The NFL regular season has reached what could be considered the halfway point. There are still two months to sort out postseason honors, but several players are on pace to potentially receive Pro Bowl recognition. A year ago, there were 27 players who were selected to their first Pro Bowl.
Here are nine players who could receive the call this year:
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy
Purdy is one of six NFC quarterbacks to throw for more than 2,000 yards this season; two of those, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford, have been dealing with injuries. According to TruMedia, Purdy has the second highest passer rating in the NFL. San Francisco is currently on a bit of a cold streak, but one has to assume it will continue on an upward trajectory once the collective begins to heal.
Purdy is not a certainty to be recognized, but he is in the conversation. Quarterback is one position where multiple alternates are often called upon.
Jaguars running back Travis Etienne
Etienne entered the league as a first-round draft choice by then Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer in 2021. His rookie season was lost entirely after suffering a Lisfranc injury. His second season was impressive, as he accumulated more than 1,500 total yards of offense and five touchdowns despite acclimating to Doug Pederson's system. Through eight games in 2023, he has eight offensive touchdowns and just eight receptions fewer than he had in 17 games a year ago. The Clemson product is on pace for 1,239 rushing yards and 565 receiving yards.
Etienne currently ranks fourth in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns.
Dolphins running backs Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane are a few others who may have a strong case for the Pro Bowl by season's end. Neither has been selected to the Pro Bowl previously, but each has been incredibly effective for one of the most dynamic offenses in football.
Eagles running back D'Andre Swift
Swift has been a valuable addition for the Philadelphia offense. In addition to his 542 rushing yards, which is the fifth-most league-wide and the second-most by any NFC running back, and five rushing touchdowns, Swift has 28 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown for the 8-1 Eagles.
Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua
The rookie fifth-round pick from BYU ranks third in receiving yards (795) and second in targets (89). His 38 first-down receptions are fourth-most in the league.
When Cooper Kupp returned from injury, many wondered how that may impact Nacua. Prior to Kupp's return, the rookie averaged 9.75 receptions for 125.25 yards on 13 targets per game. Since, he has averaged five receptions for 62.5 yards on 8.8 targets. He is still having a fantastic season but is beginning to fall off his historic pace.
Bears wide receiver D.J. Moore
In his first season with Chicago, Moore has 691 receiving yards, which is the fifth-most in the league, and five touchdowns on 44 receptions through eight games. The crown jewel of a trade that netted Carolina its franchise quarterback has not exactly had a stable quarterback situation in the Windy City. All five of his touchdown receptions were thrown by Justin Fields, who has missed two games this season.
Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux
A year ago, Thibodeaux finished the season as the Giants' third-leading sack producer. Fast forward a year and the No. 5 overall selection from the 2022 NFL Draft has the fourth-most sacks in the NFL (8.5). According to TruMedia, his 9.6% pressure rate ranks No. 94 in the league, but statistics are key in Pro Bowl recognition.
Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Carter looks like an NFL player up against college competition. He is physically dominating, which is really impressive for a rookie. His 15.1% pressure rate is the fourth-highest among interior defenders, according to TruMedia. The only limiting factor has been availability. The first-round talent out of Georgia has been hampered by injury but still has four sacks on the year.
Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon
Witherspoon plays with supreme confidence. He understands what he's seeing and reacts quickly, whether that is rallying downhill to make a tackle in run support or to help break up a pass in coverage downfield. Seattle has asked him to play inside and outside, and the Illinois product has handled all assignments with grace. Opposing quarterbacks have just a 48.3 passer rating when targeting Witherspoon this season, according to TruMedia.
Ravens safety Geno Stone
Stone leads the NFL with five interceptions. Safety Marcus Williams has been unavailable for all but three games, so Stone has stepped up for the AFC North leading franchise. Stone has been a consistent performer since arriving as a seventh-round draft choice in 2020. According to TruMedia, he has surrendered just 94 yards in coverage this season.
Four players led the NFL with six interceptions last season. Three of those players were recognized with either All-Pro or Pro Bowl designations. The interception leaders in 2021 (Trevon Diggs) and 2020 (Xavien Howard) also went to the Pro Bowl. Two of the three interception leaders in 2019 went to the Pro Bowl as well.