In a recent article for NFL.com, Gil Brandt made his 16 best guesses about potential first-time Pro Bowlers from the NFC. This, obviously, includes his pick for the Green Bay Packers.
For most other teams his guess is either an up-and-coming offensive player or a young pass rusher who has missed time due to injury. For the Packers, he chose an inside linebacker in Blake Martinez.
Blake is a fairly safe pick if only stats are taken into consideration. His 144 combined tackles in 2017 tied for the top mark in the league with the Cleveland Browns’ Joe Schobert and the Buffalo Bills’ (now Cincinnati Bengals) Preston Brown. However, Martinez stands above those other two with 97 of his tackles coming solo. This tied him for third in the league in that category.
An interesting point is that Schobert was named to the Pro Bowl last year. The pair of linebackers shared not only the same amount of tackles, but also each had one interception. This is where the comparison ends, as Schobert racked up two more forced fumbles and two more sacks than Martinez.
If Blake keeps up his production numbers, there is an easy case for him to make next year’s Pro Bowl. The fan reaction to Brandt’s article, however, tends to disagree. Most fans reacting on twitter thought that defensive tackle Kenny Clark was not only the most likely choice, but had been more deserving of a 2017 bid than Martinez.
In the end, it’s June and fans are arguing over which young Packers’ defender gets national recognition first. And that’s honestly a great place to be.
Who do you think will be the next first-time Pro Bowler? Be sure to let us know in the comments.