Cincinnati Bengal Jessie Bates III was PFF’s highest-rated safety in 2020, but still somehow missed out on his first Pro Bowl appearance.
In every measurable aspect, Jessie Bates III has been dominant all year for the Cincinnati Bengals. The stellar safety has been one of the few consistent players on the team, and his play this year has left no doubt that he’s the franchise’s best player for the time being.
Bates leads the Bengals in tackles with 70 solo tackles and he has assisted on an additional 27. He has also proven to be a ball hawk once more, as he leads Cincinnati in interceptions with three.
His numbers aren’t just impressive in the Queen City. While the 23-year-old standout is leading the Bengals’ defense in multiple categories, he is also leading all NFL safeties in others. Up to this point of the season, Bates is first in PFF’s grading system for safeties with a 91.6 grade. For comparison’s sake, the next highest-graded safety is the Los Angeles Rams’ John Johnson III at 86.7.
Bates also leads all safeties in passes defended with 15 total so far this year. The next closest safety is C.J. Gardner-Johnson of the New Orleans Saints with 12.
Three players were voted over Jessie Bates
When all was said and done, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Justin Simmons, and Tyrann Mathieu were voted to be the three AFC safeties.
Pro football focus grades aren’t always going to be able to tell you who the best players are, but Bates is blowing his competition out of the water when it comes to being graded.
One player that Bates should have definitely made it over was Kansas City’s Tyrann Mathieu. According to PFF, Bates is 27.5 points ahead of Mathieu. The one category that Mathieu does have the edge over Bates is interceptions. Mathieu has six, while Bates only has three.
That being said, the 27.5 point advantage, a blowout of a grade for Bates, should have easily given him the nod for the Pro Bowl over Mathieu.
Out of the three players who got Pro Bowl honors, Justin Simmons of the Denver Broncos was the closest to Bates in PFF’s grades. Bates still has an 11 point advantage on Simmons, which is still a huge difference.
Given his stat line, PFF grading, and standing within the league, it almost seems criminal that Bates didn’t get the nod for a Pro Bowl selection.
2020 is a year to forget for the whole city of Cincinnati
No Bengals players made the cut for the 2020 Pro Bowl, marking the first time since 2010 that Cincinnati will have zero representation at the event.
On the bright side, the future doesn’t look as dark. The club has 11 players currently on injured reserve, and many of them have the kind of talent needed to earn Pro Bowl recognition moving forward.
Regardless, with the loss of heart and soul Joe Burrow, in addition to getting shut out of the Pro Bowl, 2020 is a year to forget for Cincinnati sports fans.
Jessie Bates could still make the All-Pro Team
Although Bates missed out on the fan-driven Pro Bowl, the NFL’s All-Pro Team is based purely on stats and skill. Fans have no say in this metric.
Bates playing on the awful Bengals this year could have been the reason he missed the cut for the Pro Bowl. The mainstream media isn’t talking about the “Burrow-less” Bengals, let alone Jessie Bates III.
At the end of the year, will Bates be rewarded for his superb play, or will he be snubbed once again?