Despite his 154 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two passes defended, and forced fumble last season, LB NaVorro Bowman missed Pro Football Focus' Top 101 NFL players of 2015 list, which was a breakdown of the best performers on an individual level over the year.
Now Bowman has missed Pro Football Focus' list of the 101 Best Players in the NFL Right Now. Unlike the previous list, which simply looked at the 2015 season, this new list simply looks at who are the best players in the game based on all of Pro Football Focus' available data.
Bowman, who started all 16 games in 2015, played at a high level during his first season back after recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. His 154 tackles led the league. So what was the reasoning for his absence on the list? The following is Sam Monson's reasoning, which is not dissimilar from the reason he missed the Top 101 of 2015 list.
While [Ezekiel] Ansah is a player that hasn't hit the 101 level yet, NaVorro Bowman is a guy who has been there and done that, just not recently enough for me to have faith that he'll be that guy in 2016. In his defense, he was coming off a major injury in 2015, and we have seen in the past that the first year back for players (think Geno Atkins) is often just a weak imitation of the guy they have the potential to be. Regardless, Bowman was a shadow of himself in 2015, despite the tackle numbers.
The 49er was actually still very good against the run in 2015; he led all linebackers in both tackles and stops by a significant margin, but his play fell away in coverage, where he allowed 90.3 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught and a passer rating of 110.9 when targeted. Bowman at his best was a complete linebacker, but the player of 2015 was far more one-dimensional. If he rediscovers the rest of his play this year, he will jump back onto the list.
The lone 49ers player that did make their 101 Best Players in the NFL Right Now list was OT Joe Staley, who ranked in at No. 66.
Last month, Bowman ranked No. 61 in NFL Network's annual Top 100 list. Bowman later called the list "totally bogus," saying that he had never seen a players ballot or teammate vote. NFL Network later responded to the accusation with proof of 49ers players voting and saying that "roughly half" of NFL players vote in the ranking.