Last week the NFL finalized the list of Pro Bowlers for the 2013-14 season. On the list were several young players, first timers, and most importantly five New Orleans Saints. QB Drew Brees, TE Jimmy Graham, OGs Ben Grubbs and Jhari Evans, and DE Cameron Jordan.
This is Drew Brees’ 8th pro bowl selection, 7th as a New Orleans Saint, and 6th consecutive selection. Brees finished the 2013 regular season campaign completing 68.6% of his passes. Brees threw for 5,162 yards and 39 touchdowns this season as well. This is Brees’ 4th 5,000-plus yard season. No other QB in the NFL has ever passed for 5,000 or more yards twice. Truly an All-Pro worthy player.
For Jimmy Graham, the 2013-14 season led to his best in his career. His 2nd career Pro Bowl selection, led the team in all three receiving categories. 86 receptions, 1,215 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. Obviously the Saints’ most important offensive weapon this season. Not a bad season for someone who was injured for a good part of the season.
Ben Grubbs is in his 2nd season with the Saints and he’s proving to be a better choice than overpaying for injury-riddled Carl Nicks who left the Saints for a big payday in Tampa Bay in 2012. This will be Grubbs’ 2nd Pro Bowl selection and first selection with the Saints. He was a Pro Bowler with the Baltimore Ravens in his last season with the team. The former first round pick, who has started all 32 games since joining the Saints, is proving to be one of the better offseason investments the Saints have had in a good while along the offensive line. You don’t hear his name much and when you do it’s almost always for a good block.
The last statement goes for 4-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro Bowl secretion Jhari Evans as well. Evans has only miser done game in his seven year career with the Saints. His selection to the Pro Bowl this season is his 5th consecutive selection. There’s not much else to say about Evans, his work on the field and accolades speak for themselves and will eventually land him in Canton one day.
The Saints final selection for the 2014 Pro Bowl is DE Cameron Jordan. A true testament to how well Rob Ryan has done turning around last year’s worst defense in NFL history. Jordan finished the season with 12.5 sacks which was fifth this season. He was closely followed by teammate Junior Galette who had 12 sacks and was felt to be snubbed by the voters. Hopefully Galette will be listed as a reserve. Regardless Cam Jordan needed this season to be a breakout year for him and he did not disappoint. As he went, so did the defense. He’s increased his sack total every season he’s been in the NFL. Maybe next season he’ll lead the league in sacks. It’s quite possible.
With all five of these Pro Bowl selections, the Saints are hoping to go into the NFC Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles and hash out a win in a very hostile environment in Philly. Maybe they can string together 3 straight road wins and these guys won’t have to play in the Pro Bowl game. Anything is possible.