Pro Bowl voting is open for fans, and players are beginning to campaign for votes. On Wednesday, Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith stood on the table for the team’s offensive line.
After practice, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was asked which players should be considered for the honor.
“I don’t really get into that,” Arians said. “I’m not really a fan of how they vote anymore. [Compared to] the way it used to be.”
But as he pondered the question, Arians offered his thoughts.
“If Ali [Marpet] is left off, it’s a crime,” Arians said.
Marpet has never made a Pro Bowl despite being one of the league’s top guards for most of his career. The seven-year veteran could have made it last year, but a concussion caused him to miss three games. When he returned, Marpet took a couple of games to get back to form.
Marpet has been dominant in 2021, but is coming off his worst performance of the season against Washington’s Jonathan Allen. The Bucs left guard gave up three first half pressures and a big run stop, but battled back to play better in the second half.
“If Tristan [Wirfs] is left off it’s a crime,” Arians said. “Maybe Donny [Donovan Smith]. Obviously Tom [Brady] and Mike [Evans], and even Chris [Godwin].”
Bucs WR Mike Evans and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
Wirfs and Smith have been among the best offensive tackles in the NFL this season. They were both outstanding again on Sunday, even in a game where the Bucs offense struggled. Wirfs has surrendered eight pressures and one sack this season, while Smith has given up 15 pressures and one sack, per PFF.
Brady, Evans and Godwin are obvious inclusions at this time. Brady should be a lock, while Evans’ touchdown numbers (nine, second-best in the NFL) make him a strong option. Center Ryan Jensen has also played at an elite level, but wasn’t mentioned.
“Defensively, Devin [White] for sure,” Arians said. “Vita [Vea]. Everybody else has missed too much time probably. Shaq [Barrett], if he goes back up with the sacks that he’s been up to.”
Bruce Arians remains White’s number one fan, despite a less than stellar year so far for the linebacker. Week 10 was a step in the right direction for White however. The linebacker had 18 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and two sacks. There were some negative plays, but White got the splash plays he’s become known for too. There is no chance he should get Pro Bowl consideration for his first eight games of the season. But we’ll see what the rest of the year holds.
Vea has one sack and 18 tackles. He’s a valuable cog in the Bucs defense, but it’s doubtful those numbers are Pro Bowl-worthy. Barrett has been good, and the NFC is a glut of “we’ll see” edge defenders behind Nick Bosa.
With Carlton Davis III, Lavonte David and Antoine Winfield Jr. missing some games, they aren’t in consideration for the Pro Bowl right now. We’ll see what the next eight games hold for David and Winfield.
Last year the Bucs had one lone Pro Bowler, outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, en route to winning Super Bowl LV. Pierre-Paul has been injured all season after tearing his rotator cuff in his shoulder in Week 1. He has 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble this year in seven games.