Top 10 Pro Bowl snubs

With the rosters being released Tuesday, decided to compile a list of 10 Pro Bowl snubs of 2008.

Philip RiversChargers QB Philip Rivers. Help me out here. With the running game sagging, Rivers became the NFL’s top-rated passer, throwing for 3,515 yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions at a 64.6 percent completion rate. And he is not on the list? He’s had a better year than the Jets’ Brett Favre or the Broncos’ Jay Cutler, for sure.

Falcons DE John Abraham. One of the tough ones, since competition at end was fierce. But no one with 15 1/2 sacks should be left off a Pro Bowl roster, especially considering the wide-ranging affect his play has had on the revitalized Atlanta defense. Take him over the Panthers’ Julius Peppers.

Texans RB Steve Slaton. With all due respect to the Dolphins’ Ronnie Brown, who has been productive as a running back and an option quarterback, Slaton should be going to Hawaii instead. Like Clady, perhaps Slaton was hurt by his rookie status. But there’s no question he has been a perfect fit in Houston’s zone system, and he has improved dramatically over the course of the season: He has 350 yards in his last three games, part of a season that projects to nearly 1,300 yards on a 4.9-per-carry average.

Broncos LT Ryan Clady. He’s a rookie, and that probably plays into it. But Clady hasn’t looked like any kind of neophyte, being every bit the player No. 1-overall pick Jake Long has been. Clady swiftly picked up the Broncos’ zone-blocking scheme and has yielded just a half-sack through 14 games. He, not doubt, should be in instead of the Bills’ Jason Peters, who struggled after his training camp holdout.

Colts TE Dallas Clark. Give Clark the nod over the Chargers’ Antonio Gates because he has 10 more catches and 72 more yards, although he has one fewer touchdown. And do it not for the numbers, but because as the Colts fought a plague of injuries on offense early in the season, the versatile Clark was invaluable as Peyton Manning’s security blanket.

Every player on this list deserves to go to the Pro Bowl this year. Clady has been outstanding as a rookie and as the writer notes, without Rivers the Chargers wouldn’t even be 6-8 at this point. (Rivers is the league’s top rated passer for cribbs’ sake.)

I was shocked that Abraham didn’t make it, although ironically the thing that has made him most productive is the thing that eventually cost him a trip to Hawaii: he doesn’t play on all downs. When Mike Smith took over in Atlanta, he decided to rotate Abraham out as much as he can on running downs in efforts to keep him fresh and healthy throughout the year. Obviously the plan has worked because not only has Abraham been disruptive in amassing 15.5 sacks, but he’s also stayed healthy. Playing only on passing downs hurts him when it comes time to do the Pro Bowl voting, however.

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