4 Commanders who could become first-time Pro Bowlers in 2022

Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) makes a catch over New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.Nyg Vs Was
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) makes a catch over New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.Nyg Vs Was /
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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

3. Antonio Gibson

If we’re being honest, Antonio Gibson has as good of a shot as anybody on Washington’s roster to make the Pro Bowl next season.

For starters, most of the NFL’s upper-echelon running backs reside in the AFC, including Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon and Najee Harris. Four of them (Taylor, Chubb, Mixon and Harris) finished in the top four in rushing.

Care to guess who finished sixth? One Antonio Gibson.

With Pro Bowl rosters carrying three RBs, Gibson has an excellent chance to get voted in next season. If not for James Conner finishing first in the conference with 16 touchdowns (he had just 752 rushing yards), the 23-year-old Gibson likely would’ve gotten the nod alongside Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara.

On paper, Gibson’s numbers were Pro Bowl-worthy. Not only did he rank second in the conference in carries (258), he finished second only to Cook in rushing yards (1,037), third in touchdowns (seven) and first in first downs (65).

The only knock? Gibson averaged just 4.0 yards per carry and his six fumbles tied Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow for the most among non-quarterbacks.

With the Commanders expected to have a more dynamic offense with Carson Wentz under center, Gibson’s YPC should improve. In other words, he’ll have a fast-track to the Pro Bowl if he nips his fumbling issue in the bud.

Of course, that’s a huge if.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

2. Kendall Fuller

The cornerback position is absolutely loaded with premier talents. While Kendall Fuller doesn’t necessarily belong in that category, he’s a gifted player and could breakthrough as a Pro Bowler if he puts together a complete season.

Of course, Fuller’s early-season struggles can be attributed to the fact that he played inside. When rookie Benjamin St-Juste went in concussion protocol, though, Fuller jumped back outside and performed like a top-tier CB the rest of the way.

According to Pro Football Focus, Fuller was the second-most valuable cornerback in the league and was the highest-graded player at the position from Week 8 onward. The 27-year-old’s 81.5 player grade ranked third at the position, too.

The only thing working against Fuller, other than the boatload of talent at the position, is he doesn’t make a ton of interceptions. He’s managed only 11 over his six years in the NFL and accounted for one last season, though it was a big one in the end zone against Seattle that secured the win of Washington.

With Fuller always ranking near the top of the league in tackles, passes defended, coverage grades and run defense, racking up a few more interceptions could be the difference in whether he makes his first Pro Bowl in 2022.

We all know he has the talent to make it happen.

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

1. Terry McLaurin

Like Fuller, Terry McLaurin is competing against a ton of superstar talents … though it helps Davante Adams is no longer in the NFC. With Adams, who’s been to five straight Pro Bowls, out of the picture, McLaurin’s foremost competition is Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel, Justin Jefferson, Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins.

That’s a ridiculous crop of talent, but with Pro Bowl rosters carrying two starting receivers and four reserves, McLaurin has a chance. An annual lock to play at least 16 games, all McLaurin seemingly needs to get over the proverbial hump is improved quarterback play.

Assuming Carson Wentz will represent a notable upgrade over Taylor Heinicke, who was erratic almost every time he looked McLaurin’s direction last year, the 2019 third-round pick will be in a position to post Pro Bowl-worthy numbers.

In 2021, McLaurin logged 77 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns; impressive numbers for a player who had just three 100-yard games, five games with 40 or fewer receiving yards and 11 contests with four or fewer catches.

If McLaurin can get upwards of 90 catches, 1,200 yards and 8-10 touchdowns, that should be enough to see him represent Washington in the Pro Bowl. It won’t be easy, but we know better than to doubt Scary Terry.

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