The 49ers will send two players to the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., despite having the second-worst record in the NFC.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end George Kittle were named to the NFC roster, while defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, kicker Robbie Gould and special teamer/linebacker Mark Nzeocha were named alternates, the NFL announced Tuesday.
Juszczyk was named a starter and will make his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl. He’s regarded as one of the most versatile fullbacks in the NFL and has 29 receptions for 309 yards while also being a productive blocker for the league’s 10th-ranked rushing offense.
Kittle will make his first Pro Bowl trip in his second NFL season. He’s having the most productive campaign for a tight end in team history, leading the 49ers with 72 receptions for 1,154 yards. He broke Vernon Davis’ season record from 2009 two weeks ago against the Broncos during his 210-yard performance, which was 5 yards short of the NFL single-game record for a tight end.
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Kittle has done considerable damage after the catch, which is a credit to his elite speed and coach Kyle Shanahan’s ability to find him openings. Only Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has more yards after the catch than Kittle’s 740. Kittle is the only non-running back in the top six in that category. And, he’s considered one of the top blocking tight ends in football.
Buckner was snubbed out of a spot. The NFC is sending linemen Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles and Akiem Hicks of the Chicago Bears, even though Buckner has more sacks (11) than Cox (7.5) and Hicks (6).
Hicks has been one of the most disruptive players in the NFL this season and plays on the league’s most ferocious defense. Cox has 3.5 sacks in the past three games, but the Eagles for the season rank 27th in total defense. The 49ers rank 12th while Buckner is clearly the team’s most indispensable player on that side.
Gould is having a second straight stellar season since joining the 49ers in 2017. He’s made 29 of 30 field goals and 24 of 26 extra points. His field-goal percentage is the best in the NFC, slightly ahead of the player who made the NFC roster, Aldrick Rosas of the New York Giants. Rosas has made 28 of 29 field goals and 25 of 26 extra points.
Nzeocha earned his way onto the ballot by way of special teams and a strong contingent of fan votes from his native Germany, who accounted for 183,150 when voting ended last Thursday, according to ESPN.
No Raiders were named to the Pro Bowl, but linebacker Khalil Mack, whom the Raiders traded to the Chicago Bears before the season, was named a starter.