The NFL announced its Pro Bowl teams for this season on Wednesday and three Seattle Seahawks were named to the NFC roster. Oddly, all three are defensive players, the unit that likely struggles most for Seattle. The three Seattle players who received the Pro Bowl nod are linebacker Bobby Wagner, rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon, and safety Julian Love.
Perhaps the most surprising player on the Seattle list is Love. That he is a Pro Bowler might also be a damning indictment on defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. For much of the season when Jamal Adams was healthy enough to play, he would get more snaps than Love. Love still currently sits at playing 78 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps this year (a number that has increased with Adams missing the last several games) compared to 86 percent for Adams.
As we have seen in recent games, Seattle's pass defense is much better overall with Love playing in the backend instead of Adams. Love also has a decent passer rating allowed at 82.9 while Adams' is 111.7. That Hurtt saw Love and Adams in practice and games and decided to play Adams more should make one question Hurtt's decision making.
Three Seattle Seahawks get Pro Bowl nod for 2023-24 season
This season marks the second straight season that Seattle has had a rookie cornerback named to the Pro Bowl. Riq Woolen got the nod last year. Witherspoon is graded by Pro Football Focus (subscription required) as the 8th-best corner in the NFL this season.
This will be the ninth time Wagner has been named to the Pro Bowl. That ties left tackle Walter Jones and quarterback Russell Wilson for the most times in Seahawks history. Wagner ranks second in the league in tackles with 168 and also has 3.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
Either Seattle players were named as alternates to the Pro Bowl. This includes special teamer Nick Bellore, linebacker Jordyn Brooks, punter Michael Dickson, safety Quandre Diggs, outside linebacker Boye Mafe, receiver DK Metcalf, quarterback Geno Smith and running back Kenneth Walker III. Diggs has had a poor year and that he made the Pro Bowl alternates might prove that partly the Pro Bowl is simply a popularity contest but only in terms of being named an alternate.
Besides Wagner, Witherspoon, and Love, DK Metcalf should have made the NFC Pro Bowl roster as well, instead of just an alternate. He currently averages 17.0 yards per catch, second in the conference, His 8 touchdown catches rank fifth in the NFC. Metcalf has a career second-best 1,104 receiving yards this year.
Mafe would also be a good candidate to make the Pro Bowl straight up instead of as an alternate. His 9 sacks rank fifth among edge rushers in the NFC. His pass rush win rate of 18 percent also ranks fifth in the conference. Mafe currently leads the Seahawks with 9 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, and is second behind Wagner with 9 tackles for loss.