Bleacher Report's Consensus AFC, NFC Pro Bowl Rosters

Ian Kenyon@IanKenyonNFLFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2012

Bleacher Report's Consensus AFC, NFC Pro Bowl Rosters

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    The NFL season has 14 weeks in the books with only three remaining. Each year, NFL fans across the country fill out their ballots for the annual Pro Bowl. 

    With the NFL officially scheduled to announce the Pro Bowl rosters within the next couple of weeks, it is a perfect time for Bleacher Report to announce its consensus Pro Bowl rosters.

    The voting was done by Bleacher Report’s group of lead writers, lead bloggers and featured columnists.

    Lead writers and bloggers were allowed to fill out a ballot which consisted of votes for each position, and featured columnists collectively voted on a separate ballot for their input.

    Our Bleacher Report Panel of Experts for this vote (each received one ballot):

    Michael Schottey: NFL National Lead Writer (@Schottey)

    Aaron Nagler: NFL Lead Writer (@Aaron_Nagler)

    Ty Schalter: NFL National Lead Writer (@tyschalter)

    Dan Levy: National Lead Writer (@danlevythinks)

    Erik FrenzAFC East Divisional Lead Writer (@ErikFrenz)

    Andrea HangstAFC North Divisional Lead Writer (@FBALL_Andrea)

    Chris Hansen: AFC West Divisional Lead Writer (@ChrisHansenNFL)

    Nate DunlevyAFC South Divisional Lead Writer (@NateDunlevy)

    Brad GagnonNFC East Divisional Lead Writer (@Brad_Gagnon)

    Andrew GardaNFC North Divisional Lead Writer (@Andrew_Garda)

    Tyson Langland: NFC West Divisional Lead Writer (@TysonNFL)

    Knox Bardeen: NFC South Divisional Lead Writer (@KnoxBardeen)

    Bleacher Report NFL Featured Columnists

    The results are listed by the percentage of ballots on which the player appeared. For example, with 13 panelists, Peyton Manning received 13 votes, therefore he received votes on 100 percent of the ballots.

AFC Quarterbacks

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    AFC Quarterbacks

    Co-Starter: Peyton Manning (100%)

    Co-Starter: Tom Brady (100%)

    QB 3: Andrew Luck (46.1%)

    Just as they will battle over the NFL MVP award, stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will have to battle for the starting gig in the Pro Bowl. Both players received a vote on 100 percent of the ballots. 

    Peyton Manning is having arguably the greatest season of his career, which is incredible given that he didn't even play in 2011 due to a neck injury. He has the Denver Broncos in first place, and entering Week 15, the team has has reeled off eight consecutive wins.

    Not to be lost in Manning's greatness is Tom Brady, whose 2012 numbers are almost identical to Manning's. Brady has made a late-season charge for the MVP award, throwing for 19 touchdowns and one interception over the course of the Patriots' current seven-game winning streak.

    Hailed as "the future Peyton Manning," Andrew Luck came into his rookie year with sky-high expectations, and he has lived up to every single one of them. While his interception numbers leave much to be desired (18 in 13 games), no rookie has ever been asked to do more with less. He currently ranks ninth in the NFL in Total QBR and looks like he'll be a perennial visitor to Hawaii.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Matt Schaub (30.7%)

    Ben Roethlisberger (15.4%)

NFC Quarterbacks

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    NFC Quarterbacks

    Starter: Aaron Rodgers (100%)

    QB 2: Matt Ryan (66.7%)

    QB 3: Robert Griffin III (66.7%)

    No surprise here as defending NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers comes away as the starter, receiving votes on 100 percent of the ballots. His numbers aren't in the same realm as his 2011 season, but nobody should have expected such greatness after what was arguably the greatest season by a quarterback in NFL history. Despite the dip in numbers, he's still the class of the NFC at the quarterback position.

    Matt Ryan has always been on the cusp of the elite class of quarterbacks, and this year he's taken that next step. He previously made the Pro Bowl in 2010, but his 2012 campaign is much more impressive. He's third in the NFL in passing yardage and is leading the 11-2 Atlanta Falcons, who look like they may be on their way to getting home-field advantage in the NFC.

