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What Makes A Pro Bowl Player So Good?

Three players were named to the 2019 NFL Pro Bowl on Tuesday night: right guard Brandon Brooks, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and tight end Zach Ertz.

The stats do tell some of the story about how dominant these stars, who each have been named to consecutive Pro Bowls, have been this season.

  • Brooks is the second-highest rated guard in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus with an overall grade of 74.7. It's the second Pro Bowl selection of his seven-year career.
  • Ertz has already set the franchise record for receptions in a single season with 101 and is on pace to break the NFL single-season receptions record for a tight end of 110. It's his second selection in his six-year career.
  • Cox has the second-most quarterback hits in the league with 29 and has 7.5 sacks. He holds the Eagles' sack record for an interior lineman and his fourth Pro Bowl selection in his seven-year career puts him only behind Reggie White for the most Pro Bowls by a defensive lineman in Eagles history.

But the stats don't tell everything. So, we asked their teammates, the players who either work with or face-off against these elite players each day in practice and over the summer in Training Camp, about what makes them so impressive:

Brandon Brooks

"It's always good to see a guy you go against in Training Camp and OTAs and all that type of stuff make his second Pro Bowl. We always talk about it, man, just go out and be great. I appreciate him every day, he appreciates me, and there's something about that rivalry. Me and him every day in practice, I've never seen a guy that wants to be as great as Brandon. And we always help each other because we're teammates. I always show him what I think he can work on and he tells me what I can work on and it works." – Defensive Tackle Fletcher Cox

"He's very aggressive. Brandon Brooks is a great guy as well. He is well deserving of his accolades and many more. He's not easily beaten. He never gets beat. I've never seen Brooks get beaten at all in my handbook. I got to come in and work with that guy the first couple weeks and I'm still learning by giving him good looks each week to get him ready for our opponent. So, I see what he does, I see the kind of work ethic he takes into the week and the practice weekend. It's a fight-first mentality. He won't ever give up and he's all about the team.

"It makes me way better because I get to ask him where the weak points are or what I need to do to work on this or how I should attack this gap or this rush, so I get to just beat questions off of his mind all day every day. They're all very helpful and want to help up get better and we get each other better." – Defensive tackle Treyvon Hester

Fletcher Cox

"He's what that honor is supposed to be. I don't always agree with who does and who doesn't get in but that guy, they shouldn't have a Pro Bowl roster if he's not on it. He's dominant. At times this year, people who only look at the stat sheet say, 'Well, he hasn't had a sack in a couple of games.' He's been dominant week in and week out. You're talking about someone who hits the quarterback five, six times a game; pressures the quarterback three, four times a game. He's second in the league in quarterback hits, he's really consistent in the run game, he's a leader, all that stuff, so I'm just really happy he gets his due.

"He's tough, he leads by example, and he's just a great football player, man. Best comment I can give him is he's a complete player. He's the best player in the building, in my opinion and he's a complete player. He plays the run and the pass equally well and he can wreck people's whole game plan." – Defensive end Chris Long

"Man, Fletcher's a great guy. Great team player, well deserving for every accolade he gets. Defensive MVP in my book. Great guy on and off the field, high-character guy of great integrity, just a guy that's going to demand the best out of you every day. But he's also going to help you become what you want to become. He's not going to stray you the wrong way, he's going to let you become what you want to become. He's there every step of the way. Fletcher Cox is a great, great teammate to have and a great captain and leader to have, and I'm very fortunate to battle behind that man.

"He doesn't put himself above the team. He's a team player. He's out there to do it for the team. And whatever he can do to make himself successful to help the team win, that's what he will do. And that's what we need on this team, that's what we need everywhere in this locker room. Great leader and a great guy to follow." – Defensive tackle Treyvon Hester

"He's very much deserving. He's one of those guys who, he's a veteran guy, he practices hard every week, he puts the time in, he does a really good job of coaching up the younger guys too, so he's not just solo dolo out there. He brings the other guys with him so I'm just glad he's on our team." – Linebacker Nathan Gerry

Zach Ertz

"Number one, finding that competitive edge that he has to bring it every day is impressive to be honest. His route running and knowledge of the game, of the offense put him in such amazing spots to do what he does. It's all a credit to him.

"Definitely different animal (on the field), it's really unique to just see the drive he has every day coming in to work. I'm just glad he's on our team." – Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill

"He's a great player. He runs routes well, he's consistent, and he's obviously smart. But that's the thing about him, he's consistent, you know where he's going to be, when he's going to be there, and he's going to catch the ball. So, that's really all you can ask for in a player.

"He's great in the meeting rooms, he's been a great leader for us in our room. We all support each other and lift each other up and we all do whatever we can to help the team win so it's always good to have that kind of leadership in your room. And a guy like Zach, great guy, he has a lot of things to teach us and we all learn a lot from it." – Tight end Richard Rodgers

"Much deserved. Zach, if you watch Zach for a full day, half a day, you know that he puts the work in, he's a very smart football player and not just his athletic ability, he's out there using his brain a lot so when you see him making those catches and stuff, he deserves it. He puts in the time to make those types of plays. I'm glad he's on my team, he's also one of those guys that brings everybody up with him." – Linebacker Nathan Gerry

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