With football season winding down, the NFL released their rosters for the 2018 Pro Bowl, which covers the 2017–18 because things are dumb. This will be the second year returning to the AFC vs. NFC format and three California Golden Bears made the rosters.
- WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers, (Cal from 2010–2012)
- C Alex Mack, Atlanta Falcons, (Cal from 2004–2008)
- DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints, (Cal from 2007–2010)
Allen made NFL history this year by being the first player to go three-straight games with at least 10 catches for 100 yards and one touchdown, putting up crazy numbers during the season thanks to hard work during training camp.
Looking good, 13!— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 14, 2017
Check out @Keenan13Allen’s jersey on display at the @ProFootballHOF from his record-breaking game.
Allen was the 1st player in NFL history to have 3 consecutive games with at least 10 receptions, 100 yards receiving and 1 touchdown. pic.twitter.com/Ts4OxWhzmn
The Chargers maximize Allen’s agility and instincts by getting him the ball in space, using him more out of the slot, where he often draws man-to-man coverage, and throwing to him on quick slants, crossing patterns and underneath routes.
Allen, according to Pro Football Focus, ranks second in the NFL behind Detroit’s Golden Tate with 386 yards after the catch. Thirty-two of them came on a nifty 42-yard touchdown play against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, when Allen eluded five defenders down the left sideline en route to the end zone.
This is Mack’s fifth Pro Bowl in his nine-year career. He’s been in Atlanta for two years now and he’s been called the “most important” player on the roster... for both freakin’ years—in 2016 for their Super Bowl run and again this year. It’s amazing that he’s being recognized for his stability despite his ability to turn into water. (That joke is amazing and if you don’t like it, then please stop reading my content from now on.)
[Mack’s] stability in the middle of the Falcons’ offensive line allows for all of the players around him to flourish. It’s no coincidence that his arrival before the 2016 season coincided with the transformation of an offense that ranked 21st in points scored the year prior to one that became one of the best in NFL history.
Last season, Mack finished fourth among centers with a PFF grade of 88.7. Thus far in 2017, his grade of 93 is the best mark in the league and nearly four points higher than the next-best center. There has been no dip in the level of play at the center position for the Falcons this season, and Mack is one of the most well-rounded offensive linemen in the NFL.
Jordan is the Saints’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Check out this video on Jordan’s weekly volunteering with youth in the community. On the field, Jordan is considered one of the best edge-defenders today—if not just one of the best defensive players period.
Jordan is the highest-rated edge-rusher in the NFL this year, according to Pro Football Focus. His grade of 92.7 is the only one in the league above 90.
Jordan was also rated as the No. 3 edge-rusher by PFF last year. But he got snubbed from his third career Pro Bowl berth because he only had 7.5 sacks (and because the Saints were 7-9). Never mind the fact that Jordan tied for the NFL lead last year with 17 tackles for loss and ranked in the top seven with 24 quarterback hits and five batted passes.
Sacks alone have never told the full story with Jordan, who ranks ninth in the NFL with 50.5 sacks since 2012 and tied for fifth over that span with 21 batted passes. He has also been a terrific run defender (which the Saints thought would be his greatest asset early in his career after they drafted him in the first round out of Cal in 2011).
According to PFF, Jordan has the third-highest pass-rush grade of any edge-rusher this year and the fourth-highest run-defense grade.
Huge congrats to Keenan, Alex, and Cameron for the recognition. Their tenures in Berkeley spanned 2004–2012, including having two of these players per year from 2007–2010.