2015 Pro Bowl: Zero St. Louis Rams Ranked In The Top 10 In Votes


January 25, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) interviews Rams punter Johnny Hekker (8) during the 2014 Pro Bowl Ohana Day at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Within the last month, the announcement was made that the majority of the Greatest Show on Turf had made it to the “next round” of the Hall of Fame selection process. Included on that list was Torry Holt, one of the Top 10 wide receivers of all time, and a key piece of the greatest offensive unit the NFL has ever seen. However, five years removed from the game of football, few would have imagined that Holt would still be one of the last five Rams players to make the cut for the Pro Bowl; that invitation coming over a half-decade ago in 2007.

Since that time, only three players have experienced the what-used-to-be honor of playing in Hawaii: Steven Jackson, Robert Quinn, and Johnny Hekker. The historically prestigious designation of “Pro Bowler” has, in the modern age, turned into a glorified popularity contest, with attributes like market size, name recognition, and fan dedication playing more of a role than actual performance on the field.

Look no further than this year to make that case. The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers each have 18 players ranking in the Top 10 at their position in votes. You read the correctly: All but six of their 25 starters (including punter, kicker, and returner) are among the best in the league, according to fans. Furthermore, players like Troy Polamalu, who are nationally recognized, but are well over the hill in terms of performance, still rank Top 5 at their position.

That leads us to the St. Louis Rams, who are currently sitting with a grand total of zero players in the Top 10 at their position in Pro Bowl votes. Really?

Right off the bat, there are a handful of players that immediately jump to the forefront.

Aaron Donald should be the leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and could easily be argued as the No.3 overall interior defensive linemen in the NFL this season; pick your stat, he has it. Alec Ogletree, despite some early struggles in coverage, still ranks Top 10 among all linebacker in solo tackles, T-2nd among all linebackers in forced fumbles, 1st among all linebackers in pass deflections, and T-2nd among all linebackers in interceptions. Johnny Hekker is (again) Top 5 in nearly every meaningful punting category (min. 40 attempts), including return percentage (3rd), total return yards allowed (3rd), and average net yards (5th). Even players like E.J. Gaines, Janoris Jenkins, and T.J. McDonald deserve Top 10 consideration over players like Leodis McKelvin, Patrick Peterson, Antoine Cason, and Antrel Rolle.

Last year, it took a 19.0 sack performance from Robert Quinn and the overriding vote from the players and coaches to get Johnny Hekker into the game. What will it take this year? Does it even matter?