The rookie season for linebacker Leighton Vander Esch just got a little better.
The Cowboys’ first-round pick has been named to the 2019 Pro Bowl roster, replacing Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, who is not playing because of an injury.
Vander Esch, who set the Cowboys’ rookie record for tackles in a season with 176, was a second-team All-Pro selection by The Associated Press.
Vander Esch becomes the first Cowboys defensive rookie in 37 years to make the Pro Bowl and only third ever in franchise history along with Everson Walls (1981) and Mel Renfro (1964). Vander Esch is just the 11th rookie overall in Cowboys history to make the Pro Bowl.
Despite being a rookie, Vander Esch will feel right at home during the week as the Cowboys’ staff will be coaching the NFC roster.
The other NFC inside linebacker will be Seattle’s Bobby Wagner.
Currently, the team has six Pro Bowlers headed to Orlando, joining DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott. Martin told the media earlier this week he might not play in the game due to his lingering knee injury throughout the second half of the season and into the playoffs.