Buffalo Bills: 7 Players Receive 2017 NFL Pro Bowl Honors

Jan 25, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans outside line backer Brian Orakpo (98) and Buffalo Bills special teams D.J. Alexander (57) shake hands during practice for the Pro Bowl at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans outside line backer Brian Orakpo (98) and Buffalo Bills special teams D.J. Alexander (57) shake hands during practice for the Pro Bowl at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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buffalo bills nfl pro bowl
Dec 11, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills inside linebacker Zach Brown (53) jumps to make a catch in the end zone for an interception during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at New Era Field. Pittsburgh beat Buffalo 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL Pro Bowl is set to kick off on Sunday. The Buffalo Bills have a total of 7 players that received honors, but two of them aren’t able to play.

After the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games were complete and the two Super Bowl teams were announced, a lot of NFL Pro Bowl alternates got called up and notified that they will be playing in the popular event — some of them being members of our beloved Buffalo Bills.

When the original Pro Bowl rosters were announced, the Bills only had two players taking part and 7 others listed as alternates. As of right now, the Buffalo Bills have a total of 7 players headed to the Pro Bowl — although two won’t be playing. In addition, two players were left off the final rosters and remained as alternates.

The NFL Pro Bowl will take place on Sunday, January 29th at 8:00 pm in Orlando, Florida. It can be watched on ESPN. So, who are the Buffalo Bills that received honors?

Let’s start with the two that didn’t end up getting the call, then move on to the two that won’t be playing before getting to the 5 that we’ll see on the field on Sunday.

Players Snubbed From the Pro Bowl

FB Jerome Felton

Jerome Felton was listed as a second alternate when the original Pro Bowl rosters were announced. Unfortunately, Kyle Juszcyzyk of the Baltimore Ravens will start on Sunday and Felton wasn’t invited.

Felton is one of the best blocking fullbacks in the league and even comes through with a big run or timely catch. He finished the season with 13 yards on 8 carries and 6 catches for 57 yards. His production was much better this season after posting just 2 rushing yards and 12 receiving yards in his first season with the Bills.

The biggest reason Jerome Felton was named as an alternate was due to his blocking, though. For the second year in a row, he was a big part in paving the way for the league’s top rushing attack. So much so that LeSean McCoy gifted him with a $10,000 wristwatch at the season’s end.

RS Brandon Tate

Brandon Tate was also listed as a second alternate as a return specialist, but like Felton he got beat out of a roster spot. Instead, Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill will serve as the AFC’s return specialist.

There’s no doubt Brandon Tate is one of the league’s most dangerous returners. He finished the season with 301 yards on 26 punt returns (11.6 average yards per punt return) and 662 yards on 29 kickoff returns (22.8 average yards per kickoff return). His longest punt return was 43 yards and his longest kickoff return was 45 yards.

Tate also saw some action on the offensive side of the ball, catching 8 passes for 117 yards on 11 targets and rushing for 48 yards on 3 attempts — including a 30-yard run vs. the Cleveland Browns.

Now that we’ve gotten those two out of the way, let’s move on to the two players that made the Pro Bowl, but won’t get to play.

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Pro Bowlers Unable to Play

RB LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy had quite the amazing season for the Buffalo Bills and could’ve done even better if it weren’t for a couple of small injuries. Overall, he turned out one of his best seasons of his career and was the main contributor to the league’s No. 1 running corps.

On the season, McCoy appeared in 15 games and ran for 1,267 yards, 13 touchdowns and a 5.4 average yards per carry. He added 50 receptions for 356 yards and one touchdown. His season included 7 games over 100 yards rushing (128, 153, 130, 103, 140, 150, 110) and four multi-touchdown games.

It was no surprise to see LeSean McCoy make the initial Pro Bowl rosters. Unfortunatley, due to a high ankle sprain that he suffered in the final game of the season, Bills fans won’t get to see him cut through the NFC defense.

Miami Dolphins’ running back Jay Ajayi, who lit up the Bills for 200+ yards twice this season, will take McCoy’s place.

QB Tyrod Taylor

Despite receiving a lot of criticism this season, Tyrod Taylor had a productive year for the Buffalo Bills. He finished the year with a 61.7% completion rate, 3,023 yards, 17 TD, 6 INT and a rating of 89.6. He added 580 yards and 6 TD on the ground, contributing as the team’s second-best rusher.

Taylor’s passing numbers are definitely low and definitely needs some help — desperately — but when you factor in how much he runs the ball, the low numbers make sense. Taylor ran the ball 95 times this season with a 6.1 yards per carry average. Those 95 carries were the most among QB’s this season, with Cam Newton (90) and Russell Wilson (72) next up.

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Newton only had an avg. of 4.0 yards per carry and Wilson just a 3.6 avg. yards per carry — much lower than Taylor. In addition, Newton only finished with 3,509 yards passing, 19 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a rating of 75.8, but only 359 yards rushing and 5 TD’s. Wilson finished with 4,219 yards passing, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a rating of 92.6, but only 259 yards rushing and one TD.

Tyrod Taylor is close to being where those two are — as far as passing statistics go — and that should be enough to keep him under contract next season. We’ll see how that goes.

Taylor was selected as a third alternate, but he got the call after Tom Brady made it to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, with the surgery he just had he won’t be able to partake in the event. It would’ve been a good chance for him to prove what he can do with good players.

Andy Dalton will take his place.

Now, let’s move on to the players we will see on Sunday — the five that will see action.