The NFL released their 2015 Pro Bowl Ballot on Monday. You can click here to cast your vote for who you want to see play in the league's annual meaningless exhibition game during the week before the 2015 Super Bowl. These are the following eligible Eagles players:
QB: Nick Foles
RB: LeSean McCoy
WR: Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper
TE: Brent Celek
OT: Jason Peters
OG: Todd Herremans, Matt Tobin
C: Jason Kelce
DE: Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton
DT: Bennie Logan
ILB: Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans
OLB: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin
CB: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher
SS: Nate Allen
FS: Malcolm Jenkins
K: Cody Parkey
RS: No one
P: Donnie Jones
ST: No one
OK, so it's not really easy to get fired up about the Pro Bowl, but there are some really noticeable ballot snubs here as far as Eagles players are concerned.
Eagles second year tight end Zach Ertz ranks 11th among all tight ends in receiving yards with 306, tied for 16th in touchdowns with 2, 1st in average yards per catch with 16.1, and 1st in receptions of 20+ yards with 7. Meanwhile, Eagles starting tight end Brent Celek only has 10 receptions for 75 yards and 0 touchdowns. Celek is far from worthless; he's a great blocker and that's why he plays more often (69.5% offensive snaps) than Ertz does (56.4%). But with that said, Ertz should be on this list.
Another Eagles key contributor isn't a full-time starter. Sproles is averaging a league-leading 6.6 yards per carry (minimum 25% snaps) with 211 yards on 32 rushes and 3 touchdowns. As a receiver, Sproles has contributed with 16 receptions for 198 yards (12.4 average). Sproles has only played 32.1% of Philadelphia's offensive snaps, so it wasn't a total shock to see him not listed with the running backs.
At the very least, however, I expected him to be eligible as a returner. Sproles leads the NFL in punt return yards with 280 (next closest is 172) and a second-best average of 15.6 yards per return. His long is 82 yards and he even took one punt return to the house for a touchdown.
Sproles became the first player in NFL history to win both Offensive Player of the Week (Week 2) and Special Teams Player of the Week (Week 4) in the first month of a season. But apparently he can't get any love on the ballot.
Eagles Special Teamers
Now this is the most ridiculous one. The Eagles have the top ranked special teams unit in the NFL as rated by Football Outsiders (second best if you go by Pro Football Focus). Yet, somehow, the ballot lists 22 special team players and none of them are members of the Eagles! (Two former Eagles appear: wide receiver Russell Shepard and safety Colt Anderson).
This seems pretty ridiculous. Chris Maragos has five special teams tackle and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Brad Smith (who is currently injured) has a special team tackle and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Rookie tight end Trey Burton has made some key blocks on returns, blocked a punt, and has at least two special teams tackles. Veteran tight end James Casey has notched five special teams tackles and blocked a punt. Bryan Braman and Emmanuel Acho have at least two special teams tackles each as well.
Maragos (or Casey) probably makes the most sense here. This ballot snub is the most disappointing because special teams guys are already unheralded and this unit deserves to be at least represented on the ballot.
Keep in mind there's still time for these players to be added. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was a late addition last season. In the meantime, let your displeasure be heard.