Three Pittsburgh Steelers took the top spot at their position in the AFC Pro Bowl fan voting that recently wrapped up. According to the NFL press release, OLB T.J. Watt, P Pressley Harvin III, and RS Ray-Ray McCloud each finished first in voting at their positions, making up one-third of the overall votes.
Watt led the way with over 237,000 votes. He’s had a remarkable season, even pushing past what he did in 2020. On the season, he’s recorded 17.5 sacks, a new official Steelers’ record, and is considered one of the favorites in the Defensive Player of the Year race. Against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Watt notched 1.5 sacks and makes big play after big play despite double teams, holds, and playing through injury. It’s no surprise to see him as a top vote-getter, and he’ll certainly be a starter on the official Pro Bowl roster.
The other two are much more surprising. Harvin has struggled his rookie season, and comes off an especially poor performance yesterday. He’s averaging just 43.3 yards per punt this year with a net average well under 40 yards, per metrics by today’s standards. He had two shanks against the Titans, 32 and 27-yard punts, that put the Steelers’ defense on a short field. Harvin finished with nearly 94,000 votes. Considering fan voting is just one-third of the process, it’s doubtful Harvin actually gets a Pro Bowl nod.
McCloud has been a competent return man this season, handling kicks and punts for the Steelers. Among qualified returners, his 22.4-yard average does rank near the bottom, 13th out of 15th players. His punt return numbers are more impressive, sixth league-wide with a 9.1 average, despite a long return this season of just 19 yards. He’s set to become the first Steeler to lead the team in kick return attempts two straight years since Rod Woodson in the early 90s. McCloud received over 98,000 votes from fans. It’s possible, though unlikely, he ends up with an official Pro Bowl berth this season.
Indianapolis Colts’ running back Jonathan Taylor was this year’s top vote-getter with over 265,000 voting for him. Watt finished seventh in overall voting.
Though they didn’t finish first at their positions, Cam Heyward should have very good odds to make another Pro Bowl, while Minkah Fitzpatrick could also be in the mix, though his lack of interceptions this season will hurt him.
Pro Bowl rosters will be announced this Wednesday at 8 PM/ET. This year’s Pro Bowl takes place in Las Vegas, with kickoff happening on Sunday, February 6th at 3 PM/EST.
UPDATE: 1:28 PM. Here are more results of the non-first place vote-getters. Kicker Chris Boswell, RB Najee Harris, and DT Cam Heyward finished third overall at their positions across the entire NFL. Long snapper Christian Kuntz finished fifth at long snapper, Minkah Fitzpatrick finished seventh at safety, and Miles Killebrew as a special teamer.