December 22, 2018 10:42:17 PM
STARKVILLE -- The NFL honored three former Mississippi State football standouts for their selection to the 2019 Pro Bowl roster earlier this week.
Linebacker Benardrick McKinney (Houston Texans), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (Philadelphia Eagles), and cornerback Darius Slay (Detroit Lions) earned Pro Bowl selections on Tuesday night. The three former MSU stars represent the most Pro Bowl selections for MSU since 2016, when Cox joined Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) and K.J. Wright (Seattle Seahawks) as All-Pro honorees.
Twenty-one former Southeastern Conference stars were selected to 2019 Pro Bowl rosters. Alabama and LSU led the way with four selections each. MSU and South Carolina boasted the second-most selections among SEC programs with three.
Cox had yet another dominant season on the Eagles' defensive line to earn his fourth-straight Pro Bowl selection. He is the 10th player in franchise history with at least four-straight All-Pro nods. Cox racked up the second-most quarterback hits in the NFL this season with 29. He also has seven-and-a-half sacks. Earlier this season, he became the Eagles' all-time leader in career sacks for interior defensive lineman.
Slay earned his second-straight Pro Bowl selection. He is the first Lions player to go to back-to-back Pro Bowls since Calvin Johnson went to six straight from 2010 to 2015. Slay is the third Detroit cornerback to make the Pro Bowl in back-to-back years in the Super Bowl era, joining Lem Barney and Dre Bly.
The sixth-year cornerback has three interceptions through 14 games this year. His 15 passes defended are third most in the NFL behind only Kyle Fuller (21) and Stephon Gilmore (18). Since entering the NFL in 2013, no one has defended more passes than Slay with 89 total. He's totaled 11 interceptions in the past two season, tied for the most by a cornerback in that span. He has 12 games in which he has defended at least three passes, the most in the league in the last six seasons.
Earning his first Pro Bowl selection, McKinney leads the Texans with 96tackles (58 solo) to go along with one-and-a-half sacks, five tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, one forced fumble and a single-season, career-high four passes defended. He ranks 11th in the AFC in tackles. Since 2016, McKinney has 320 tackles, which is fifth in the AFC.
In Houston franchise history, McKinney is ninth in total tackles (378) and seventh in tackles for loss (30).
The 2019 NFL Pro Bowl is set for Jan. 27, 2019, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. ESPN will televise the game.
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