The Ravens have four Pro Bowlers, including one new face.
Kicker Justin Tucker, guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker C.J. Mosley and fullback Kyle Juszczyk have been selected by fans, players and coaches to represent the AFC in this year’s game in Orlando on Jan. 29.
Of course, the Ravens* *would rather play in the Super Bowl, which would prevent them from suiting up in the Pro Bowl. The NFL’s all-star game is going back to its traditional AFC-NFC format, so all the Ravens will play on the same team.
It’s the first Pro Bowl nod for Juszczyk, second for Tucker, second for Mosley and sixth for Yanda.
All four players are home-grown talents. Yanda was a third-round pick in 2007, Tucker was an undrafted rookie in 2012, Juszczyk was a fourth-round pick in 2013 and Mosley was a first-round pick in 2014.
If all four players accept the honor, it will be the fourth-straight year that the Ravens will have four representatives.
The Ravens had two Pro Bowlers originally named to the roster last year (punter Sam Koch and Yanda), and long snapper Morgan Cox was later added by Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil went as an alternate.
Tucker was a virtual lock for his first trip back since 2013, as he’s been the league’s best kicker by any metric.
His 33 successful field goals are the most in the league. He’s only had one miss all season in 34 attempts, and that was out of his control as Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin leaped over Cox and blocked the kick just after it left Tucker’s foot.
Tucker’s 97.1 field-goal percentage is the highest in the league by a large margin (Atlanta’s Matt Bryant is second at 93.5). He recently re-took the title as the most accurate kicker in NFL history (89.6 percent)
As well as his great accuracy, Tucker has shown off his big leg. His 10 field goals from 50 yards or beyond are tied for the most in single-season NFL history with former Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh. He’s nailed field goals from 50 yards or longer in each of the past four games.
He’s also clutch. Tucker hit four goals in Jacksonville, including a game-winning 53-yard boot. He carried the Ravens to a 19-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12, booting four field goals, including one from 57 yards.
“I am very fortunate to work directly with true professionals on a daily basis,” Tucker said. “Morgan Cox is the best long snapper in football, and Sam Koch is the best punter and holder in football. We believe in working hard, we believe in each other, and we care deeply about becoming the best football players we can be.
“We have excellent coaches in [Special Teams Coordinator] Jerry Rosburg and [Kicking Consultant] Randy Brown, supporting us in all that we do, and I couldn't be more grateful to work with such great people. They bring out the best in me every single day.”
Mosley is back in the Pro Bowl after also being voted into the game as a rookie.
Mosley has had a strong third season, notching 72 tackles in what has been the league’s top-ranked rush defense for most of the year. Mosley is the heart in the center of the defense, and makes all the calls.
But his biggest improvement may have been in pass coverage, where Mosley has knocked away seven passes and intercepted three (tied for the most among NFL linebackers).
He sealed a 25-20 win in Cleveland in Week 2 with an interception at the goal line, and sealed another win last Sunday by getting his hand on Philadelphia’s two-point conversion attempt. He had three picks in the Ravens’ first five games.
It’s a statement about Mosley after he missed last year’s Pro Bowl in his sophomore season. Mosley talked about how he wanted to take his game to the next level, and he did just that.
“It’s an honor and blessing to be voted into the Pro Bowl by our great fans, coaches and peers in the league,” Mosley said. “I am extremely thankful for my teammates and coaches, and that I have an opportunity to once again represent the Baltimore Ravens.”
Juszczyk has been knocking on the Pro Bowl’s door the past couple years, and was far-and-away the most productive fullback in the league this season.
The fourth-year player out of Harvard has 33 catches for 255 yards and three carries for 7 yards. He’s been a key part of the Ravens’ passing attack and a sure-handed outlet and physical wrecking ball for quarterback Joe Flacco to target.
Juszczyk is the top-ranked fullback in the league, according to* Pro Football Focus (PFF), with a plus-7.4 grade. Last year, Juszczyk had more yards (321) and scored four touchdowns, but he had negative blocking grades. This year, PFF *rates him as the second-best blocker in the league behind the New England Patriots’ James Develin. Running back Terrance West has rushed for a career-high 729 yards and five touchdowns.
“It's an honor to be recognized by my peers, coaches and fans as the AFC representative at fullback,” Juszczyk said. “So much credit goes to the talented backs running behind me, the dominant offensive line in front of me and a skillful quarterback throwing me the ball.”
Yanda has been a shoo-in for the past six years as he’s become, and remained, one of the best guards in the league.
Yanda is still ranked as the league’s third-best guard by PFF, trailing only Dallas’ Zack Martin and former Raven turned Oakland Raiders, Kelechi Osemele.
What’s especially notable about this year’s honor is that Yanda has played more than half of the season with a substantial shoulder injury. In order to stay on the field, he moved out of position to left guard for the past six games, and his level of play hasn’t dipped.
“I am very honored to be voted into the Pro Bowl,” Yanda said. “I want to thank my teammates and coaches for all the hard work we put in together. Football is the ultimate team sport, and simply put, you don't do anything in this league on your own.”
The Ravens have four second-alternates: strong safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and tight end Dennis Pitta. Weddle is one of the biggest snubs in the NFL. Two players would have to* *miss the Pro Bowl for the Ravens’ alternates to go.
Check out photos of the Ravens' four Pro Bowlers: kicker Justin Tucker, guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker C.J. Mosley and fullback Kyle Juszczyk.