From the time DeAndre Hopkins arrived in trade in March, the Cardinals knew they were acquiring a wide receiver that would annually make the Pro Bowl.
With Kyler Murray throwing him passes, it seemed reasonable to think the quarterback would have his first Pro Bowl coming soon.
And Budda Baker was well on his way to becoming a Pro Bowl mainstay at safety, with the way he has played at safety.
So it made sense that the Cardinals' trio each were named to the NFC Pro Bowl squad Monday afternoon, as the Cards make their push to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Hopkins and Baker were named starters. Because there is no actual Pro Bowl game this year due to COVID-19, no alternates were announced.
With the game canceled as an understandable outcome of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the league partnered with EA Sports and the video game Madden NFL '21 to take the rosters and play out the game virtually, which will be available to watch by fans on a variety of platforms.
Hopkins, who was a Pro Bowler four times while playing for the Houston Texans, is second in the NFL with 103 receptions and leads the NFL with 1,324 yards, along with six touchdowns. He also led all NFL wide receivers in fan votes up until the final tally, when he was overtaken by Seattle's DK Metcalf.
Hopkins already has seven 100-yard games this season and needs just seven more catches to set a franchise record – Larry Fitzgerald has had 109 twice. He becomes the fourth Cardinals Pro Bowl wide receiver in the last 20 years, joining Fitz (11 times), Anquan Boldin (3) and David Boston (1).
Murray, a Pro Bowl alternate as a rookie, makes his first Pro Bowl during a season in which he already has set the NFL record with nine games in which he had both a passing and rushing touchdown. With 26 touchdown passes and 11 rushing touchdowns so far, he is only the second player in NFL history – along with Cam Newton in 2015 – to have at least 25 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season.
He has improved on all his statistics of his rookie season, when he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has completed 336 of 497 passes with two games left, for 3,637 yards, the 26 TD passes and 11 interceptions. He also has 741 yards rushing, averaging six yards a carry.
More importantly, the Cardinals already have eight wins, after getting just five when Murray was a rookie.
"Every win is my favorite," Murray said after Sunday's defeat of the Eagles. "I can't say that enough."
Baker makes his second straight Pro Bowl as a safety and his third overall in the middle of his best season as a pro. He was the leading vote-getter in the league at strong safety among fans. He becomes the second Cardinal to make it to three Pro Bowls before the age of 25. (Patrick Peterson did it four times.)
Baker has 104 tackles this season – 79 solo – with two sacks, two interceptions, 11 tackles for loss and two pass breakups.