5 dark-horse 49ers who could slip into Pro Bowl voting in 2022

Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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D.J. Jones, San Francisco 49ers
D.J. Jones #93 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

49ers Dark-Horse Pro Bowler No. 4: Nose Tackle D.J. Jones

Going back to the fan-based voting standards, it’s hard to recognize run-stuffing defensive tackles unless they’re totally piling up tackles left and right.

Considering 1-technique nose tackles aren’t always involved in three-down sets and usually come off the field in obvious passing situations, thereby cutting down on sack totals (those help a lot in Pro Bowl voting), someone like nose tackle D.J. Jones has an awfully big long shot at making it to the Pro Bowl this season.

Yet he’s certainly deserving of consideration.

For starters, Jones’ tackles are up there on the Niners defense, relatively speaking, with him having 47 on the year, which is fifth best. And while his lone sack this season won’t jump out for voters, it’s worthy of pointing out his two forced fumbles. Additionally, Jones has been a massive reason why San Francisco has cut down on being a defensive run-game liability in recent weeks, holding opponents to less than 100 yards in four of its last five games.

No wonder Jones’ 76.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade ranks 11th out of all interior defensive linemen with at least 50-percent snaps.

The big-name defensive tackles like the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Chris Jones will get the recognition and will receive the votes.

But Jones should be one of those names on the short list of alternates.