Being a current Nebraska Football Pro Big Red player in the NFL speaks to the hard work and dedication to the sport. Being in contention for the Pro Bow, even more so!
This is why many fans cried foul when the AFC roster selections were made public and a certain former Nebraska Football player did not make the cut. But with how selections are based on position, is it fair to say that there was an actual snub in the voting this year?
Cam Taylor-Britt (CTB) has put together a very nice season for himself as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. With the past offseason departures in the cornerback room, he has seen an increased workload in the secondary for his team.
This is why when some compared the stats head-to-head with others who received the Pro Bowl nod, many fans were displeased. But this is a hard aspect to balance. Should stats matter? Of course! But the cornerback position is a harder position to quantify.
Depending on the coverages, or what is being asked of the defensive players, someone having a nice season may not even crack the top ten in categories. Taking a deeper dive into how the 2023 regular season has played out, offers a better picture to make the case why CTB had a strong case this year.
Ex-Nebraska Football player stacking up with the best
A screen shot that has been circulating on social media shows how CTB has a significant lead over the current Pro Bowl selectees in interceptions. With 4 interceptions, he is leading others in this category.
While some are arguing that this should be the main consideration, unfortunately for CTB that is not really the case for corners. Often picks are a result of circumstance. Players can play identical great coverage, but to show up on the stat sheet is obviously dependent on if the quarterback throws in your direction.
Not saying this is the case for CTB, only pointing out that using interception total as the only argument is not as complete as it could be. A more telling stat is completion percentage when thrown to. And on 55 targets, opposing receivers had 30 receptions versus CTB in coverage for roughly 55%.
Compared to the selections, (names not included to avoid muddying the discussion) respective cornerbacks have allowed 58% on 50 targets, 61% on 82 targets, 50% on 32 targets, and 52% on 66 targets.
This shows that CTB has been up there with the elites at his position and defiantly deserves to be in the conversation.
Ex-Nebraska Football player season cut short
Unfortunately for CTB, his ability to showcase himself was limited when place on Injured Reserve for roughly five weeks toward the end of the season.
And while Jalen Ramsey has played significantly less games, there is little doubt that when he is on the field, he is one of the best. His name recognition and ability, even in what for him is a down year, gave him the nod.
What CTB needs are more games like what we saw against the Seattle Seahawks. Often covering DK Metcalf on an island, CTB had of the best games of his career. Not only showing that he can match physicality and speed, but his competitiveness led to a great interception. This was an instance of a pick that did not just "fall into his hands", but was a great display of technique, and ability.
Ultimately for CTB, his inability to play later in the year took away his potential to rack up more games and stats to clearly sperate himself from the competition. And the results were close enough that you can see the argument why he missed out this year. So no, this was not a snub only because it was close, and there were only so many spots.
With another year of development under his belt and continued health, be ready to see his appearance at the Pro Bowl in the upcoming years.