Perhaps the most annoying part of the Arizona Cardinals' struggles this season was the lack of recognition for their stellar defense. Before they started playing a bit lackadaisically down the stretch, they were ranked as a top ten unit, up from the 29th best defense in the NFL just two seasons ago.
One of the biggest pieces to this new, revamped squad is Daryl Washington. Washington led the NFL with sacks from the inside linebacker position. His great speed and strength went unnoticed by much of the league because his team simply was not winning games. That is why Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, the two inside linebackers for the 49ers, were voted to the NFL Pro Bowl in 2013 and Washington wasn't.
But not everyone overlooked Washington's big season. Peter King, a very respected NFL writer from Sports Illustrated, released his All-Pro team yesterday, which accounts for players from both the NFC and AFC. Washington made his list as a middle linebacker selection alongside Steelers inside 'backer, Lawrence Timmons.
King further validates that the Pro Bowl has become a harsh joke in the NFL community. It is more of a grade school popularity contest than anything else, as opposed to a selection of the best football players from that specific season. That is not to say that both Bowman and Willis did not deserve the spots they won. They did. I, and apparently King, think Washington still should have made it to Hawaii one way or another.
So kudos to Peter King for recognizing talent even when the majority of the NFL media doesn't. It's time for people to start realizing that talent doesn't just come from winning teams.