NFL: 25 Most Surprising Pro Bowl Picks This Century: 5. 2001 Stephen Alexander
The tight end position has evolved over the years. They are a much more important part of the offense now than it was back in the day. There weren’t many George Kittle or Rob Gronkowski types in the NFL at the turn of the century. That’s how someone like Stephen Alexander makes it to the Pro Bowl.
Alexander finished the 2000 season with under 600 yards, under 50 receptions, and just two touchdowns. Those are pretty underwhelming stats. His yards per target were slightly up from the year before. His catch percentage was a little better, but was Stephen Alexander making the Washington team that much better? Not many would say yes.
78 players had more receiving yards than Alexander in 2000. 7 of those players were tight ends. This is just a confusing choice in a league where Shannon Sharpe and Freddie Jones were stuck on the sidelines. Alexander basically got lucky that the NFC took a year off from having quality tight ends. There was nobody in that conference, and that’s how Alexander makes it.
He didn’t do much of anything for the rest of his career. He had 85 yards the next season. Not the next game, the next season. That happened in nine games, so it’s not even like he was injured for most of it. He would move on to the AFC where there are actual quality tight ends, and he would never make it to the Pro Bowl again. He wasn’t even considered, which is probably what you’d expect.