In the midst of a winless season, the Cleveland Browns appeared to be one of five team who were without a Pro Bowl selection After the rosters were announced. The Bears, Packers, Jets, Colts, and Browns were the only teams in football without representation.
The chance remained, however, as Joe Schobert and Joel Bitonio were named alternates for the game. This chance became a reality on Tuesday when has was named to the Pro Bowl roster for 2018. The opportunity came with a bittersweet caveat as Schobert will replace injured Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier, who is unable to participate due to the severe spinal injury he suffered in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Schobert, a fourth round pick in the 2016 draft out of Wisconsin, is the first Browns linebacker to make the Pro Bowl since Jamir Miller in 2002. He tied for first in the NFL with 144 tackles this season, and was the key cog in the middle of the Browns defense recording three forced fumbles, three sacks, four passes defensed and one interception.
The second-year pro anchored a defense that was vastly improved against the run, ranking in the top five in yards per carry. Moving from the outside edge under Ray Horton to the interior for Gregg Williams, he also improved against the pass as his four passes defended, and interception showed progress in that phase of the game. Schobert reaching the Pro Bowl in just his second year is a feat only Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, and Josh Gordon have been able to accomplish since the return of the Browns in 1999.
The 2018 Pro Bowl will be played at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.