The NFL Pro Bowl is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the best players at each position in professional football. While the Pro Bowl game itself has become a terrible viewing spectacle, the honor and prestige of being selected is still very much intact.
Being selected for the Pro Bowl is an interesting process because like many sporting All Star events, the selection process is tied into two things: fan votes and stats. Fans vote their favorite players in, and often popularity is due to breakout season numbers from certain players. However, there have long been constant producers big numbers who ultimately are snubbed by the fans (cough London Fletcher cough).
Now the Pro Bowl selection process does have three groups of voters (coaches, players, and fans), but any Redskins fan can tell you that the best and most productive do not always get selected. This piece is purely a fun and speculative article, looking at some of the best and most popular Redskins currently on the roster. I will be examining three players on offense and defense, and giving a percentage chance of that player reaching the Pro Bowl.
Why not start out with the most talked about man in Washington as the first offensive player?
Andy Dalton and Cam Newton made the Pro Bowl for their respective conferences last year as rookies, but not as initial selections. Both were added to their teams' rosters to replace an injured or Super Bowl player (players in the Super Bowl do not participate in the Pro Bowl). It is entirely possible for Griffin to be selected to the Pro Bowl, but it is going to take some luck.
Griffin has a good jump already with the enormous fanfare he generates, but unfortunately he plays in a quarterback-dominated conference. While the NFL as a whole has transformed into a passing league, the NFC has gathered a majority of the top passing quarterbacks. Seven out of the top ten overall quarterbacks came from the NFC and that is not including players like Michael Vick and Cam Newton, who both made the Pro Bowl.
With all that said, Griffin has a chance at making the Pro Bowl, but he will need to put up some impressive numbers, and have one of the elite NFC QBs unable to participate.
Alright, I'll admit the 70 percent may seem high, especially this early in the year, but I have a soft spot for Brian Orakpo. The man is an absolute beast and I believe he is poised for his biggest season yet.
Orakpo is no stranger to the Pro Bowl, having been invited twice (2009 and 2010). I believe the addition of Ryan Kerrigan and a healthy defensive line (Jarvis Jenkins is back!) will lead to a breakout season with Orakpo posting big sack totals.
The downside for Orakpo is that he plays in a conference with some of the best pass rushing outside linebackers in the NFL. Clay Matthews and DeMarcus Ware (who is almost a shoe in every year) will be taking away precious roster spots for Orakpo, but I still believe. I don't think it's out of the question to see Orakpo put up 12-15 sacks and bring home his third Pro Bowl invitation.
Fred Davis may have the most inside track towards a Pro Bowl invitation of anyone on the Redskins' offense. Davis was on his way to a Pro Bowl caliber season last year before sitting out the final four games due to suspension. This year Davis is playing under the one year, franchise tag contract with hopes of earning a long term deal.
With 59 catches and just under 800 yards, Fred Davis was looking a Pro Bowl tight end through twelve games last season. This year fans are expecting the same level of production, but with a full 16 games of statistics.
Davis will have to compete with the likes of Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finley to earn an invitation to the Pro Bowl. The question will be can Davis stay on the field for a full season, and will there be enough balls to go around.
Out of all the players on the Redskins final 53 man roster, London Fletcher is the most likely to earn a Pro Bowl invitation. Fletcher was the only Redskin to attend the Pro Bowl last season, and did so only as an alternate. This is not to say that Fletcher did not deserve to go, as any Redskins fan will tell you, Fletcher is the most overlooked player for the Pro Bowl year in, year out.
London Fletcher led the NFL in tackles last season, finishing with a commanding 166. Despite these fantastic numbers, Fletcher lost a starting opportunity to perennial pro bowlers Patrick Willis and Brian Urlacher.
London Fletcher is unquestionable leader of the Redskins defense and the most consistent producer in recent memory. Heading into his fifteenth NFL season, Fletcher is expected to rack up tackles like he always has. With a little bit of luck, the league and its fans will hopefully finally give this man the respect and attention he has already earned.
Pierre Garcon is the projected number one receiver heading into training camp for the Washington Redskins, and expectations are high. Garcon be among the many targets Robert Griffin III will choose from as the Redskins offense looks to become more explosive.
Pierre Garcon had a career season last year, catch 70 passes for nearly 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns. This was done, mind you, while catching passes from Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter on a horrendous Colts team. With a strong armed quarterback under center, Garcon may put up some staggering numbers early and be a surprise candidate for the Pro Bowl.
The odds are certainly against Garcon, as he will be competing with receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Jennings. At the same time it is not out of the realm of possibility that we could see Garcon become the first Redskins receiver to head to the Pro Bowl in some time.
DeAngelo Hall is a three-time Pro Bowler and knows what it takes to earn that title. Hall's last Pro Bowl season came back in 2010 after registering 65 tackles, 6 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. With the secondary being one of Washington's thinnest areas, Hall will need to step up in 2012 if he is to earn his fourth invitation.
The NFC pro bowl cornerback is a constantly revolving door with new players emerging and falling each year. With players like Darrelle Revis and Champ Bailey holding down the AFC cornerback slots, Hall has a ripe opportunity to be selected.
At the cornerback position, a Pro Bowl selection comes down mostly to interception totals. Typically covering a team's number one receiver, Hall will get plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent and prove he is one of the all-star corners in the NFC.