2020 Pro Bowl: 49ers have four starters, eight alternates on NFC team


SANTA CLARA -- The fans spoke in support of six 49ers players as the leading vote-getters at their positions.

And, now, the NFL’s coaches and players have rounded out the picture to officially select the 2020 Pro Bowls teams.

Tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, defensive end Nick Bosa and cornerback Richard Sherman were honored with starting spots on the NFC Pro Bowl team, the NFL announced on Tuesday evening.

It was the most 49ers selected for the Pro Bowl since 2013, when nine playeres were selected to the team. The Pro Bowl will take place Sunday, Jan. 16, in Orlando. With the Super Bowl taking place the following Sunday, all players on teams that advance to the Super Bowl will be replaced on the Pro Bowl rosters.

The 49ers (11-3) received the second-most votes in fan balloting, behind only the Baltimore Ravens (12-2).

There were a number of notable snubs, including defensive linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, both of whom were announced as alternates.

Other alternates are quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, special-teams player Raheem Mostert, center Weston Richburg, tackle Joe Staley, linebacker Fred Warner and safety Jimmie Ward.

Kittle, Juszczyk, Bosa, Armstead, Sherman and Mostert led the fan vote at their respective positions.

“I think we should’ve had a couple more,” Kittle said. “But it says we have a really good team and we got a lot of guys playing at a really high level. And that’s all you can ask for.”

Kittle, a third-year professional, was named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive season. Entering the 49ers’ Week 16 game against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Kittle leads the team with 73 receptions for 888 yards and four touchdowns.

Kittle’s 2,780 career receiving yards are the most for a tight end through his first three seasons in league history. With his 134-yard performance on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, Kittle surpassed Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowki and Mike Ditka.

Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, did not waste any time in making a major contribution to the 49ers. His nine sacks are second on the team, and second in the NFL among rookies. Only Jacksonville’s Josh Allen (10) has more sacks in his first year.

Bosa won two NFC Defensive Player of the Month awards, as well as NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. Since early in the season, he has faced a lot of double-team blocks.

“I’ve never seen a rookie get more attention than he's gotten,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “The amount of chips he gets, the amount of double teams, I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t believe teams are afraid of a rookie, but that’s their problem.”

Bosa leads the 49ers with 16 tackles for loss.

Sherman, 31, was selected to his fifth career Pro Bowl and his first with the 49ers. In seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Sherman made the Pro Bowl four times and was a first-team All-Pro selection.

He signed with the 49ers in the spring of 2018 shortly after the Seahawks released him. Sherman, who was coming off Achilles surgery, appeared in 14 games last season with the 49ers and went without an interception for the first time in his career.

This year, Sherman has been much closer to his old form. He has three interceptions, including a return for a touchdown. According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman leads NFL cornerbacks with 0.54 yards allowed per snap in coverage. He has allowed just 27 catches for 227 yards and one touchdown all season for a passer rating against of 48.6.

[RELATED: Sherman says 49ers' D ran 'awful schemes' under Tomsula]

Juszczyk was named to the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive year and his third time in three seasons with the 49ers. Juszczyk made the AFC Pro Bowl team in his final season with the Ravens before signing with San Francisco as an unrestricted free agent on the first day of free agency in 2017.

Juszczyk has 18 receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown. He also serves a valuable role as a lead-blocker in the 49ers’ complex running game.

The 49ers’ biggest snubs were Buckner, who made the Pro Bowl last year, and Armstead.

Although his sack total has dropped from his career-high of 12.5 last season, Buckner is considered one of the 49ers’ top players.

He compares favorably – or just better – to Pro Bowl selections Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox and Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett. Buckner leads 49ers defensive linemen with 56 tackles and has 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one touchdown.

Cox has 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and no recoveries, while Jarrett has 65 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and no recoveries.

Armstead, a fifth-year pro, is having his breakout season with a team-leading 10 sacks while splitting time as a defensive end in base situations and a defensive tackle on passing downs.

His best NFL season is coming at the perfect time, too.

Armstead, the No. 17 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, is playing this season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in the offseason -- if the 49ers choose not to lock him up on the franchise tag.

Garoppolo was named an alternate, as he has taken every meaningful snap for the 49ers this season. He has completed 69.1 percent of his pass attempts for 3,445 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His passer rating is 102.8.

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