When the NFL’s all-decade team was announced on Monday, there was one notable Eagle omitted.
Jason Kelce has a case to be called the best center in the NFL in the 2010s but he was not one of the two centers named to the team. My colleague Reuben Frank called it an “egregious” snub.
Kelce, on the WIP morning show Tuesday, was very diplomatic about his name being left off the list.
“I’m not upset,” Kelce said. “One, because the guys who were named are guys I have a lot of respect and admiration for in Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey. Maurkice has been the most decorated center over the decade without question, the amount of Pro Bowls and All-Pros he’s been a part of is spectacular.
“And then Alex Mack has probably been the most consistent center throughout his time in the NFL. He’s a great all-around player, he plays the position every single team would appreciate. Big, strong, smart, athletic, fast, everything you would want in a center and he’s more than deserving of that honor as well.”
During the last decade, here’s how their individual accomplishments stack up:
Maurkice Pouncey: 8 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros
Alex Mack: 6 Pro Bowls
Jason Kelce: 3 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros
A big difference between the three is that Pouncey and Mack were both first-round picks and Kelce was a sixth-rounder. Sometimes, as Roob pointed out, it takes later-round picks, especially offensive linemen, to get their due. And the fact that Kelce has had one season where he’s been an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler is laughable; it shows the flaws in the process.
But Kelce, 32, said he actually understood why he wasn’t named to the list.
With myself, if I’m looking at it realistically, I don’t think I was consistent enough to get that position,” Kelce said. “If you look at my career, at my best, I’ve probably been as good, if not better than the majority of the guys at my position. At my worst, I’ve had a couple of down years. Mainly one in particular where I wasn’t as good. In the NFL, the true mark of a great player is consistency. The guys that are able to win each and every single week are the guys that are, in the long run, going to get these types of honors and accolades.
This is a pretty honest assessment and there’s some truth to it. To me, when Kelce has been at the top of his game during his career, he’s the best center in the league. His athleticism allows him to do things no other center can. But he’s right; it hasn’t always been consistent.
When he mentions that one particular year, Kelce is probably talking about 2016. He has previously called it the worst year of his career, which is funny because that’s actually when he made his second of three Pro Bowls. While ProFootballFocus isn’t perfect, Kelce’s grade that season was the lowest in his career (by a good margin) aside from his rookie campaign.
But since that 2016 season, Kelce has been dominant. He’s been the best center in the NFL over the last three years, being named a first-team All-Pro in all three seasons. That’s an incredibly high level of sustained play that not even Pouncey or Mack can say they’ve attained.
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