James Laurinaitis is a top-flight, stud middle linebacker. It is no surprise. We know that. We have known that since the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Since coming into the league, JL55 has lead the team in tackles. In total, Laurinaitis has tallied up 376 tackles, eight sacks, and five interceptions over his budding three-year career. In my humble opinion, those are some pretty damn good numbers, stats that we have not seen since since the team let go of London Fletcher over a decade ago (he had 352 tackles during his four-year term wearing the horns).
Our old friend Fletcher did not get a Pro Bowl nod until 2010, despite his above average output. Animal Jr. is seemingly headed in the same direction. Despite his stellar play, he hasn't even had a whispering mention in the Pro Bowl conversations (peg that on the Rams' less-than-stellar play).
It seemed that only us here at TST knew that we had a Pro Bowl caliber player in JL55. That is, until the good ol' folks over at NFL.com reiterated sentiments we have had for the past couple years.Brian McIntyre, a writer for Around the League, says that James could have his first Pro Bowl berth as soon as this season.
McIntyre mentions the additions of defensive tackles Kendall Langford, rookie Michael Brockers, and rotational man Trevor Laws as being key to Laurinaitis' potential production increase. Newcomers Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Rocky McIntosh were also mentioned.
McIntyre also added on another interesting asset that Laurinaitis has this upcoming season: Dave McGinnis. McGinnis, as noted by McIntyre, coached the great Mike Singletary. The former 49er head coach when on to play in a Pro Bowl each year while under McGinnis' tutelage.
If James Laurinaitis is as great as we – here at TST – say he is, then his chances of playing in the Pro Bowl this year are pretty good. Lets just hope McGinnis and the better supporting cast can uplift James into that Pro Bowl level of play.