to recognize the validity of Kansas City as a worthy opponent in any matchup.
However, the respect has not trickled down to many of the Chiefs' most deserving players.
The following is a short list of Chiefs players who received an undue Pro Bowl snub.
Category 1: Personal Kansas City Favorites
Considered a consensus first-round draft pick prior to the combine, Brandon Flowers' poor performance in the 40 allowed the Chiefs to steal him in the second round of the 2008 draft.
Flowers has been the Chiefs' No. 1 corner ever since. Exceptional in pass coverage, Flowers was understandably overlooked because of a sharp decline in interceptions as the season progressed.
Still, Flowers is establishing himself as a premier corner in the NFL. While he may not have the speed to match up in man coverage with Jacoby Ford (name three players who do), he is a lockdown corner whose skills in pass defense are only surpassed by his exceptional tackling talents. Flowers is one of the best tacklers not just at the corner position, but also in the league.
Flowers has an uphill battle to dethrone either Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis as the top corners in not just the AFC, but also in the entire NFL. But he should earn at least a couple Pro Bowl berths in his career.
Safety Eric Berry lived up to all of the hype that came with his No. 5 overall selection in the 2010 draft but did not find Pro Bowl honors in his mailbox.
Berry overcame questions about his size by proving an effective run stuffer early in the season but then faced unnecessary concerns voiced by analysts of his pass coverage skills.
In addition to tallying 85 total tackles, the ball hawk also nabbed four interceptions and notched two sacks. An all-around force in his rookie season, Berry's electric 54-yard interception for a touchdown against the Titans may have come too late to earn the Pro Bowl nod he may deserve.
Berry will surely earn several Pro Bowl roster spots over his career but currently faces a crowded secondary for an AFC team that includes both Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Despite both players being injury-plagued, their reputations precede them.
Which Kansas City player who did not earn a Pro Bowl spot is Most Deserving
Category 2: Players Who Deserve Greater League-Wide Respect Now
With his most impressive season to date, Tamba Hali has proved he can make the transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker.
Hali improved upon his previous personal best of eight sacks in a season by totaling 12 sacks in 2010. Still in contention to lead the league in quarterback sacks, Hali is having the kind of year that highlights many careers.
Former Chief Jared Allen posted a career-best 15.5 sacks before being deemed one of the elite players in the league. With a similar season this year, Hali seems to be flying under the radar.
Often times the only effective pass rusher in the Kansas City front seven, Hali has been a disruptive force, earning sacks and forcing fumbles. If Hali had slightly higher tackle totals as well as any pass defense stats, he would guarantee a Pro Bowl spot. For now he has to wait.
The No. 1 snub for Kansas City in the 2010 season is inside linebacker Derrick Johnson.
In Todd Haley’s doghouse last season, Johnson had only 30 tackles in 2009 and was questionable to even retain a roster spot. This year he exploded with his best season as a pro and finally lived up to the potential shown in college, where he was a two-time consensus First Team All-American.
Johnson has 116 tackles, four forced fumbles, one interception for a touchdown and a whopping 15 passes defended from his linebacker spot.
A No. 15 overall pick in 2005, Johnson was everything promised of his draft position, if not several years late. However, he is most deserving of recognition for the exceptional season.
Let’s hope the neglect of such players only adds to the fire of a team getting too little respect.
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