Did you ever wonder how New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis was an All-Pro but not a Pro Bowler?
Now that the season is over and we have time to reflect on the New Orleans Saints season at-large, I wanted to take a look at how an exceptional linebacker can be an All-Pro but not a Pro Bowler.
There is no doubt that Demario Davis is one of the most dominant linebackers in the NFC, quite possibly the NFL, so why is there a lack of hype that goes with his name?
There have been many theories as to why this is the case, such as defensive scheme, lack of attention from the draft and early years in the league, lack of flashiness to his game, and being on a team with so much talent that he gets overlooked.
These are a few of the many, but in my opinion, none of them justify why such a great player is constantly refused accolades that he deserves from the fans, peers, and coaches.
I think all of the before mentioned reasons are valid and have some bearing on this dilemma, but I still couldn’t wrap my brain around why the Associated Press could identify the level of play, but the people of the game could not.
Then it hit me, change!
It is that simple, the NFL has changed from “stat driven” to ” key stat driven.”
Let me explain.
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According to ESPN Stats on player profiles, there are four statistics that are highlighted. Solo tackles, sacks, forced fumbles, and interceptions are the four that immediately stand out. You can dig further to find additional information but let’s focus on these key factors.
When comparing Davis to the NFC linebackers on the Pro Bowl roster, he only leads in one category, solo tackles with 87, which is 42 more than the closest Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett.
He trails significantly in all other categories.
At this point, maybe the decision to leave him off of the roster was the right one; or was it? Davis is listed as an outside linebacker which put him against Chandler Jones, Za’Darius Smith, Shaquil Barrett, and Khalil Mack. While these are elite players, they have one thing in common.
They are hand in the dirt, line of scrimmage, get after the quarterback kind of players. This positions them to excel at the other three categories on this list.
Demario Davis is simply a victim of the evolution of the game. Bottom line is that Davis is a dependable, well-rounded, and nonstop tackling machine that has gotten lost in a sea of specialists.
If you put him in the game 15 years ago, he is a perennial Pro Bowler and considered elite in all facets of the game.
He will drop in pass coverage and play in the backfield. One thing you can be certain of is that wherever the football is, Demario Davis will not be far away. If you partner those attributes with leadership, I think the Saints will gladly have him rest during the Pro Bowl.