Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick didn’t make the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He had to wait till his sophomore season and has now been selected to three straight.
Neither did left tackle Tyron Smith, who has been selected to his fourth Pro Bowl.
But the Cowboys boast a pair of sensational rookies this season in quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Each earned a selection to the Pro Bowl this season, the first time in Cowboys history that two rookies are going to the annual all-star game, and also find themselves in the MVP conversation.
“It’s awesome when you get a chance to see that because generally the way Pro Bowls work is you kind of have to play at a Pro Bowl level for a year before you get in,” Frederick said. “I don’t know why that it is, it’s just kind of how it works. Like your name gets out there and then the next year you might get in.
“So for rookies to get in you’ve got to playing exceptionally. Your name has to be out there, guys have to know who you are. So for us to have two rookies make it, that’s a big deal for them.”
There’s no question Prescott and Elliott are playing at a high level for the NFC’s best team.
Prescott has put together an MVP-caliber season in leading the Cowboys to a 12-2 record, passing for 20 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He has 3,418 passing yards, the league’s fourth-highest completion percentage (67.7), and a 103.2 passer rating on the season, a number Tony Romo has bettered only once in his career (113.2 in 2014).
Prescott became the Cowboys’ first rookie quarterback selected to the Pro Bowl, quite a feat for an organization that boasts Hall of Famers such as Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
“He’s shown his poise and his accuracy and his leadership skills have been on display all year, win or lose,” third-string quarterback Mark Sanchez said of Prescott. “It’s been impressive to watch and fun to watch. Fun guy to be around, total team guy and the best part is he acknowledges all the help he’s had. All the teamwork, the camaraderie we have. Guys have to block on every play, we have to have an explosive running game, all the play-action stuff works off that.
“I’m fired up for him. I told him that’s really cool. But, sorry, you’re not going to make it.”
Elliott is leading the league in rushing with 1,551 yards – more than the total for 18 teams – and has set a franchise record with 13 rushing touchdowns as a rookie. If Elliott averages 129 yards the final two games, he’ll break Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards set in 1983.
Frederick said the offensive line isn’t aware of what number Elliott needs to set the record, saying they only want to put Elliott in position to succeed.
But Frederick is excited about another Pro Bowl nod, particularly sharing the honor with fellow linemen in Smith and right guard Zack Martin.
“It’s certainly an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Frederick said. “It means a lot to have that selection, but right now our focus is on Detroit and what we have left in our season.”