    Robert Griffin III has been a revelation since being drafted by the Washington Redskins with the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft. His combination of speed, arm strength, accuracy and pocket poise is unlike anything the NFL has ever seen. Don't be surprised if he makes trips to Hawaii annually. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Drew Brees (25%)

    Eli Manning (25%)

    Russell Wilson (16.7%)

AFC Running Backs

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    AFC Running Backs

    Co-Starter: Arian Foster (69.2%)

    Co-Starter: Ray Rice (69.2%)

    RB 3: C.J. Spiller (46.1%)

    Houston Texans star Arian Foster and Baltimore Ravens stud Ray Rice share the spotlight as co-starters in the Pro Bowl. Foster has done significantly more damage on the ground, compiling 150 more rushing yards and five more rushing touchdowns than Rice.

    However, it's Rice's versatility that earns him the spot as a co-starter. Rice has nearly 250 more yards receiving than Foster and 18 more receptions.

    This year would mark C.J. Spiller's first trip to the Pro Bowl. With a league-leading 6.6 yards per carry from the running back position, Spiller's value comes from his explosiveness and big-play ability. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Jamaal Charles (38.5%)

    Stevan Ridley (30.1%)

    Reggie Bush (15.4%)

NFC Running Backs

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    NFC Running Backs

    Co-Starter: Adrian Peterson (75%)

    Co-Starter: Marshawn Lynch (75%)

    RB 3: Doug Martin (41.7%)

    Adrian Peterson earns the starting gig alongside Marshawn Lynch. Peterson is in the middle of a trek for 2,000 rushing yards, on pace for one of the greatest seasons by a running back in NFL history. Meanwhile, Lynch has been a workhorse himself, carrying the ball 261 times (fourth in the NFL) for 1,266 yards and nine touchdowns. 

    Doug Martin is on his way to one of the greatest rookie seasons ever by a running back. With 1,612 yards from scrimmage already and 11 touchdowns, he's certainly deserving of this honor.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Alfred Morris (33.3%)

    Frank Gore (16.7%)

AFC Fullback

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    AFC Fullback

    Starter: Vonta Leach (53.8%)

    Vonta Leach has earned his reputation over the years as being the bulldozer blocker that has paved the way for both Arian Foster and Ray Rice. Considering those two share the honor as co-starter at running back, there's no better player to slide into the starting fullback slot in the AFC.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Marcel Reece (30.7%)

NFC Fullback

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    NFC Fullback

    Starter: Bruce Miller (33.3%)

    Miller makes his first Pro Bowl appearance in only his second year in the NFL. The converted linebacker from Central Florida has relished his role as a blocker for the San Francisco 49ers and paved the way for Frank Gore all season.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Jerome Felton (25%)

    John Kuhn (16.7%)

AFC Wide Receivers

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    AFC Wide Receivers

    WR 1: Demaryius Thomas (92.3%)

    WR 2: Reggie Wayne (92.3%)

    WR 3: A.J. Green (84.6%)

    WR 4: Andre Johnson (69.2%)

    What a grouping of wide receivers for the AFC. Budding stars A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas join older veterans Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne to make a formidable group in Hawaii.

    Thomas had a breakout campaign in 2011, but it was the addition of Peyton Manning that truly allowed him to flourish. As soon as Manning and Thomas got on the same page, there has been no stopping them. 

    Green made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, but he's followed that up with an even bigger season in 2012, and this may be the tip of the iceberg. His combination of size, route running and leaping ability put him in elite category at his position. Even further, he has a young quarterback in Andy Dalton who tries to get him the ball at every opportunity.

    Wayne has been one of the NFL's most steady receivers of the 2000s. Unfortunately, he was cursed with having Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky throw him the ball in 2011, leaving him off the Pro Bowl roster in 2011 after making it five consecutive years prior. After the Colts added Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft, Wayne got back on track and is having one of the best years of his career.

