NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks: Wide Receivers

NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks: Wide Receivers

Fifth in a series. Voting for the NFL Pro Bowl has come to an end with official rosters to be announced on Tuesday, December 20 on an NFL Network Pro Bowl Special. The game itself will be played on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. This Barroom series reveals the NFC North division players who are the most deserving of an all-expense paid trip down to sunny Florida. The following are our picks for the wide receiver position and below you can find links to our other position awards.

NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks: WIDE RECEIVERS

Stefon Diggs (MIN),  Jordy Nelson (GB), Golden Tate (DET), Davante Adams (GB)

Pro Bowl

Going into week 15  Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs has 78 receptions. That’s 15 fewer than the NFL’s leader Antonio Brown. But, the Steelers ‘wide out has had 38 more passes thrown to him than Diggs (139 to 101). It’s not unreasonable to think that had Diggs not missed game 11 with a knee injury and had a season-low 38 snaps last week, the second-year receiver would be on Brown’s tail for the league lead in catches.

Diggs’ is proving he’s one of the league’s best draft finds of the decade. In his rookie season, despite not being activated until week four, the fifth-round pick had 52 catches. In his career debut he caught six passes for 87 yards against the league’s best defense, the Denver Broncos. In no time he proved he was a big-play threat. This season he began with a seven-catch 103 yard performance against the Tennessee Titans. The following week, on national television, he burned the Green Bay Packers (in Sam Bradford’s debut) for 182 yards and a touchdown. In November, over a two week stretch no receiver was hotter than Diggs.

Diggs’ brilliance is a combined feistiness to succeed, a dedication to studying and route-running expertise that makes him totally reliable to quarterbacks. Consider that his success is coming with a quarterback he spent no time with in the preseason. Diggs recently told the that his rapport with Bradford has come from extra reps and being on the same page, “Sam’s big on making good decisions and I’m big on being where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there. So for my quarterback it’s just about trying to be on the same page at all different times.”

For NFC North defensive coordinators and defensive backs outside of Minnesota the scary thing about Diggs is that he is only scratching the surface of his talent.

In Green Bay, we’re seeing veteran Jordy Nelson work his way back to becoming one of the elite receivers in the NFL. Nelson will likely never be the same wide receiver he was prior to his 2015 knee injury, because it’s clear the speed will not come back. But his effectiveness already has. Currently Nelson leads the NFL in touchdown receptions with 12, one ahead of Brown. He’s well on his way to a 1,000 yard season (913) and he’s doing it as a possession receiver.

Prior to the ACL injury that forced him to miss all of last season Nelson combined great route running with blazing speed. In 2011, he averaged 18 yards a catch and in 2013 and 14 he was at 15 per catch. This year, he’s down to 12, but that’s okay. The ability to get open is still there and the connection with quarterback Aaron Rodgers borders on being an extrasensory perception between the two. After a win over the Detroit Lions where Nelson had six catches for 101 yards and two scores, Aaron Rodgers described Nelson as being, “Very cerebral, smart, great second, third reactions.” 

Nelson is a Pro Bowler at the Barroom and the leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

Pro Bowl


In our discussions over who should be the third receiver in our NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl picks BJ Reidell disagreed on who should be No. 3. He made the strong case for Davante Adams whereas I thought Golden Tate deserved the edge over the Packers’ receiver. Due diligence forced me to agree with the Barroom’s Executive Editor.

Statistically, the two players are close. Adams has recorded  77 more receiving yards than Tate thus far this season on fewer targets. But, both players have had weak performances where they virtually disappeared. Tate, in fact, was benched for a portion of the second half in the early season Chicago Bears game when his blown route led to an interception in what proved to be a one-score loss. Adams has had six games were he had three or less receptions.

Then I found the stat that convinced me that Reidell was right: Touchdowns.

Adams has had more big plays and better results. Case closed. Even in those games where he caught three or fewer catches, Adams managed two touchdowns. The argument can be made that Adams benefits from a better cast (offensive line, complimentary receivers) but it doesn’t help. Tate’s performance this year has been more inconsistent as he seems to battle lapses in concentration and discipline.

Both players make our NFCN Pro Bowl team, but Adams comes in third to Tate’s fourth.

Honorable Mentions: Adam Thielen (MIN), Randall Cobb (GB) Alshon Jeffery (CHI)


NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks – Defensive Linemen

NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks: Linebackers

NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks: Defensive Backs

NFCN Barroom Pro Bowl Picks: Running Backs

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Aldo Gandia

Aldo Gandia

Among my career highlights I have produced two films while in high school that received nationwide attention; leaned out of a helicopter over the Gulf of Suez at the age of 20 to shoot movies of oil rigs; won an Emmy award for a sports special and another for a kid's fitness show; and led a team of very talented creative professionals to produce break-through corporate communications.

Tags assigned to this article:
Davante AdamsGolden TateJordy NelsonStefon Diggs

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