Patriots Pro Bowl Snubs: Do These Five Players Deserve Roster Spots?

Shaq Mason and Nick Folk, among others

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Three Patriots players were named to the initial AFC Pro Bowl roster: cornerback J.C. Jackson, linebacker Matthew Judon and special teamer Matthew Slater.

But should New England be more well-represented?

Ultimately, there are no Patriots players who were indefensibly robbed of Pro Bowl nods. However, there are at least five who could make compelling cases for Pro Bowl consideration.

(You can click here to view the full AFC and NFC rosters.)

Here’s our list, along with each player’s respective Pro Football Focus positional ranking, if they have one:

Shaq Mason, G
PFF ranking: third
Consistently one of the most underrated players on the Patriots, Mason is having another great season on the right side of New England’s offensive line. He absolutely is one of the best guards in football. The 28-year-old was edged out by Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson and Cleveland Browns linemen Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller — all of whom are deserving choices.

Nelson arguably is the best offensive lineman on the planet, but his three missed games might’ve opened a door for Mason to earn his first Pro Bowl nod, had Mason himself not missed a pair of games himself.

Adrian Phillips, S
PFF ranking: fourth
Phillips has been one of the best players on New England’s defense since the start of the season while also offering strong performance on special teams. The veteran has four interceptions and has seen at least 70% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps in every game except the season opener. Did he deserve to make the Pro Bowl over Kevin Byard, Tyrann Mathieu and Derwin James? That’s a tough call.

Byard might be the best safety in football and absolutely deserves a spot. You could make the case that Phillips deserves a roster spot over Mathieu and James, but the reality is that name recognition always plays a role in Pro Bowl voting. Either way, Phillips deserves credit for having perhaps the best season of his career.

Nick Folk, K
PFF ranking: not available
Folk has more field goals this season than Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, who got the AFC Pro Bowl nod. However, Folk has missed a combined seven field goals and extra points, while Tucker only has missed two field goals and is perfect on extra points. Plus, Tucker is the best kicker on the planet and was Pro Bowl shoo-in based on name recognition alone.

Still, none of that should take away from the season Folk is having. He’s on the shortlist of Patriots MVPs.

David Andrews, C
PFF ranking: seventh
This one is tricky. Andrews, who led the fan voting at one point, probably deserves to be in over Colts center Ryan Kelly, who hasn’t been as good this season as he was the last two years. But Kelly made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons and has a reputation for being one of the NFL’s best centers. As for Chargers center Corey Linsley, he is more than deserving of a spot on the roster.

Really, you could make arguments for as many as seven AFC centers deserving Pro Bowl nods. So, it’s hard to get too bent out of shape about Andrews being snubbed. That said, the Patriots captain is having another great season and is overdue for recognition as one of the NFL’s best centers.

Joe Cardona, LS
PFF ranking: not available
Cardona finished first in the fan voting and is one of the best long snappers in the league. It was somewhat of a surprise that he got snubbed in favor of Colts long snapper Luke Rhodes. (Indianapolis has an NFL-high seven Pro Bowlers.)

Obviously, it’s hard to quantify the performance of a long snapper, but Cardona has played in every Patriots game since the start of the 2015 season and generally is considered one of the best at his position. Perhaps he’ll get his first Pro Bowl nod next season.

Honorable mentions: Jakob Johnson, FB; Damien Harris, RB; Hunter Henry, TE

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