Five WVUPros on the NFL Pro Bowl Ballot
The NFL released their ballots for the annual Pro Bowl in Orlando. Five Mountaineers have a chance of being selected, and your votes could help them make it.
Those who could get selected are Tavon Austin (WR), Quinton Spain (Guard), Nick Kwiatkoski (ILB), Bruce Irvin (OLB), and Karl Joseph (SS).
Spain has started seven games this season, but has missed time with a turf toe injury. He returned to action for Tennessee in their Thursday night clash at Pittsburgh. Spain is a huge piece (no pun intended, but he physically is) of the Titans’ offensive line, and does a particularly good job blocking in the run game. His absence was felt during the Titans’ previous two games.
Although the Rams are the most improved team this season offensively, Austin’s touches have been few. He had offseason wrist surgery and missed the implementation of new head coach Sean McVay’s offense. Both his on-field time and touches are down. As this season has rolled on, McVay has used Austin in the rushing game more often. So far this season, he has 171 rushing yards compared to 43 through the air.
Irvin’s sack numbers are down from this time last season. His quarterback-crunching partner Khalil Mack has seen a similar drop in production. However, Irvin has produced elsewhere on the field. His total tackles are up (23 tackles through 9 games in 2016 vs. 31 through 9 this season).
Karl Joseph missed one game this season with a groin injury, but is still tied with two other players for the team lead in tackles (50). While some might say that it’s not good for a safety to have so many tackles, Joseph plays a hybrid role where he spends a good amount of time playing down in the box in run support and on quarterback blitzes. He is a difference-maker when healthy.
Kwiatkoski has seen his season limited by injuries. He has played in four games. He started the Bears previous contest against Green Bay and compiled a team-high 9 tackles and one sack. He shows just 15 tackles on the year, but he is very productive when on the field in a starting role.