Skip to main content

2019 Defensive Pro Bowlers: Khalil Mack among Bears four-pack

With the 2019 Pro Bowl roster set to be announced live during "NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Players Revealed" on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network, I've decided to make my own list of defensive players worthy of making this year's Pro Bowl.

However, rather than stick to the NFC-AFC split dictated by the real Pro Bowl format, I thought I'd highlight the best defensive players from among the entire NFL player pool. My NFL Network colleague David Carr has done the same for offense.

Let's not waste time. Here is my 2019 Defensive Pro Bowl Team.

There is still time to fill out your own ballot, as fan voting concludes Thursday.

Defensive end: Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Last summer, I wrote that Mack's combination of speed and power is unrivaled, and his 2018 numbers (10 sacks, six forced fumbles, four passes defensed, one INT returned for a TD) support my argument. The Bears immediately fielded one of the best defenses in the league when they traded for Mack, and he's elevated the play of those around him. A consistent game-wrecker, Mack has again made a legitimate case for Defensive Player of the Year, the award he won in 2016.

Defensive end: Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings

Hunter has been the star of Minnesota's defensive front and is on pace to get a career high in sacks (with 12.5, he's on track for 15). He has great lean and a knack for getting to the quarterback. It certainly feels like a passing of the torch on Minnesota's D-line.

Defensive end: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

It's refreshing to see Watt back on the field every week -- well, unless you're part of an opposing offense. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is back to his normal self after two injury-interrupted seasons, with 12.5 sacks and a career-high five forced fumbles on the year.

Defensive tackle: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Donald has hit another level since signing his new contract. The league's sack leader (16.5) through 14 weeks, Donald is a generational talent and, in my opinion, should be this year's Defensive Player of the Year.

Defensive tackle: Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans

Casey, who's made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three years, has thrived under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel, with seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He's a big reason why the Tennessee defense ranks fourth in scoring as one of five teams giving up less than 20 points per game.

Defensive tackle: Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears

Hicks has seen some of his best seasons with the Bears and has largely benefited from the addition of Khalil Mack. The interior pass rusher has gotten home six times in 2018, while posting three forced fumbles and 11 tackles for loss. A Pro Bowl nod would be the first of his seven-year career.

Middle/inside linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks

Wagner is one of the best middle linebackers in the league and has been for quite some time. A game-wrecker in all phases -- as heĀ demonstrated Monday night vs. Minnesota -- the veteran has elevated the play of Seattle's new-look defense. Wagner recently recorded the first pick-six of his seven-year career.

Middle/inside linebacker: Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts rookie leads the NFL in tackles (135) by a wide margin -- the next-closest player is Green Bay's Blake Martinez with 118. On top of being a tackling machine, Leonard has seven sacks, four forced fumbles (two recovered), four passes defensed and one INT. He's going to be a staple of the Colts' defense for years to come.

Outside linebacker: Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Miller has recorded at least one sack in each of the last five games and sits second in the NFL in sacks (13.5). This season marks his fifth straight with 10 or more sacks, which is no surprise when you consider Miller's ability to get off the ball.

Outside linebacker: Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs

The fifth-year pro has made some splash plays for the Chiefs' defense, including a timely sack in overtime of Sunday's victory over Baltimore. With three games left in the regular season, Ford already has a career-high 11 sacks and six forced fumbles.

Free safety: Eddie Jackson, Chicago Bears

Jackson has been a ballhawk in the Bears' secondary with five picks, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He has been a huge impact player in Vic Fangio's defense, which leads the league in takeaways (34). On a side note, Chargers free safety Derwin James should have a spot in this year's Pro Bowl. It was a toss-up between Jackson and the stud rookie for this spot, but both should make an appearance in Orlando -- if their teams aren't playing in Super Bowl LIII.

Strong safety: Jamal Adams, New York Jets

Adams has been a bright spot for a struggling Jets unit in 2018. Among all safeties playing at least 80 percent of defensive snaps, Adams has allowed the lowest reception rate (47.4) when targeted, according to Pro Football Focus. He's a physical presence in the secondary who has a very good shot at making his first Pro Bowl.

Cornerback: Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins

Howard is tied for the league lead with seven interceptions -- even after missing Sunday's game against the Patriots. He recently had a minor procedure on his knee, but it shouldn't keep him sidelined for long, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Cornerback: Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears

The fourth Bears player on this list, Fuller has had a career-best season so far, with 19 passes defensed and seven interceptions -- one in each of the last three games. He's done enough to earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

Cornerback: Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

Peterson has made the Pro Bowl every season of his NFL career -- and this year should be no different. Peterson has added three more picks to his name this season, while allowing a 69.0 passer rating when in coverage. In a season full of growing pains for the Cardinals, they were smart not to trade away one of their best players.

Follow Willie McGinest on Twitter @WillieMcGinest.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content