Voting for the 2019 Pro Bowl opened up on Tuesday, but unlike seasons past, it’s hard to get that excited about it. The Detroit Lions’ season hasn’t gone as planned and there haven’t been standout performances from individuals that have Lions fans campaigning for their favorite players.
It’s certainly possible that the Detroit Lions are shut out of the Pro Bowl for the first time since the 2009 season.
While there are some Lions fans that will simply vote for their player in the hopes it gets them to the All Star game this year, I’m here to tell you that there are actually a few players that deserve your vote. (Cast your Pro Bowl ballot here)
Damon Harrison Sr.
Three weeks ago, the Lions traded for Damon “Snacks” Harrison and all the veteran defensive tackle has done is grade out as the best defensive player on the team three games in a row.
Harrison alone has transformed the Lions’ run defense—which was arguably the worst in the NFL prior to the team’s bye week—into a respectable unit that just held one of the best run offenses to 54 yards on 22 carries (2.5 YPC). Harrison is the league’s best interior run defender per PFF and ranks third in overall grade.
There’s absolutely no question that Snacks deserves to go to his first ever Pro Bowl.
I’m not naive enough to believe that Johnson will end up making the Pro Bowl, but a case could certainly be made for the Lions rookie running back. Right now, he still ranks fifth in yards per carry (5.4), 12th in all-purpose yards among running backs (757), seventh in DYAR and third in DVOA.
Now that the Pro Bowl is back to the AFC vs. NFC format, Johnson will have to finish in the top three of voting among his conference. There’s no chance he gets the nod over Ezekiel Elliott or Todd Gurley, and the third spot will probably end up going to a guy like Alvin Kamara or Saquon Barkley. But Kerryon should, at least, be in the conversation, so don’t feel bad about flexing your Homer muscle and casting a vote for him.
There are a few other Lions players that you could make an argument for, but unfortunately, all three are not on the ballot on NFL.com. First, there’s A’Shawn Robinson, who after being benched in Week 1 has been arguably the Lions’ best defensive player outside of Snacks. Robinson’s 30 tackles is second only to Devon Kennard among Lions defensive linemen. His PFF grade (90.2) is currently fifth highest among all interior defenders. I have no idea why he isn’t on the ballot and Ricky Jean Francois is, but the NFL works in mysterious ways.
Another player deserving of at least a nomination is rookie defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand. As a defensive end/defensive tackle, Hand has been one of the most versatile pieces along the Lions front seven and his 3.0 sacks is 11th among DTs. His PFF grade is already eighth among interior defenders, with the fourth-highest pass rush grade.
Finally, there’s Don Muhlbach. It doesn’t appear there is a long-snapping section in the Pro Bowl voting, but Father Time deserves a nod. He made the Pro Bowl back in 2012 and deserves one more nod, if for no other reason than for putting up with this franchise for the second-most games in team history:
Last week Don Muhlbach appeared in his 220th career game to move into second on the #Lions' all-time games played list.— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 9, 2018
Congrats, Muhl! pic.twitter.com/3O1Wm6vjvX