2019 Pro Bowl snubs: Which Patriots (if any) got raw deal in voting?
Selecting All-Star teams in professional sports is like picking your favorite child: Someone's feelings are going to get hurt.
The NFL announced its 2019 Pro Bowl rosters for the AFC and NFC on Tuesday night, and as always, there were some controversial choices. (Should Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers really have made it this year?)
But the players who generate the most buzz are those who don't make the cut. So, which talented players got a raw deal this year?
Here's who we believe were the seven biggest Pro Bowl snubs (AFC and NFC) -- two of which were New England Patriots players you may not expect.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Let's face it: Aaron Rodgers just isn't that good this year. Matt Ryan leads the Green Bay Packers quarterback in every important statistical category and actually has been one of the NFL's best QBs this season based on the numbers.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback boasts the NFL's fourth-highest passer rating (107.6), ranks third in passing yards (4,307) and is tied for fourth in touchdown passes (30). Yes, the Falcons stink -- but so do Rodgers' Packers.
(You also could make the case for Andrew Luck over Brady in the AFC, but Ryan is the bigger snub here.)
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
There was bound to be a snub in the NFC, which is absolutely loaded at running back. Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley all have topped 1,000 yards rushing and are deserving, but who leads all NFL running backs in receiving yards?
That'd be Christian McCaffrey, who has amassed 1,747 yards from scrimmage this season on 979 rushing yards and 768 receiving yards. And how's this for a stat: McCaffrey has accounted for over one third (33.8 percent) of the Carolina Panthers' total offense this season.
Both McCaffrey and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara likely would have made the AFC squad.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
JuJu Smith-Schuster doesn't have the brand recognition yet, but he has the stats of a Pro Bowler.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wideout leads the AFC in receptions (95) and ranks third in receiving yards (1,274). Smith-Schuster's six touchdowns may have hurt his case, but Keenan Allen earned a Pro Bowl nod with six TDs and lower numbers elsewhere.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Vander Esch also may be suffering from a brand-name bias, because he's been one of the best linebackers in the NFL this season. The Cowboys rookie ranks third in the NFC in tackles and has been a bright spot on Dallas' defense all season.
It's hard to leave off Luke Kuechly or Bobby Wagner, but there perhaps should have been a third interior linebacker spot for Vander Esch.
Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City Chiefs
Jones ranks third in the AFC in sacks (14) behind only J.J. Watt and Von Miller, who are both Pro Bowlers. Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram, meanwhile, earned a Pro Bowl nod despite tallying half as many sacks.
Sacks aren't the only important stat for defensive ends, but Jones has been vital to a Kansas City Chiefs pass rush that helps make up for its defensive shortcomings in other areas.
James Develin, FB, New England Patriots
Is fullback the most important position? No. But Develin got robbed here.
The New England Patriots veteran arguably is the NFL's most-used fullback, playing 34.4 percent of the team's offensive snaps while racking up four rushing touchdowns. (That's more TDs than Rob Gronkowski has, for the record).
Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman, who got the AFC nod, has seen the field for just 9.6 percent of Kansas City's offensive snaps. Tough look here.
Matthew Slater, ST, New England Patriots
We'll admit: We didn't pore over special teams film for this one.
But the Patriots' special teams ace had made seven consecutive Pro Bowls before this season and has played in all 14 of New England's games in 2018.
We're sure Chargers special teamer Adrian Phillips is a fine player, but not picking a perennial Pro Bowler who's showing no signs of slowing down feels like an oversight.