2013 Pro Bowl balloting closed at midnight Tuesday morning, so I decided to fill out my ballot before the deadline passed. Here’s are my selections for the NFC team.
Quarterbacks: Robert Griffin III (WAS), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Matt Ryan (ATL)
Rodgers hasn’t received the fanfare of Brady or Manning, but his season has been stellar all the same. Questions about Atlanta in the postseason aside, Ryan’s had another great regular season. Went with RGIII over Manning for the third spot.
Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch (SEA), Alfred Morris (WAS), Adrian Peterson (MIN)
The easiest position choices I had to make. One rookie running back was getting the final spot, so I went with Griffin’s right-hand man over “Muscle Hamster” from Tampa Bay (could’ve been the nickname).
Fullback: Jerome Felton (MIN)
Doesn’t get a ton of carries, but having the title of “lead blocker for 2012 Adrian Peterson” will get you places.
Wide Receivers: Vincent Jackson (TB), Calvin Johnson (DET), Brandon Marshall (CHI), Roddy White (ATL)
Johnson, Marshall, and Jackson were pretty quick. Chose Roddy White over Dez Bryant/Julio Jones (consistency), Steve Smith (touchdowns). He’s still one of the league’s most dependable.
Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez (ATL), Jason Witten (DAL)
Tony Gonzalez could go for another ten years with Matt Ryan under center (…OK, maybe three). Went with Witten over Jimmy Graham, despite Witten’s slow start.
Tackles: Anthony Davis (SF), Matt Kalil (MIN), Joe Staley (SF)
San Francisco deserves two tackles, don’t you think? Meanwhile, Matt Kalil follows Jake Long’s and Joe Thomas’s footsteps of rookie tackles making the Pro Bowl.
Guards: Alex Boone (SF), Mike Iupati (SF), Evan Mathis (PHI)
San Francisco deserves two guards, don’t you think? Feels strange giving someone from Philly’s makeshift offensive line a Pro Bowl nod, but Evan Mathis has played well this season.
Centers: Brian De La Puente (NO), John Sullivan (MIN)
San Francisco deserves…OK, I refrained from Jonathan Goodwin on as well, but he was certainly in the running. Minnesota’s line deserved a little more love, so I chose Sullivan . And to prevent the Niners sweep I went to New Orleans – meet Brian De La Puente.
Defensive Ends: Chris Clemons (SEA), Greg Hardy (CAR), Charles Johnson (CAR)
Call me a homer if you want, but check the numbers. Carolina’s duo amassed ten sacks a menagerie of defensive tackles. Chris Clemons and his 11.5 sacks stood out on a fantastic Seahawks defense.
Defensive Tackles: Henry Melton (CHI), Justin Smith (SF), Ndamakung Suh (DET)
Henry Melton and Justin Smith were obvious picks. I know that Suh gets a lot of flak (deserved or not), but he commands a lot of attention on the field as well.
Inside Linebackers: Navarro Bowman (SF), Daryl Washington (ARZ)
Thought about picking Bowman’s teammate, Patrick Willis. Or maybe Greenway? Kuechly? But Arizona’s defense needed more than one representative this season.
Outside Linebackers: Clay Matthews (GB), Aldon Smith (SF), DeMarcus Ware (DAL)
Hope you didn’t freak out – Aldon Smith was at outside linebacker on the ballot. Matthews has missed time, but put up great numbers when healthy. And DeMarcus Ware is still DeMarcus Ware.
Cornerbacks: Richard Sherman (SEA), Charles Tillman (CHI), Antoine Winfield (MIN)
Casey Hayward was getting the first click, but the likely Defensive Rookie of the Year was nowhere to be found on the ballot! So I chose Antoine Winfield to join Sherman and Tillman
Safeties: Kam Chancellor (SEA), Kerry Rhodes (ARI)
Former Hokie Kam Chancellor is the third choice for Seattle, while Kerry Rhodes had a great comeback season down in Arizona.
Kicker: Blair Walsh (MIN)
A choice made much easier once fellow rookie, Greg Zuerlein (a.k.a. “Legatron”) started missing.
Punter: Andy Lee (SF)
He’s still pretty good. How about a fourth Pro Bowl, Andy?
Kick Returner: Randall Cobb (GB)
Cobb is quickly becoming Green Bay’s Percy Harvin-like weapon. His season justifies a Pro Bowl selection.