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Rookie Standout Among Patriots Left Off 2023 Pro Bowl Ballot

A total of 29 New England Patriots players are eligible to receive fan votes for the 2023 Pro Bowl.

But a new notable names were not included on the initial ballot, which was posted on NFL.com this week. Among the snubs: cornerback Jack Jones, wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, tight end Jonnu Smith and special teamer Brenden Schooler.

Bourne and Smith are not having Pro Bowl-caliber seasons, so their exclusion was not surprising. But Jones has put himself in the conversation for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with his play through 10 weeks. The fourth-round draft pick currently is Pro Football Focus’s second-highest graded player at his position by Pro Football Focus, and he ranks fifth in passer rating against (49.4) among corners with at least 50 coverage snaps, per PFF.

Jones subtly argued his case on Twitter, retweeting a series of fans questioning why he did not make the cut.

Schooler plays a less prominent position, but his numbers also rank among the NFL’s best. The undrafted rookie is tied for third in the league in solo special teams tackles with seven and is one of just five players with multiple fumble recoveries in the kicking game, having pounced on two muffed punts and one blocked punt.

Why were these players omitted? It was a numbers game — and the Patriots’ own choice.

Teams only are allowed to submit a limited number of Pro Bowl nominees, as MassLive.com’s Mark Daniels noted, and New England chose to use their allotted secondary slots to nominate their two starting cornerbacks (Jonathan Jones and Jalen Mills) and top three safeties (Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips).

While Jack Jones is having a terrific debut season, his lone start has come in a game Mills missed due to injury. Jonathan Jones has started all nine games — and has played remarkably well in his transition from slot to outside corner — and Mills has started eight. It’s understandable that the Patriots would opt not to nominate a rookie reserve — even one as impressive as Jones — over a veteran starter. J.C. Jackson faced this predicament in 2020, though New England eventually added him to the ballot.

The same logic applies for Schooler. Teams aren’t allowed to designate more than one Pro Bowl hopeful for any of the specialist positions (kicker, punter, long snapper, return man and special teamer), and there’s no way he was getting the nod over 10-time Pro Bowler and potential future Hall of Famer Matthew Slater.

Fans can cast Pro Bowl votes for the following Patriots players:

QB Mac Jones
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
RB Damien Harris
TE Hunter Henry
WR Jakobi Meyers
WR DeVante Parker
WR Nelson Agholor
OT Isaiah Wynn
OT Trent Brown
G Cole Strange
G Mike Onwenu
C David Andrews

DE Deatrich Wise
DT Davon Godchaux
DT Christian Barmore
DT Lawrence Guy
OLB Matthew Judon
ILB Ja’Whaun Bentley
ILB Jahlani Tavai
CB Jonathan Jones
CB Jalen Mills
S Devin McCourty
S Kyle Dugger
S Adrian Phillips

K Nick Folk
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
PR/KR Marcus Jones
ST Matthew Slater

Fan voting for the 2023 Pro Bowl closes on Dec. 15. This year’s all-star showcase, which replaces the traditional game with a series of skills competitions and a flag football game, is scheduled for Feb. 5 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

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The post Rookie Standout Among Patriots Left Off 2023 Pro Bowl Ballot appeared first on NESN.com.

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