Last week, NFL.com projected one potential first-time Pro Bowler for every team in the NFL. Who was the Cleveland Browns’ representative?
First, we need to look at the players who weren’t eligible (which would be everyone who has already been to a Pro Bowl). For the Browns, that would be LT Joe Thomas, LB Jamie Collins, CB Joe Haden, and K Cody Parkey. The projected person for 2017? One of the newcomers on the offensive line, OG Kevin Zeitler:
Kevin Zeitler, guard: You were expecting Myles Garrett here, weren't you? The first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft will be a natural for Pro Bowl honors if he turns in a monster season, but voters weren't wise enough to send Joey Bosa to the all-star game following the 2016 season. After pouring resources into the offensive line this offseason, Cleveland now sports one of the NFL's toughest cast of blockers on paper. Signing Zeitler away from the Bengals sits at the center of that movement. The league's seventh-ranked guard last season, per Pro Football Focus, Zeitler is entering the prime of his career and will be pinpointed as a catalyst for change if the Browns (finally) show progress on offense.
No doubt, Zeitler is the best candidate to make the Pro Bowl among the candidates. It’s actually pretty surprising that he didn’t earn a nomination in his previous five years in the league. Other players I could potentially see making the Pro Bowl in 2017 are Garrett, RB Isaiah Crowell, and TE David Njoku.