Seven Saints named to 2020 Pro Bowl

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Michael Thomas
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Seven New Orleans Saints were voted to the Pro Bowl, the National Football League announced Tuesday evening. T Terron Armstead, QB Drew Brees, WR/RS Deonte Harris, DE Cameron Jordan, CB Marshon Lattimore, K Wil Lutz and WR Michael Thomas were selected to the NFC squad to play in the NFL’s All-Star game, which will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. All but Armstead and Brees were voted in as starters.

With eight Saints named to the Pro Bowl last year and seven in 2017, this marks the first time since the 2009-2011 campaigns that the Saints have had at least seven players in three consecutive seasons named to participate in the contest. It also marks the 12th consecutive season that the club has at least one Pro Bowl selection.

Armstead, who has earned his second straight Pro Bowl honor, has opened 13-of-14 contests , with the Saints tied for having surrendered the second-fewest sacks in the NFL, tied for fifth in the NFL in scoring (27.0 points per game), ninth in net yards per game (373.3 yards per game) and seventh in passing (264.6 yards per game).

It is Brees’ 13th Pro Bowl selection overall in his 19-year NFL career and his club-record 12th as a member of the Saints, who he joined in 2006. He is only the ninth player in NFL history to be named 13 times. In 2019, he has started all 11 games he has played in and completed 235-of-310 passes (75.8%) for 2,447 yards with 21 touchdowns, only four interceptions and a 115.3 passer rating, ranked first in the league in completion percentage and passer rating in a season in which he has become the NFL’s touchdown pass leader.

Brees is coming off of his two most impressive performances of the season in back-to-back weeks. On December 8 vs. San Francisco, he completed 29-of-40 passes (72.5%) passes for 349 yards with five touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 138.4 passer rating, also scoring a one-yard rushing touchdown.

Brees shined on Monday night vs. Indianapolis, when he completed 29-of-30 passes for 307 yards with four touchdowns, zero picks and a 148.9 passer rating. With his third touchdown pass in the contest, he surpassed Peyton Manning with his 540th scoring throw to become the NFL’s all-time leader. Brees’ 96.7 completion percentage set an NFL record for a single game (min. 20 att.). Brees also surpassed Manning for first place in NFL record books with his 36th career game with at least four touchdowns.

Brees, a former Purdue standout, who originally entered the NFL as a second round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2001 (32nd overall), before signing with the Saints as an unrestricted free agent in 2006, has played in 273 career games (272 starts) and has completed 6,821-of-10,093 passes (67.6%) for 76,884 yards, 541 touchdowns and a 98.2 passer rating. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in completion percentage, completions, passing yardage, touchdown passes and has the third-highest passer rating.

Harris, who is ranked second in the NFL in punt return average (9.9) and sixth in kickoff return average (24.7), is the first Saints return specialist to be selected since Michael Lewis in 2002, the first Black and Gold rookie returner since Tyrone Hughes in 1993 and the first undrafted Saint to be selected to the league’s all-star game as a rookie. In New Orleans’ 33-27 win at Seattle on September 22, Harris brought back a punt 53 yards for a touchdown. The Baltimore, Md. native was signed as an undrafted free agent by New Orleans out of Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., where he set the NCAA football record with 14 career return touchdowns.

This is Jordan’s fifth Pro Bowl, the most selections in franchise history for a defensive end, with Pro Football Hall of Fame LB Rickey Jackson being the only Saints defender to be named more times as a Saint (six). Jordan has enjoyed another standout season, starting all 14 games and recording 48 tackles (34 solo), a career-high 13.5 sacks, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery. The former University of California standout, who was the club’s first draft choice in 2011 (24th overall) is tied for third in the NFL in quarterback takedowns and on Thanksgiving night at Atlanta, tied the club single-game record with a career-high four sacks.

In nine seasons, Jordan has appeared in all 142 games with 141 starts, including opening 127 consecutive games, the longest active consecutive games started streak by an NFL defensive lineman, second for a defensive player and third in the league overall and has posted career totals of 552 tackles (345 solo), 85 sacks for losses of 577.5 yards, two interceptions, 48 passes defensed, ten forced fumbles and ten fumble recoveries. His takedown total is ranked second in club record books.

Lattimore is the first Saints cornerback to be selected to the Pro Bowl twice, having started all 12 games he’s played in this season and recording 51 tackles, one interception and tying for the team lead with 13 passes defensed. Lattimore, a first round draft pick of the Saints in 2017 out of Ohio State (11th overall) is often assigned with covering an opponent’s top wideout.

Lutz is only the third Saints kicker to be selected to the Pro Bowl and the first since Morten Andersen in 1992. In 2019, he is tied for the NFL lead in field goals, drilling 31-of-35 kicks and ranked second in the league with 130 points. Lutz’s 31 field goals ties his career-high. He is also ranked second in the NFL with 65 touchbacks on kickoffs.

He is in the midst of having made his last 16 field goals and also drilled game-winners as time expired in two contests this season, including a career-long 58-yarder, the third-longest in franchise history, to help the Saints capture the season opener over Houston.

