SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

First-timer Cliff Avril leads group of 4 Seahawks defenders selected to Pro Bowl

Dec 20, 2016, 5:31 PM | Updated: 6:02 pm
Cliff Avril was selected to the first Pro Bowl of his nine-year career. (AP)...
Cliff Avril was selected to the first Pro Bowl of his nine-year career. (AP)
(AP)

Much of the NFC’s defense in the 2017 Pro Bowl will look familiar to Seahawks fans.

Defensive end Cliff Avril is heading to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his nine-year career and will be joined by three teammates on the defensive side of the ball: linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive end Michael Bennett and cornerback Richard Sherman. The Raiders led the NFL with seven selections for the game.

Avril, 30, is having the finest ever season, posting a career-high 11.5 sacks (tied for third in the NFL) and five forced fumbles through 14 games.  The Seahawks’ 2016 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award also has 25 quarterback hits, which ranks second in the NFL.

Wagner, named to his third straight Pro Bowl, currently leads the NFL with 145 tackles and has added 2.5 sacks. He needs nine more tackles to break Terry Beeson’s team record set in 1978.

Sherman was named a Pro Bowler for the fourth time in his six-year career. He leads the team with four interceptions and is currently second on the team with 11 passes defensed.

This will be Bennett’s second Pro-Bowl nod, earning the game’s defensive MVP award in his first showing last year. He was sidelined for five games due to a knee injury but still ranks third on the team with three sacks and is fourth on the squad with 14 quarterback hits.

Another eight Seahawks were named Pro Bowl alternates: quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, center Justin Britt, strong safety Kam Chancellor, tight end Jimmy Graham, kicker Steven Hauschka, return specialist Tyler Lockett, and outside linebacker K.J. Wright. These players could be added to the NFC’s team later if others drop out.

As 710 ESPN Seattle’ Brady Henderson wrote, Wilson, a three-time Pro Bowler, has had a complicated season with his completion percentage, passing touchdowns, quarterback rating and rushing yards are all down from last season. Baldwin and Wright, who were both seeking their first Pro Bowl selections, each has legitimate arguments about being snubbed.

The 2017 Pro Bowl game will be held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Sunday, Jan. 29 (the week prior to Super Bowl LI) and televised live at 8 p.m. PT on ESPN. The game will return to the traditional AFC vs. NFC battle, following three years of the “unconferenced” format where a pair of NFL legends (wide receivers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice in 2016) would pick teams among the 88 selected players — 44 from each conference. Last year, Wilson earned the Pro Bowl offensive MVP as part of Team Irvin’s 49-27 win over Team Rice.

The Pro Bowlers are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Here is the full NFC roster:

Offense

Wide receiver: Julio Jones, Falcons; Odell Beckham, Giants; Mike Evans, Buccaneers; Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Tackle: Tyron Smith, Cowboys; Trent Williams, Redskins; Jason Peters, Eagles

Guard: Zack Martin, Cowboys; Brandon Scherff, Redskins; T.J. Lang, Packers

Center: Travis Frederick, Cowboys; Alex Mack, Falcons

Tight end: Greg Olsen, Panthers; Jordan Reed, Redskins

Quarterback: Matt Ryan, Falcons; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys; David Johnson, Cardinals; Devonta Freeman, Falcons

Fullback: Mike Tolbert, Panthers

Defense

Defensive end: Everson Griffen, Vikings; Cliff Avril, Seahawks; Michael Bennett, Seahawks

Interior linemen: Aaron Donald, Rams; Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers; Fletcher Cox, Eagles

Outside linebacker: Vic Beasley, Falcons; Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins; Thomas Davis, Panthers

Inside/middle linebacker: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; Luke Kuechly, Panthers

Cornerback: Janoris Jenkins, Giants; Patrick Peterson, Cardinals; Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Xavier Rhodes, Vikings

Free safety: Harrison Smith, Vikings; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers

Strong safety: Landon Collins, Giants

Special teams

Punter: Johnny Hekker, Rams

Kicker: Matt Bryant, Falcons

Return specialist: Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings

Special teamer: Dwayne Harris, Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks Stone Forsythe...
Brandon Gustafson

Is 2021 rookie Stone Forsythe the Seahawks’ LT of the future?

Former NFL OL "Big" Ray Roberts joined Wyman and Bob on Friday and discussed what the future of 2021 Seahawks rookie OT Stone Forsythe.
19 hours ago
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Brandon Gustafson

Ray Roberts on whether Seahawks should re-sign their free-agent O-linemen

Three of the Seahawks' five starting OL from 2021 are hitting free agency. Ray Roberts discussed what Seattle should do with that trio.
2 days ago
Seahawks Pete Carroll, Shane Waldron...
Brandon Gustafson

Wyman and Bob: The risk of Seahawks hiring a first-time D-coordinator

The Seahawks hired a first-time coordinator on offense last offseason. Wyman and Bob discuss the risk in doing that on defense this year.
2 days ago
Seahawks Chandler Jones...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Who Seahawks can add to make defense more aggressive in 2022

Jake Heaps thinks the Seahawks will be more aggressive on defense in 2022, and he thinks a few free agents could help in that regard.
2 days ago
Seahawks Clint Hurtt...
Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: Seahawks should promote Clint Hurtt to defensive coordinator

The Seahawks may go with an outside hire for their D-coordinator, but Michael Bumpus thinks the guy for the job is already with the team.
2 days ago
Seahawks Ed Donatell...
Brandon Gustafson

Dave Wyman breaks down Seahawks’ 4 reported defensive coordinator candidates

Four coaches are linked to the Seahawks' D-coordinator vacancy. Dave Wyman shares his thoughts on the list and who he thinks the favorite is.
3 days ago
First-timer Cliff Avril leads group of 4 Seahawks defenders selected to Pro Bowl