When free agent cornerback A.J. Bouye signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March, penciled in to start opposite 2016 rookie sensation Jalen Ramsey, it gave the Jaguars arguably the NFL’s best pair of corners — on paper.
This week, that status was all but confirmed, as Bouye and Ramsey were selected as the starting cornerbacks for the AFC in the 2018 Pro Bowl. The NFL’s annual all-star game is scheduled for Jan. 28 in Orlando.
Bouye had six interceptions this season to go with 17 pass breakups and 49 tackles. Ramsey registered four interceptions, 17 pass breakups and 53 tackles. Together, they’ve helped the Jaguars’ defense lead the league in fewest points allowed (14.9 per game) and fewest passing yards allowed (168.9 per game), while ranking third in fewest total yards allowed (284.1 per game). Jacksonville’s D is second in the NFL in both interceptions (15) and total takeaways (31). With a 10-4 record going into Week 16, the Jaguars have clinched the AFC South division title and could still secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
As is the case every year, it’s inevitable that some of the players originally picked for the Pro Bowl won’t play in the game — either because their teams are in the Super Bowl, or they just finished a grueling playoff run, or they’re too banged-up from the season — and alternates will be chosen.
But for now, joining the Jaguars corners in the AFC starting defensive backfield will be Baltimore Ravens free safety Eric Weddle and Miami Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones. The reserve defensive backs are Denver Broncos corner Aqib Talib, Los Angeles Chargers corner Casey Hayward and Buffalo Bills strong safety Micah Hyde.
The NFC starting secondary is made up of New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins, Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. The reserves are Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay.
Cardinals safety Budda Baker also made the Pro Bowl as the NFC’s designated special teams player. Lattimore and Baker are two of the four rookies who made the Pro Bowl.
The Pittsburgh Steelers led the league with eight Pro Bowlers, however, none of their defensive backs were chosen. In fact, the only Pittsburgh defender to make the roster was injured linebacker Ryan Shazier.