The NFL announced 2017 Pro Bowl rosters tonight and the Atlanta Falcons are well-represented.
The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFC with 6 Pro Bowl selections. Selections include: Quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Devonta Freeman, wide receiver Julio Jones, center Alex Mack, linebacker Vic Beasley, and kicker Matt Bryant. Each will head to Orlando, Florida for the game played a week prior to the Super Bowl.
Only the Oakland Raiders saw more selections (7) than the Falcons.
Even more interesting is the return of the player skills competition.
Not only does the Pro Bowl move to its new, permanent home of Orlando, but will also see the return of AFC vs NFC. Even more interesting is the return of the player skills competition. Events such as dodgeball and passing challenges will take place as part of the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown on the Thursday prior.
The selection of Matt Ryan is no surprise. Ryan is a heavy favorite for Most Valuable Player due to leading the NFL in a plethora of passing statistics. Julio Jones makes his 4th Pro Bowl appearance; impressive considering he leads the NFL in receiving yards despite missing 2 games. Alex Mack will also make his 4th appearance in the NFL’s version of an All-Star game.
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Devonta Freeman makes his 2nd consecutive Pro Bowl appearance after running for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns. Making their first appearances are Vic Beasley and 41-year old Matt Bryant. Beasley’s selection comes as no shocker as he leads the NFL with 14.5 sacks. For Bryant, the selection is long overdue. Bryant leads the NFL in extra points and is still booting clutch field goals from the 40-50-yard range.
All Falcons selected to the NFC Pro Bowl roster were named starters but Alex Mack and Devonta Freeman. Mack’s body of work certainly warrants the start, but he will serve as backup to Travis Frederick of the Cowboys. Freeman will also backup a Cowboy with Ezekiel Elliott having been named starting running back.
We hope no Falcons actually appear in the Pro Bowl. If all goes as planned, Atlanta is heading to Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas instead.