By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have three Pro Bowlers this season, but they should have at least four. There is no doubt about it: Julian Edelman got snubbed.
The wide receiver has been one of the few steady forces on a Patriots offense that has struggled to get going all season. For much of the year, he’s been New England’s only consistent pass catcher, leading to some big numbers that rank near the top in the AFC.
Edelman ranks second in the AFC with 92 receptions and fourth with 1,019 receiving yards. His six receiving touchdowns lead the Patriots and are tied for 22nd in the league with 12 other players (Detroit’s Kenny Golladay leads the NFL with 10 receiving touchdowns). And don’t forget that Edelman also has a passing touchdown on his resume this season. It’s a terrifying proposition to picture what the Patriots offense would look like without Edelman this season. He’s doing all this without Rob Gronkowski commanding most of the defensive attention, and without his quarterback playing like his usual GOAT self.
Somehow, voters didn’t think Edelman’s production was better than Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry (74 receptions, 1,1018 yards and five touchdowns) or Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill (49 reception, 727 yards, seven touchdowns), who mostly made it on reputation.
Edelman isn’t the only Patriots player with a legitimate Pro Bowl gripe. Rookie punter Jake Bailey has been pinning opponents deep in their own territory all season, but received no love on Tuesday. And with New England touting the best defense in the NFL, they should probably have more than two players representing them on the annual fantasy team. Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Devin McCourty are all worthy of making the team alongside Stephon Gilmore and Dont’a Hightower.
But no one has a bigger gripe than Edelman. Granted, the Patriots like it a lot more if they’re not eligible to play in the annual exhibition, instead preparing for a much bigger game a week later. And given the fact that Edelman is nursing a slew of injuries, he probably wouldn’t play even in the Pro Bowl if the Patriots aren’t gearing up for Super Bowl LIV.
But if there was any year for Edelman to earn his first Pro Bowl honors, this was the year. As much as the Pro Bowl is a joke, making the team is an honor that Edelman deserved.