The Ravens have placed seven players on the AFC Pro Bowl roster, tying the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers for the most players selected from one team.
All seven Ravens honorees are repeat winners, although defensive end Calais Campbell makes his first appearance on the Pro Bowl team as a Raven. The Ravens other honorees include tackle Orlando Brown Jr., fullback Patrick Ricard, outside linebacker Matthew Judon, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, long snapper Morgan Cox and kicker Justin Tucker.
The Pro Bowl players are selected via voting from fans, players and coaches. There will be no Pro Bowl game this year, but this remains worthy (and, often based on contract clauses, financially rewarding) recognition for players who have helped the Ravens (9-5) secure their 10th winning season in John Harbaugh’s 13-year tenure.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, did not make the team this year, beaten out in the AFC by Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson.
Of the Ravens five position players selected, Ricard was the only starter chosen as he continued his impressive transformation from undrafted rookie defensive lineman to elite NFL fullback. While much of the rest of the pass-happy league has shifted away from fullback usage, the Ravens employ the 6-foot-3, 303-pound Ricard to full effect, an old-school, road-grade blocker who has been an integral part of the Ravens’ rushing attack for the past two years.
After performing as a two-way player for his first three seasons in the league, seeing time as a reserve defensive lineman as well as fullback, Ricard has stayed exclusively on offense this season.
Brown had to make the midseason switch from right to left tackle after Ronnie Stanley suffered a season-ending injury and has held up as the an anchor of an evolving offensive line. The Ravens have made changes at center, right guard and right tackle in the past month, adding to the importance of consistent play from Brown.
Campbell was chosen for the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in his career and for the fourth straight year despite missing four games, three with a calf injury and one while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Campbell has 27 tackles, four sacks and 10 quarterback hits this year.
Judon, playing this season under the franchise tag, leads the Ravens with five sacks and 20 quarterback hits, but he nevertheless expressed surprise that he was a repeat honoree.
“Honestly, I didn’t have the numbers or production like last year when I went to my first Pro Bowl,” Judon said in a statement released by the team, “so the amount of excitement, surprise and happiness that rushed in when I got the news — I was just elated and really happy. I could have done jumping jacks all around the house.”
Humphrey, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod a year ago, has been perhaps the Ravens’ best defensive player all season, a shutdown cover cornerback who has also become a game-changing turnover machine.
Humphrey’s trademark punch-out tackle has created eight forced fumbles this year, twice as many as anyone else in the league and two shy of the NFL record (which has been kept since 2000). Two of those were returned for touchdowns in Ravens wins.
Humphrey, who was signed to a five-year, $97.5 million contract extension earlier this season, has already set a career-high with 75 tackles and also has an interception and 2.5 sacks.
This is the fourth Pro Bowl honor for Tucker and for Cox, who continue to operate — along with punter/holder Sam Koch — as one of the most successful specialist groups in the league.
Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, with a field-goal success rate of 90.6 percent. He is 23-for-26 this year, with just one of the misses coming from inside 57 yards. Tucker’s 55-yard game-winner at Cleveland two weeks ago was the 16th game-winning kick of his career.
Of course, it all starts with execution from Cox, who said he was “blown away” by his fourth Pro Bowl honor.
The Ravens remain on the outside of the playoff race with two games to play. Seven teams from the AFC advance to the postseason this year, and the Ravens (9-5) are seeded No. 8 with two games remaining. It’s a favorable schedule, with remaining games against the New York Giants (5-9) and Cincinnati Bengals (3-10-1), but winning both games would not secure a playoff berth.
The Ravens will need one of the teams just above them to falter to give them an opening for what would be their third straight postseason appearance.
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