The Pro Bowl rosters were announced last night and there was just one Texan who made it–defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The third year defensive end has put together a great season filling in for J.J. Watt along the defensive line, but there was another Texan who should have been named to the Pro Bowl roster.
Lamar Miller was one of the biggest free agent signings of this offseason. The young back was coming into his fifth year this season and still at just 25 years old, he seemed due for a big season. He rewarded the Texans with 1,073 rushing yards so far this season with five rushing touchdowns on a career high 268 carries. He’s also added 31 catches for 188 yards and a score.
Now statistically, it is hard to argue against the three backs that were selected ahead of him. DeMarco Murray of the Titans has bounced back in a big way in Tennessee with 1,224 yards and nine touchdowns. Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers has 1,146 yards and LeSean McCoy of the Bills has rushed for 1,129 yards this season.
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But when you think about the sheer impact the player had on the team, it’s hard not to give Miller one of those three slots. Considering the lackluster quarterback play the Texans have endured this season and the ability of other teams to focus much more on Miller, it makes Miller’s performance that much more impressive.
Bell has been supported by a Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and all-pro receiver in Antonio Brown while McCoy has had a playmaking QB in Tyrod Taylor as well. I’d argue Miller is more valuable to his team than either; despite not having as big of numbers.
As for Clowney, his Pro Bowl nomination is well deserved. He has finally played like the impact player he was drafted to be. Not a great pass rusher, but his role changed in light of the injury to J.J. Watt. He had to defend the run too, and he has become one of the best in the NFL in that area. He has 49 tackles and 11 for loss. On top of that, he’s among the team leaders with five sacks.
That said, I imagine Miller will get to Orlando (the site of the Pro Bowl–lame). The Steelers could make the Super Bowl (getting healthy at the right time) which would keep Bell out. On top of that, one of those three guys will likely get injured before the end of the year or “injured” and pull out of the Pro Bowl.