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Were Seahawks Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett snubbed by the Pro Bowl

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Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

When the NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday evening, only two members of the Seattle Seahawks made the squad, All Universe linebacker Bobby Wagner and rookie phenom punter Michael Dickson. Of the multiple Seahawks who made the team as alternates, one of the players who received the most outcry about having been snubbed is Frank Clark, who is an alternate, but is not a starter.

Thus, the question becomes, was he snubbed?

Fans of the Hawks (and other teams) reacted on social media and elsewhere regarding the omission of Clark from the NFC squad. Here’s a sampling of some of the reaction on Twitter:

So, obviously, multiple fans think Clark was snubbed, so let’s turn to the stats and see. There’s no doubt that Clark is easily having the best season of his young NFL career, as he has been a terror for opposing quarterbacks all season, recording 12 sacks and 21 quarterback hits. How does that compare to the three defensive ends that made the NFC Pro Bowl team?

Frank Clark and Pro Bowl DEs rushing the passer in 2018

Player Sacks QB Hits Total Pressure Snaps Played
Player Sacks QB Hits Total Pressure Snaps Played
Frank Clark 12 21 50 643
Cameron Jordan 12 20 58 781
DeMarcus Lawrence 9.5 18 57 661
Danielle Hunter 14.5 19 64 756

So, by those measures Clark is certainly in the discussion for being in place when it comes time for the Pro Bowl to announce the players who made it. However, these are obviously all numbers that are accumulated in the passing game, so the question follows, where does Clark stack up when it comes to making plays in the running game, and here we start to see some separation between Clark and the other players.

Frank Clark and Pro Bowl DEs against the run in 2018

Player Tackles TFL Snaps Played
Player Tackles TFL Snaps Played
Frank Clark 36 9 643
Cameron Jordan 45 17 781
DeMarcus Lawrence 58 14 661
Danielle Hunter 66 20 756

There is zero doubt that when looking at these from a run-stopping perspective, Frank Clark comes in below the other three. Thus, when combining the fact that the pass rushing numbers are largely the same for all four players, the fact that Clark’s contributions in stopping the run fall short of the other three leads me to believe that Pro Bowl selection process actually made the correct decision putting him as an alternate.

Now, can an argument be made that Clark should have made the Pro Bowl? Absolutely. But in my opinion, the three guys who did make it, are the three guys who should have made it.

Moving on to one of the other players for whom there have been some loud voices on social media, Tyler Lockett was also not selected to the Pro Bowl roster. This in spite of having recorded 800 yards and 9 touchdowns in an offense that throws the ball less often than any other offense in the NFL, which appears to have been the problem.

Yes, there is no doubt that Lockett is having a phenomenally efficient season, and that he has returned to health in 2018 to fill the void left by the departure of Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham. However, players don’t make the Pro Bowl based on efficiency because fans still like big counting numbers. Thus, let’s go ahead and compare Lockett’s 2018 numbers to those players who did make the Pro Bowl: Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Adam Thielen and Davante Adams.

Tyler Lockett next to 2018 Pro Bowl WRs

Player Receptions Targets Catch Rate Yards Yards/Reception TD
Player Receptions Targets Catch Rate Yards Yards/Reception TD
Tyler Lockett 51 64 79.69% 800 15.7 9
Julio Jones 100 152 65.79% 1511 15.1 6
Michael Thomas 109 127 85.83% 1267 11.6 8
Adam Thielen 105 143 73.43% 1255 12.0 9
Davante Adams 100 151 66.23% 1315 13.2 12
Mystery Man 92 120 76.67% 1265 13.8 13

As you see, the last row in the table is an anonymous player I’ve named the “Mystery Man” because if there is a wide receiver in the NFC who warrants having made the Pro Bowl roster over one of the four receivers that actually did make it, that would be my vote.

Unfortunately, Mystery Man isn’t a real person, it’s the combined stats of Lockett and Doug Baldwin.

So, yes, there is absolutely zero debate whatsoever that Lockett is having a phenomenal season, and that his phenomenal season is the result of a historically efficient season. At the end of the day Pro Bowl voters want big numbers, and no receiver in the current Seahawks offense is going to put up the kind of numbers necessary to make the Pro Bowl. Thus, if you have an issue with Lockett having been left off the Pro Bowl roster, it seems more appropriate to take it up with Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer than it does to complain about the process or how Lockett never stood a chance in the offensive system in which he plays.

Just to demonstrate how little the Seahawks actually throw the ball, and how few opportunities he actually gets as a receiver, here are Lockett’s numbers compared to the four Pro Bowl tight ends from both the AFC and the NFC.

Tyler Lockett 2018 stats versus Pro Bowl TEs

Player Receptions Targets Catch Rate Yards Yards/Reception TD
Player Receptions Targets Catch Rate Yards Yards/Reception TD
Tyler Lockett 51 64 79.69% 800 15.7 9
Zach Ertz 101 136 74.26% 1038 10.3 6
George Kittle 72 110 65.45% 1154 16.0 4
Travis Kelce 93 132 70.45% 1220 13.1 10
Eric Ebron 59 99 59.60% 662 11.2 12

Looking at that, the only thing I can think of is to just imagine how good Eric Ebron could be if he had a real quarterback throwing the ball to him.