FRISCO, Texas – After being excluded from the proceedings last year, the Dallas Cowboys are back on the Pro Bowl roster in 2021.
The NFL announced its initial rosters for the annual All-Star Game, and the Cowboys were represented with five picks: Trevon Diggs, Micah Parsons, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and Bryan Anger.
It’s not very surprising to see that multiple of their players have made the roster this season. After all, the Cowboys are 10-4, sitting on the cusp of an NFC East championship and are currently tied for the second-best record in the NFL, as only the Green Bay Packers have more wins.
What’s new, however, is the makeup of his Pro Bowl lineup.
For much of the past decade, the Cowboys Pro Bowlers have been primarily offensive players, due to the strength of their offensive line and skill positions.
This year, they feature two of the most impressive defensive playmakers in the NFL, as Diggs and Parsons have been named to their first Pro Bowl after an outstanding season.
Diggs currently leads the league in interceptions, and his 10 steals have helped the Cowboys reach a total of 31 points, tied for best in the NFL.
Parsons’ 12 sacks this season put him seventh in the league in that category, despite having far fewer plays as a quarterback rushing than his counterparts.
He is also the 12th rookie in Cowboys history to be named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, joining illustrious companies like Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes, Emmitt Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott, to name a few.
“It would be a great honor,” Parsons said when asked about the possibility of being named to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday. “One of those things where it’s not an expectation; it’s something you earn.”
Anger’s inclusion also departs a bit from recent years. He is the first Cowboys punter named to the Pro Bowl since Mat McBriar, who accomplished the feat in 2006 and 2010. He is also only the third Cowboys specialist to be selected to the Pro Bowl in the last decade, as LP Ladouceur was selected in 2014 and Dan Bailey in 2015.
Of course, some things stayed the same in 2021. After missing the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last year, Zack Martin is back for a seventh appearance. Martin missed the first game of the season with COVID-19, but he has played every other game, consistently meeting his own standard as one of the best guards in American football.
Smith is also making his eighth Pro Bowl appearance after missing most of last season due to injury. The 11-year veteran has missed four games in the second half of the season due to a prolonged ankle injury, but he remains one of the league’s most dominant tackles when available.
Of the five, Smith is the only non-starting Cowboy player in the Pro Bowl lineup.
The hope is obviously that neither of them will be available to play as there are bigger aspirations in mind. But as the Cowboys near the end of a memorable season, it’s a well-deserved honor for all five.
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Five Cowboys named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster