Fans of the Buffalo Bills are used to seeing their favorite players get snubbed by the Pro Bowl voters year in and year out. However, the Pro Bowl is voted on largely by fans, so that’s understandable. The sad part is that many of the Bills’ best players are left out of the discussion for All-Pro teams, which are voted on by professional writers from around the country, that are supposed to be intelligent and articulate regarding the players they cover.
When only free safety Jairus Byrd was just a second team All-Pro selection, receiving just seven votes, Queen City Sports decided to look at what other players on the Bills got snubbed, compared to those who were worthy of All Pro selections in the eyes of the writers. While the selected players aren’t necessarily all deserving of an All-Pro recognition, these comparisons are designed to show just how skewed the system is.
RB C.J. Spiller Vs. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
C.J. Spiller didn’t garner one single All-Pro vote this year. Jamaal Charles, a similar running back, received seven. Let’s compare the two. Spiller rushed for 1,244 yards on 207 carries, scoring five touchdowns. Charles rushed for 265 more yards, totaling 1,509, but did so on 285 carries-78 more carries than Spiller received. While Spiller averaged a near-record 6.0 yards per carry, Charles gained a modest 5.3 yards per carry. In the passing game, Spiller caught 43 passes for 459 yards, scoring twice, while Charles had 35 receptions for just 256 yards, finding the endzone once. Charles also dropped four passes, while Spiller dropped one.
Spiller forced an astounding 66 missed tackles, best for fourth in the entire National Football League, despite receiving 108 less carries than anybody else ahead of him. Charles forced just 24 missed tackles for the year.
C.J. was the most efficient running back in the NFL this season, making more out of his 250 touches than most running backs did with over 300. For Spiller to not receive one single vote for the All-Pro team is a disgrace, showing just how little Buffalo Bills are factored into the voting.
G Andy Levitre Vs. G Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
First of all, the fact that Logan Mankins can even qualify for this award despite missing six games baffles me. Mankins is one of the highest paid guards in the National Football League, but he obviously earned his All-Pro selection based on name recognition over play on the field. Andy Levitre has quietly become one of the best guards in the league over the past two seasons, and rarely gets any credit for the dirty work put in on the interior offensive line.
Levitre participated in 572 snaps in which he was required to pass block. In those 572 snaps, he allowed a pressure just 12 times, just 2% of his plays. Mankins was required to pass block on 427 plays, allowing 16 pressures. That’s a 2% increase in pressures over Levitre. Levitre received a grade of +17.6 from ProFootballFocus, a website dedicated to analytic statistics in the National Football League. A grade of 0.0 is deemed as the league average. While Mankins’ +9.8 grade is respectable, Levitre blew him out of the water.
Bills’ center Eric Wood missed two games this season, but still had more pass blocking attempts than Maurkice Pouncey. In Wood’s 483 plays in which he was asked to block the quarterback, he allowed just 10 pressures, compared to Pouncey’s 11 pressures allowed in 456 pass blocking attempts. While Pouncey grades out as the 14th best center in the National Football League, according to ProFootballFocus’ evaluations, the media for some reason, has anointed Pouncey as the next Hall of Fame-in waiting offensive lineman, while his brother is probably a better player.
DE Mario Williams Vs. DE Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears
Aside from total sacks, Mario Williams was a much better and more productive player this season than Julius Peppers. Williams was the more stout run defender, and contributed more playing time to his team. Williams recorded 46 tackles, forced two fumbles, and got to the quarterback 10.5 times this year, while Peppers contributed 39 tackles, one forced fumble, and 11.5 sacks. Peppers received five votes, while Williams didn’t receive a single one.
Williams batted down three passes, while Peppers deflected two. Williams generated 38 hurries, while Peppers had 32. Williams was leaps and bounds ahead of Peppers in terms of run defense, making 35 stops at or behind the line of scrimmage, while Peppers recorded just 15.
DT Kyle Williams Vs. DT/DE Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens
Another productive Bills player that didn’t receive an All-Pro vote, while the more popular name of similar production received five. Kyle Williams was the third most disruptive interior lineman in the National Football League, generating 45 quarterback pressures, while the Baltimore Ravens’ hybrid defensive end/ defensive tackle generated 38. Ngata made 51 tackles compared to Williams’ 46, but both had five sacks. Williams was the better run defender of the two, making 27 stops at or behind the line of scrimmage, compared to Ngata’s 19. Ngata also missed four tackles.
Williams was the far greater overall player as well, grading out with a +29.4 score in terms of run defense, pass rushing, and coverage, while Ngata scored a +8.7.
CB Stephon Gilmore Vs. CB Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
Stephon Gilmore was thrown to the wolves in his rookie season, acting as the Buffalo Bills’ No. 1 cornerback, being asked to cover opposing No. 1 wideouts week-in-and-week out. Champ Bailey has been recognized as one of the best defensive backs in the National Football League for several seasons, but how does the Bills’ rookie compare to the Denver Broncos’ 14-year veteran?
Gilmore made 61 tackles, defended 16 passes, made an interception, and forced three fumbles. Bailey recorded 66 tackles, defended just nine passes, and had two interceptions. While Bailey participated in seven more coverage snaps, Gilmore was the more targeted cornerback of the two, as opposing quarterbacks passed in his direction 87 times. Bailey was targeted 74 times. Gilmore allowed 49 receptions to Bailey’s 40. While the two players’ statistics were very similar, Bailey received eight votes, while Gilmore probably didn’t even cross the mind of a voter.
Returner Leodis McKelvin Vs. David Wilson, New York Giants
Leodis McKelvin returned both kicks and punts, while the New York Giants’ rookie running back exclusively returned kickoffs. However, McKelvin was ProFootballFocus’ top rated special teams return man. Jacoby Jones of the Baltimore Ravens was definitely deserving of his All-Pro selection, but was Wilson?
McKelvin returned 18 kickoffs, averaging 28.3 yards per return, while returning 23 punts for an 18.7 yards per return, finding the endzone twice. David Wilson returned 57 kickoffs, averaging 26.9 yards per return with a touchdown. However, if you eliminate his great performance against the New Orleans Saints, he had just 1,306 return yards, no touchdowns, and an average of 24.6 yards per return.