Overall, Lutz has played in all 62 regular season games since signing with New Orleans at the start of the 2016 regular season, after originally signing with Baltimore following the NFL Draft. He has made 118-of-135 field goals (87.4%) to rank fourth in club record books in field goals with his 539 points ranking third in franchise history.

Thomas is only the second Saints wide receiver to be selected to Pro Bowls in three consecutive seasons. A second round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (47th overall) out of Ohio State, Thomas has followed up a standout first three seasons with a fourth campaign where he leads the NFL in receiving and receiving yardage with a franchise-record 133 receptions for 1,552 yards with eight touchdowns. Thomas’ receptions total is the fourth-highest in a single-season in NFL history and he needs 11 grabs to become the NFL’s single-season receptions leader.

In four seasons, Thomas has recorded 454 grabs for 5,339 yards and 31 touchdowns. No NFL player has had as many catches as Thomas in his first four NFL seasons. He is ranked fourth in club record books in receptions and receiving yards.

2020 PRO BOWL PLAYERS BY POSITION

 (*First-time Pro Bowl selection; Bold/Italic: Starter)

AFC

OFFENSE (21)

  QUARTERBACKS (3)     TIGHT ENDS (2)
* Lamar Jackson, Baltimore   * Mark Andrews, Baltimore
  Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City     Travis Kelce, Kansas City
  Deshaun Watson, Houston      
        TACKLES (3)
  WIDE RECEIVERS (4)   * Trent Brown, Oakland
  Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers   * Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore
  Tyreek Hill, Kansas City   * Laremy Tunsil, Houston
  DeAndre Hopkins, Houston      
  Jarvis Landry, Cleveland     GUARDS (3)
        David DeCastro, Pittsburgh
  RUNNING BACKS (3)     Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis
* Nick Chubb, Cleveland     Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
* Derrick Henry, Tennessee      
  Mark Ingram, Baltimore     CENTERS (2)
        Rodney Hudson, Oakland
  FULLBACK (1)     Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh
* Patrick Ricard, Baltimore      


DEFENSE (18)

  DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)     INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)
  Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers     Dont’a Hightower, New England
  Calais Campbell, Jacksonville   * Darius Leonard, Indianapolis
* Frank Clark, Kansas City      
        CORNERBACKS (4)
  INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)     Stephon Gilmore, New England
  Geno Atkins, Cincinnati   * Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore
  Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh     Marcus Peters, Baltimore
* Chris Jones, Kansas City   * Tre’Davious White, Buffalo
         
  OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)     FREE SAFETIES (2)
* Matthew Judon, Baltimore   * Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh
  Von Miller, Denver     Earl Thomas, Baltimore
  T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh      
        STRONG SAFETY (1)
        Jamal Adams, New York Jets


SPECIALISTS (5)

  PUNTER (1)     RETURN SPECIALIST (1)
  Brett Kern, Tennessee   * Mecole Hardman, Kansas City
         
  PLACEKICKER (1)     SPECIAL TEAMER (1)
  Justin Tucker, Baltimore     Matthew Slater, New England
         
  LONG SNAPPER (1)      
  Morgan Cox, Baltimore      


NFC

OFFENSE (21)

  QUARTERBACKS (3)   TIGHT ENDS (2)
  Drew Brees, New Orleans   Zach Ertz, Philadelphia
  Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay   George Kittle, San Francisco
  Russell Wilson, Seattle    
      TACKLES (3)
  WIDE RECEIVERS (4)   Terron Armstead, New Orleans
  Mike Evans, Tampa Bay   David Bakhtiari, Green Bay
* Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay   Tyron Smith, Dallas
  Julio Jones, Atlanta  
  Michael Thomas, New Orleans   GUARDS (3)
      Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia
  RUNNING BACKS (3)   Zack Martin, Dallas
* Dalvin Cook, Minnesota   Brandon Scherff, Washington
  Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas    
* Christian McCaffrey, Carolina   CENTERS (2)
      Travis Frederick, Dallas
  FULLBACK (1)   Jason Kelce, Philadelphia
  Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco    


DEFENSE (18)

  DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)   INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)
* Nick Bosa, San Francisco   Luke Kuechly, Carolina
  Danielle Hunter, Minnesota   Bobby Wagner, Seattle
  Cameron Jordan, New Orleans    
      CORNERBACKS (4)
  INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)   Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans
  Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia   Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams
  Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams   Richard Sherman, San Francisco
* Grady Jarrett, Atlanta   Darius Slay, Detroit
         
  OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)     FREE SAFETIES (2)
* Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay     Budda Baker, Arizona
  Chandler Jones, Arizona     Eddie Jackson, Chicago
  Khalil Mack, Chicago      
        STRONG SAFETY (1)
        Harrison Smith, Minnesota


SPECIALISTS (5)

  PUNTER (1)     RETURN SPECIALIST (1)
* Tress Way, Washington   * Deonte Harris, New Orleans
         
  PLACEKICKER (1)     SPECIAL TEAMER (1)
* Wil Lutz, New Orleans     Cordarrelle Patterson, Chicago
         
  LONG SNAPPER (1)      
* Rick Lovato, Philadelphia      

 

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