Both Donald and Ramsey have become shoe-ins for the Pro Bowl since entering the league and are still currently in the prime of their careers. As a result, it is safe to assume that they will be mainstays for the trip in the years to come.
However, among the notable snubs for the Rams was linebacker Cory Littleton. Outside of Donald, Littleton has emerged as the best and most important player for this defense with the numbers to prove it.
According to Greg Beacham of the Associated Press, Phillips was admittedly surprised to see that he did not make it:
Wade Phillips on Rams LB Cory Littleton not getting a Pro Bowl nod: “Cory certainly makes the plays to be deserving of accolades. He’s the leading tackler on our team, (and) he covers well, gets interceptions, causes fumbles. I’m not sure what (voters) are looking for.”
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) December 18, 2019
There is certainly plenty of truth to Phillips’ comments considering the kind of year Littleton has put together in the 2019 NFL season. He has stepped up as a vocal leader for this defense and has been able to back up his talk with some impressive statistics.
Littleton currently ranks in the top 10 in tackles (124) and pass deflections (eight) for all linebackers with two games left in the year. Despite the fluctuating performance by the Rams’ defense all season, he remained a consistent force with his playmaking ability whether they were performing good or bad.
Unfortunately, there is an element of popularity when it comes to voting for the Pro Bowl where players like Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly become mainstays on years that they manage to stay healthy.
Littleton clearly had superior numbers to both Wagner and Kuechly in almost every major category, however, being a household name paid dividends for them. Fortunately, that all appears to be on the cusp of changing thanks to his efforts over the past two seasons.
After originally going undrafted in 2016, Littleton is already in the final year of his current deal and will undoubtedly be a top candidate for a lucrative extension from the Rams this offseason. A big payday followed up by another career year could be just what he needs to finally make the Pro Bowl.
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