Four New England Patriots have been named to the official 2016 Pro Bowl roster announced by the NFL. Quarterback Tom Brady, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Devin McCourty and special teamer Matthew Slater will represent the Patriots in the 2016-17 Pro Bowl. The annual showcase for the NFL’s top players takes place on January 29, 2017 at Camping World Stadium, Orlando.
Brady Passer Rating Leads League
Brady has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 3,064 yards and 22 touchdown passes, while throwing just two interceptions in ten games. His 109.7 passer rating leagues the lead. Brady finds himself at the top of the NFL MVP race and has now earned his 12th Pro Bowl nod.
Hightower Makes Pro Bowl Debut
Hightower has recorded 64 tackles with 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two pass deflections. Hightower’s selection marks his first Pro Bowl appearance.
McCourty, Slater Tackles Impress
McCourty has 65 tackles on the season to go along with one interception, seven pass deflections and one fumble recovery. McCourty made the Pro Bowl once before as a rookie cornerback in 2010.
In 12 games, Slater has recorded five special team tackles. Slater heads to his sixth Pro Bowl next month.
All four players share the designation as Patriot team captains. The lone captain missing from the list is tight end Rob Gronkowski, a sure Pro Bowler if not for suffering a season-ending back injury.
“They’re all good players,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “They’ve all done a good job for us. Pro Bowl, I mean, it is what it is. I won’t comment on the process and all of that, but all the players that are selected are good players. There are a lot of other good players in the league too. Who gets selected and doesn’t get selected, I don’t know. Talk to the league.”
Pats Pro Bowl Snubs
As for Pro Bowl snubs, right tackle Marcus Cannon and cornerback Malcolm Butler lead the list.
After a rough 2015 campaign, Cannon has emerged as the Patriots best offensive lineman this season. His strong play earned him a five-year extension on his current contract. Butler leads the team with 15 pass breakups. He’s recorded two interceptions this season to go along with 45 tackles and one sack.
Nate Ebner, special teamer, and running back LeGarrette Blount also deserve recognition for their strong seasons. Ebner may be the Patriots best special teamer this season. Matthew Slater commented earlier this week that Ebner deserved to be named to the Pro Bowl roster.
Blount, on the other hand recently broke the Patriots all-time single season rushing touchdown record with 15. That mark also puts him atop the entire league. He’s chewed up 1,060 yards on 265 attempts, marking exactly four yards per carry.