The players listed on this slide have each been named to at least three Pro Bowl rosters and are the most likely to be selected again in 2012.
Patrick Willis, ILB
Willis has accumulated more individual awards in his first five years for the Red and Gold than any Niner we've ever seen.
No. 52 is a five-time Pro Bowler with four First-Team All Pro (2007, 2009-11) and one Second-Team All-Pro selection (2008) to his credit. He's also a three-time NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year and a two-time Dick Butkus award winner.
Willis is arguably the best linebacker, inside or outside, in the NFL. Only a severe injury (knock on wood) is going to prevent the 27-year-old from relinquishing his reign on the Pro Bowl and All-Pro squads.
Pro Bowl Selection: 100%
First-Team All Pro: 90%
Justin Smith, DE
Coming off the best season of his career, it's hard to see No. 94's relentless motor start sputtering now.
Smith was so effective in 2011, he earned First-Team All Pro honors at defensive end and Second-Team All-Pro honors at defensive tackle.
Perhaps no man is hungrier for Super Bowl glory, but it's a safe bet to assume Justin will rack up a personal accolade or two in his quest for a February trip to New Orleans.
While a fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance seems all but guaranteed, it's going to take a couple of clutch, game-changing efforts similar to 2011 for Smith to earn First-Team All-Pro honors for a second consecutive season.
Smith's energizer bunny-like efforts don't show up on the stat sheet, but the Associated Press and NFL fans in general now understand that perhaps no one player is more valuable to his defense than this tireless worker is to his 49ers' D.
Pro Bowl Selection: 95%
First-Team All Pro: 70%
David Akers, K
The 16-year vet has a whopping six Pro Bowl selections to his credit, and a matching six All-Pro selections as well. Akers joins Willis as the only two 49ers to have been named to both Pro Bowl and First-Team All Pro honors in each of the last three seasons.
No one expects Akers to repeat his magical season of 2011 (his first in San Francisco) in which he booted an NFL-record 44 field goals on (also NFL record) 52 attempts, including nine successful three-pointers that traveled 50 yards or more.
But that's okay; we're hoping a more well-rounded offense will take some of the pressure off the kicker's shoulders.
Not to say that he can't handle the extra weight.
Pro Bowl Selection: 85%
First-Team All Pro: 75%
Andy Lee, P
The other half of the NFL's top kicker/punter combo, Lee has exactly half the awards (three-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection) as Akers. And at 29 years old, the former sixth-round pick of the Niners in 2004 is eight years younger.
Lee also set the record for net punting in 2011 with a net average of 44 yards per punt.
If the trend continues, the 2011 PFW (Pro Football Weekly) Golden Toe award winner will miss out on the Pro Bowl party this coming season, and the All Pro honors, too.
Lee's three Pro Bowl and All Pro selections came in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Can the NFC's (and arguably the NFL's) best punter buck the every-other-year trend and receive repeat honors for the first time in his career?
Another trend—a decreasing amount of punts in each of the last three seasons—serves as a more accurate red flag regarding Lee's chances in 2012.
In 2009, Lee booted the pigskin an NFL-leading 99 times. In 2010, that number declined to 91, ranking the 49ers fifth in total punts. And for all the talk of San Francisco's third-down woes, Lee punted just 78 times in 2011, just the fifteenth-highest total in the league.
Despite an elite defense, Harbaugh will likely use the added offensive weapons and become more aggressive on third downs, keeping his All Pro punter on the sidelines and Lee's postseason accolades in serious jeopardy.
However, that's something the 49er franchise and its faithful can certainly live with.
Pro Bowl Selection: 65%
First-Team All Pro: 65%
Frank Gore, RB
After gaining 1,211 rushing yards and finding paydirt eight times in 2011, Gore was elected to the third Pro Bowl of his seven-year career.
Some say, especially with explosive rookie RB LaMichael James on board and second-year back Kendall Hunter looking to improve upon a promising year, that No. 21's tank is about to run dry.
Are Trent Baalke and Co. preparing for life after Gore, or simply trying to lighten the heavy load in order to allow him to stay healthy and continue to thrive in the NFL?
Gore has shown us this offseason that he has no intentions of slowing down at a time when his team's Super Bowl chances are picking up steam at a rapid pace, and my money is that only health issues will deter the 49ers' all-time leading rusher from reaching the Pro Bowl once again.
The All-Pro selection—especially First-Team—is a different story. Gore was named a Second-Team All-Pro in 2006 after gaining 1,695 yards, but that's the extent of his awards from the Associated Press.
The AFC offers a slew of talented backs, including Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster and Ray Rice, who will make it tough for Gore to be named to his first ever First-Team All-Pro roster.
Pro Bowl Selection: 70%
First-Team All Pro: 25%