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AFC Pro Bowl Snubs: The Defense

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Pro Bowl voters, Eric Weddle thinks you have some 'splainin' to do. (Getty Images)

Defensive Ends

Made it: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans/Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins/Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos

Should have made it: Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets/Corey Liuget, San Diego Chargers

We won't quibble with positions on defense -- with so many players playing so many different positions these days, it's tough to know where to place people. Watt plays tackle when the Texans shift to their dime defense, for example. But if we're sticking to defensive end in any scheme, we'll endorse the notion that Wilkerson should find a place somewhere in this group. He ranks second behind Watt in Pro Football Focus' ratings among 3-4 defensive ends, and only Watt has more stops at his position. You want another guy who bats passes around? Liuget, lost in San Diego's season, has eight of those himself, seven sacks, and 20 quarterback hurries.

Defensive Tackles

Made it: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals/Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots/Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens

Should have made it: These guys, but...

The Buffalo Bills' front four has been an unquestioned disappointment, but Kyle Williams has been the exception there. Once again, Williams has played beyond his peers.

Outside Linebackers

Made it: Von Miller, Denver Broncos/Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs/Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts

Should have made it: These guys.

Miller and Hali are sure things, and Mathis has had a very good year in a different defense.

Inside Linebackers

Made it: Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots/Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs

Should have made it: These guys.

As we go over the Pro Bowl rosters, it starts to seem as if there are fewer really glaring omissions. This is another case in which the AFC's two best players at the position made the cut.

Cornerbacks

Made it: Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos/Johnathan Joseph, Houston Texans/Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets

Should have made it: Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs/Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans

Right team, wrong guy? That may have happened with the Texans. Joseph is a great player, hut Jackson has four picks to Joseph's two, 10 passes defensed to Joseph's four, and he's allowed a lower opposing passer rating -- 68.4 to Joseph's 75.0. As Jackson has played almost 200 more snaps than Joseph ... well, we're a bit confused. Flowers has also played very well this season, allowing just 48.7 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed.

Safeties

Made it: Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens/Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs/LaRon Landry, New York Jets

Should have made it: Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers/Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills/Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins

If we're splitting hairs between free and strong safety, we'll take Byrd over Reed -- outside of Seattle's Earl Thomas, no safety in the game today plays with more range. And we're at a loss to explain why Weddle was snubbed -- from the middle of a defense to the back half, he's as good as any in the game. Miami's Jones is a lesser-known name, but he's become one of the better and more versatile players at the position. Among the nominees, Berry is the only one we can really endorse.

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