While some positions are weaker than others, the Dallas Cowboys boast one of the NFL's deepest rosters. Despite their lack of playoff success, they're an annual lock to send myriad players to the Pro Bowl, and this year is no different.
A total of seven Cowboys were invited to the Pro Bowl: quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, outside linebacker Micah Parsons, guard Zack Martin, cornerback DaRon Bland, kicker Brandon Aubrey and punter Bryan Anger.
The Cowboys will be well-represented at the Pro Bowl games, but the immediate reaction among fans wasn't to congratulate this year's invitees. Rather, the voting sparked a collective outrage that DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyler Smith didn't get in.
Lawrence has been underrated throughout his career, but he's still made three Pro Bowls, including as recently as last season. While Lawrence was deserving in 2022, he's arguably in the midst of the best season of his career in 2023.
He and Smith were robbed this year.
Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyler Smith among most egregious Pro Bowl snubs
Folks will point to Lawrence's lack of pass-rush output as to why he didn't make it, but he's performed at an All-Pro level all season.
Despite only posting four sacks, Lawrence ranks in the 90th percentile in pass-rush grade, per PFF, as well as the 78th percentile in pass-rush win rate. Lawrence's16.7% pass-rush win rate and 15.3% pressure rate are his best since 2017, when he finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting,
He's also the best run defender at the position, as evidenced by his 99th percentile run-defense grade and 97th percentile run-stop percentage.
Beyond the stats is Lawrence's propensity to show up in the clutch. He helped clinch wins against both the Seahawks and Lions by blowing up running plays.
It's frustrating because his snub feeds into the narrative that he's "not a great player" because he doesn't post gaudy pass-rush numbers. Everyone who watches on Sunday recognizes he's been one of the game's best defensive ends.
You can't have them all, but Tyler Smith deserves to be in, too.
His 13 penalties are significant, but he's one of the best guards (and offensive lineman) in football. Period. Smith's allowed one sack all year and his 17 pressures are the second-fewest among guards who've played at least 800 snaps. His 98.4 pass-blocking efficiency is second at the position, and his 79.7 run-blocking grade is sixth.
And we're supposed to believe Smith isn't one of the three-best guards in the NFC? Maybe Martin's inclusion ended up screwing Smith, but why should that matter? Isn't the Pro Bowl about recognizing the best players at their respective positions?
There are other snubs around the NFL -- Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. chief among them -- but Lawrence and Smith missing out is as flagrant as it gets.