It’s hardly worth ruining a beautiful night during the holiday season raging over Pro Bowl selections, but it’s worth mentioning that Stefon Diggs is deserving.
The NFC saw four excellent receivers selected in Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Adam Thielen and Davante Adams. And statistically speaking, the Pro Bowl voters got it right. While Atlanta and Green Bay have faltered, Jones is No. 1 in the NFL in receiving yards and catches 67 percent of passes thrown his way despite being used as a deep target. Adams is No. 3 in the NFL in rating when targeted, just behind Thomas. Thielen belongs as the NFL’s No. 2 receiver in catches.
But Diggs is right in the thick of the NFC’s best in key categories. Pro Football Focus credits him with zero drops, a 107.5 rating when Kirk Cousins throws his way and the 13th best overall grade. He is also 10th in total receptions. Running ability (10 rushes, 62 yards) and the fact that Thielen gained just 22 yards in the only game that Diggs missed this year due to injury can be added to his resume.
Not that Jones and Adams should be ignored, but the tie did not go to the player on the winning team, in this case. More than half of Jones’ yards have come with his team trailing, in part because of the sheer ineptitude of their defense.
Why the NFL hasn’t made a change to honor six receivers is puzzling. Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster was left off the AFC roster with 95 catches and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans averages a league-high 17.9 yards per catch.
It doesn’t make much sense that there are three QBs and three RBs — the average number each team has on a roster — but only four receivers and two tight ends. Nearly every team has six receivers and three TEs.
Of course, Diggs will have a chance to get into the Pro Bowl when players either drop out or find themselves in the Super Bowl. Last year star safety Harrison Smith was left out initially and eventually added.