EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Running back Saquon Barkley and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, two key players in the Giants' resurgent season, were announced as Pro Bowl selections. Barkley was chosen as a starter, while Lawrence is a reserve.
It's the second Pro Bowl for Barkley, who was elected to the game in his 2018 Rookie of the Year season. Lawrence was selected for the first time in his four-year career. He is the first Giants defensive lineman to receive the honor since end Jason Pierre-Paul was selected to his second Pro Bowl in 2012, and the first interior lineman to go since nose tackle Erik Howard in 1990.
Barkley and Lawrence are the Giants' first Pro Bowlers since tight end Evan Engram and cornerback James Bradberry in 2020.
Hours before it was revealed that he had been selected, Barkley was asked what making the Pro Bowl would mean to him.
"What would it mean making the Pro Bowl?" he said. "I can't sit here and be like, 'Oh, it wouldn't mean anything,' because that's part of the fans. The fans vote and give you an opportunity to get in there and also coaches and players vote. So, it just shows a respect of your peers and the respect of the fans out there. So, I'll just be more thankful, show more gratitude to those people, because the only way you get in is because of that. Obviously, it's determined with the play that you do on the football field, but I'll just be more thankful and show gratitude to the people that voted me in."
Giants.com takes a look at the Pro Bowl through the years.
This will be the first year of a new format for the Pro Bowl.
After the 2022 Pro Bowl was played without tackling, the NFL announced in September it was discontinuing the game, which was first played in 1951. It has been replaced by a weeklong skills competition and flag football game. The new event has been renamed "The Pro Bowl Games" and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills over several days in Las Vegas.
The flag football game will be played there in Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 5, one week before Super Bowl LVII in Arizona.
Barkley has been the most productive offensive player for the 8-5-1 Giants, who can greatly enhance their postseason prospects with a victory against the 11-3 Vikings Saturday in Minnesota.
The fifth year running back is fourth in the NFL with 1,170 rushing yards and sixth with 1,464 yards from scrimmage. Each figure is the second highest of his career. Barkley leads the Giants in rushing yards, receptions (47) and touchdowns (nine), a trifecta no Giants player has achieved since Barkley in 2018 (with 1,307 rushing yards, 91 receptions and 15 touchdowns, 11 on the ground).
Barkley was the second overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, while Lawrence was taken No. 17 a year later. Lawrence has missed only one game in his four seasons, in Chicago on Jan. 2, when he was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
This season, Lawrence has a team-best and career-high 6.5 sacks, just 3.5 fewer than he had in his first three seasons combined. He is third on the team and first among the defensive linemen with 57 tackles (26 solo). Lawrence's 24 quarterback hits are 13 more than team runner-up Kayvon Thibodeaux. He has five tackles for loss, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
Both Pro Bowlers were major contributors to the Giants' 20-12 victory in Washington Sunday night.
Barkley ran for 81 yards on 10 carries, including a three-yarder on a direct snap in the second quarter for the team's only offensive touchdown. He ran for 52 yards in the fourth quarter, including 48 on a fourth-quarter possession that ended with Graham Gano extending the Giants' lead to eight points with a 50-yard field goal. Barkley also tied Darius Slayton for the team lead with five receptions, for 33 yards.
Lawrence had two tackles, split a sack with Azeez Ojulari and forced a fumble by quarterback Taylor Heinicke that was recovered by Leonard Williams with 6:06 to play. That was the first of two red zone stops for the Giants in the final minutes and set up the drive that ended with Gano's field goal.
In addition to Barkley and Lawrence, four Giants are alternates to the Pro Bowl: placekicker Graham Gano (second alternate), tackle Andrew Thomas and center Jon Feliciano (both third alternates), and linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (fourth).