The New England Patriots learned on Tuesday night that Stephon Gilmore, Dont’a Hightower, and Matthew Slater were their 2019 Pro Bowlers.
The New England Patriots learned on Tuesday night that they will have three different players nominated for the 2019 Pro Bowl down in Orlando, Florida. The entire Pro Bowl roster was revealed on television and then later posted online at the NFL’s official website.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and special teamer Matthew Slater were each nominated to the Pro Bowl.
For Gilmore, it was the soft-spoken CB’s third career Pro Bowl nod – and the second consecutive. He joined the Patriots in 2017 and had a decent year, but really came alive last season and then this season to vault his name atop the rankings and considerations for the best cornerback in the NFL today.
Gilmore will likely be named an AP First-team All-Pro at the end of this season as well. If he is, it will mark the second such time he’s achieved that distinction (the first came last year). Gilmore is also a leading candidate to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
This will mark Hightower’s second career Pro Bowl nomination. He was last named to the Pro Bowl back in 2016, the same year he earned AP Second-team All-Pro honors as well.
Hightower’s stats this year are about where they’ve always been when he’s been healthy throughout his career. His four sacks are the same number he had as a rookie back in 2012, as are his 60 tackles. Of course, he still has two more games to pad his stats across the board.
Slater is the veteran of the group when it comes to Pro Bowls. Amazingly, this marks Slater’s eighth Pro Bowl nod – he missed out on the designation last season, but had previously made the Pro Bowl every single year between 2011-2017.
Slater scored his first career touchdown this season back in Week 4 when he returned a block punt 11 yards to the end zone against the Buffalo Bills. He also blocked a punt in Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys, and has led the New England special teams in tackles all season long. Most recently, Slater combined with Justin Bethel to force a turnover during a bobbled fair catch on a punt return last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
2019 marks the first time since 2008 that Tom Brady did not receive a Pro Bowl invitation. Other significant Patriots players omitted from the Pro Bowl list this year included Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Devin McCourty, Joe Thuney, and Jake Bailey – all of whom are having exceptional seasons at their particular positions.
Perhaps the most glaring snub of all is Julian Edelman, the New England No. 1 wide receiver who is on pace for a career year in every major receiving category. Edelman is also one of just players in the AFC who rank top-10 in receptions and targets this season, who rank top-15 in receiving yards this season, and who have scored at least six touchdowns – the other being DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans, who was named to the Pro Bowl roster as a starter.
Around the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens had the most Pro Bowl players this season with 12 different members getting voted in. In second place was the New Orleans Saints with seven players, and in third place was the Kansas City Chiefs with six players.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers tied for fourth place with five players each, and the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys tied for fifth place with four players each.
The Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Houston Texans all ended up tied with the Patriots for the sixth-most players selected with three each.
Teams with two Pro Bowl players include the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Redskins.
Teams with just one Pro Bowl player selected include the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets.
The Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants are the only two teams in the NFL without a Pro Bowl player this season.
If all goes according to plan for the Patriots, all three of their players – Gilmore, Hightower, and Slater – will bow out from the Pro Bowl because they’ll be gearing up for Super Bowl 54 down in Miami. New England is currently projected for the No. 2 seed in the AFC, and can clinch their division this weekend with a win over the visiting Buffalo Bills.