Trio of offensive linemen among 5 Bucs selected to Pro Bowl

Ryan Jensen, Ali Marpet and Tristan Wirfs all were selected for the first time.
Bucs center Ryan Jensen (66) and left guard Ali Marpet (74) are among three Tampa Bay offensive linemen who have been selected for the Pro Bowl. Second-year right tackle Tristan Wirfs is the other.
Bucs center Ryan Jensen (66) and left guard Ali Marpet (74) are among three Tampa Bay offensive linemen who have been selected for the Pro Bowl. Second-year right tackle Tristan Wirfs is the other. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Dec. 23, 2021|Updated Dec. 23, 2021

TAMPA — In one nationally televised reveal, the Bucs offensive line underwent a staggering transformation, from unheralded to unprecedented.

Center Ryan Jensen, left guard Ali Marpet and right tackle Tristan Wirfs have been selected for the Pro Bowl, marking the first time in franchise history three Bucs offensive linemen earned the honor in the same season.

All are first-time selections, providing validation for a unit that ranks first in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed per pass attempt (3.4 percent) and most games without allowing a sack (10) since the start of the 2020 season.

Jensen in in his eighth season, Marpet his seventh. Wirfs was widely considered a glaring Pro Bowl snub as a rookie in 2020.

They’re joined on the NFC team by quarterback Tom Brady, recently announced as having made the Pro Bowl an unprecedented 15th time; and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who earned his second Pro Bowl nod in three seasons.

The rosters can be seen in full at this link. Wirfs is the only member of the Bucs quintet to be named a starter in the game.

The roster selections are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches, with each group’s vote counting one-third toward determining the 88 honorees.

Brady led all quarterbacks in the fan balloting with 237,468 votes. Devin White was the only other Bucs player to finish in the top five of fan voting at his respective position, finishing second among inside linebackers to Cowboys rookie Micah Parsons.

Marpet, Jensen and Wirfs finished ninth among fans at their respective spots, with Bucs right guard Alex Cappa placing two spots ahead of Marpet. Barrett finished 10th among outside linebackers.

Barrett, who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with Tampa Bay in March, leads the Bucs with nine sacks, one more than his 2020 total but well shy of his franchise-record 19-1/2 in 2019. With one more, he’ll join Simeon Rice (five), Lee Roy Selmon (four) and Warren Sapp (three) as the only players in franchise history with multiple 10-sack seasons.

Among NFC players this season, Barrett ranks tied for second in strip sacks (three), tied for fifth in quarterback hits (21) and tied for eighth in sacks.

Among the notable Pro Bowl omissions: resurgent tailback Leonard Fournette and fifth-year receiver Chris Godwin.

Before suffering a hamstring injury Sunday likely to sideline him the final three regular season games, Fournette had 812 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He also had evolved into one of Brady’s favorite targets (69 catches, 454 yards, two TDs) and a vital cog in pass protection.

Godwin’s season came to an excruciating halt Sunday night, when he tore his right ACL while being tackled low by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams. To that point, he had totaled a team-high 98 catches (for 1,103 yards), eight shy of Keyshawn Johnson’s franchise record.

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Godwin and Fournette both were named as alternates, along with White, Cappa, receiver Mike Evans, nose tackle Vita Vea, tight end Rob Gronkowski and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. White, Evans and Winfield are first alternates.

The 2022 Pro Bowl is set for Feb. 6 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The game will be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN and Disney XD.

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