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Only 2 Packers start top 10 in Pro Bowl voting

It’s time to start the Keisean Nixon Pro Bowl campaign. The returner is currently second in early Pro Bowl voting.

New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

If you weren’t already aware, Pro Bowl voting has started for the 2024 edition of the game — which for the second time will be a collection of skills competitions and a flag football game, as opposed to the actual tackle football game that we grew up watching. On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted out the top 10 vote earners at each individual position. If you were expecting to see a lot of green and gold on the list, we hate to break it to you: only 2 of the 200 spots went to Green Bay Packers.

The highest Packers player on this list was returner Keisean Nixon, who ranks second — behind only the New Orleans Saints’ Rashid Shaheed — as a designated returner. The other Green Bay player to make the cut was outside linebacker Rashan Gary, who ranked eighth among outside linebackers — a position that mostly broke in favor of pass-rushers.

As a kick returner, Nixon easily leads the NFL in return yardage this season. On the year, he has taken 23 attempts for 622 yards, which is nearly double any other player in the league. For perspective, Shaheed has returned 16 kicks for 343 yards, which ranks second in the NFL. Nixon’s 27.0 yards per return also outpaces Shaheed’s 21.4.

While Nixon hasn’t taken a kick for a touchdown in 2023, that honor has only gone to two players: Denver receiver Marvin Mims (nine total return attempts) and Houston fullback Andrew Beck, who returned a squibbed kick the distance.

Where Shaheed has the edge over Nixon is as a punt returner. Shaheed has taken 18 punts for 259 yards, which ranks fifth in the NFL, and a score. Meanwhile, Nixon is splitting punt returns with receiver Jayden Reed in Green Bay, which has led to Nixon only having 11 attempts for 89 yards on the season.

Gary has also had a standout year himself, recording nine sacks in 12 games, despite coming off of a season-ending ACL injury that led to him starting the season on a pitch count. If the pass-rusher can get hot down the stretch, he has a chance to earn his first career Pro Bowl appearance.

As a reminder, the fan voting portion of the Pro Bowl is weighted toward one-third of the final vote. The other two-thirds come from the player and coach votes.

If you look at the Packers’ cap situation, it shouldn’t be too surprising that don’t have many players populating this list. Left tackle David Bakhtiari and former quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who account for north of $60 million of Green Bay’s 2023 cap space, aren’t on the field for the team. Cornerback Jaire Alexander and running back Aaron Jones have been banged up this season. The only “star” player who is healthy and unacknowledged by the early Pro Bowl voting results is probably Kenny Clark, who is having one of his better years after moving back to 3-4 defensive end.