    Johnson has always been one of the NFL's best receivers. He's huge, strong and blazing fast. After an injury-plagued 2011 campaign, Johnson has rebounded, and his Pro Bowl selection is well deserved. He's currently fourth in the NFL in receiving yards and seventh in receptions.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Wes Welker (23%)

    Cecil Shorts (7.7%)

    Antonio Brown (7.7%)

    Eric Decker (7.7%)

NFC Wide Receivers

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    NFC Wide Receivers

    WR 1: Brandon Marshall (91.7%)

    WR 2: Calvin Johnson (83.3%)

    WR 3: Vincent Jackson (83.3%)

    WR 4: Victor Cruz (41.7%)

    Surprisingly, Brandon Marshall received more votes than his NFC North counterpart, Calvin Johnson. Johnson is on his way to one of the most prolific seasons by a wide receiver in recent history, perhaps challenging Jerry Rice's single-season yardage record.

    But that's not to take away from Marshall, who has had a resurgence himself since joining the Chicago Bears. His 101 receptions lead the NFL heading into week 15. 

    Vincent Jackson quickly became Josh Freeman's favorite target in his first season with the Buccaneers. His consistent play earns him his second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl and his third in the past four seasons.

    Folks in Hawaii will have to learn to salsa dance, as Victor Cruz is voted to his first Pro Bowl. He served as an alternate for the 2011 Pro Bowl. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Dez Bryant (33.3%)

    Julio Jones (16.7%)

    Roddy White (16.7%)

AFC Tight Ends

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    AFC Tight End

    Starter: Rob Gronkowski (92.3%)

    Backup: Heath Miller (46.1%)

    Gronkowski has spent recent weeks recovering from injury, but that still didn't stop voters from picking him as the AFC's top tight end. With 748 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, he's the NFL's most dangerous weapon at the tight end position.

    Heath Miller has been as steady as they come, with 500 or more receiving yards in each of the past six seasons. He's rewarded this year with a spot as the AFC's backup tight end in the Pro Bowl. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Owen Daniels (23%)

    Brandon Myers (23%)

NFC Tight Ends

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    NFC Tight End

    Starter: Tony Gonzalez (83.3%)

    Backup: Jason Witten (41.7%)

    Tony Gonzalez may be getting old, but he sure is reliable. The 36-year-old tight end led the NFC in Pro Bowl votes and is currently on pace for 100 receptions for the second time in his career (2004). 

    Backup tight end Jason Witten actually has more receptions (92 to Gonzalez's 81), but Witten has somehow turned those 92 receptions into only one touchdown. One has to wonder how this voting would have turned out had more of Witten's catches been for six points.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Vernon Davis (16.7%)

    Martellus Bennett (16.7%)

AFC Offensive Tackles

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    AFC Offensive Tackles

    OT 1: Duane Brown (76.9%)

    OT 2: Ryan Clady (61.5%)

    OT 3: Joe Thomas (53.8%)

    Duane Brown makes his first Pro Bowl appearance after being named a second-team All-Pro following the 2011 season. He's long been one of the most underrated tackles in the game, as he's done a fantastic job of protecting quarterback Matt Schaub.

    Ryan Clady makes his third Pro Bowl appearance. He's one of the league's best pass-protectors as he uses his quick feet and strong base to halt opposing pass-rushers. Star quarterback Peyton Manning has only been sacked 19 times this season, one of the lowest rates in the league.

    Joe Thomas makes his sixth consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl after being selected with the third overall pick in 2007. He's arguably been the NFL's most consistent left tackle since entering the league. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Andre Smith (30.7%)

    Sebastian Vollmer (15.4%)

    Andrew Whitworth (15.4%)

NFC Offensive Tackles

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    NFC Offensive Tackles

    OT 1: Joe Staley (75%)

    OT 2: Trent Williams (50%)

    OT 3: Matt Kalil (41.7%)

    The group of tackles in place for the NFC boasts a ton of youthful talent. All three have been drafted within the past five years. 

    The most intriguing of the bunch is rookie left tackle Matt Kalil. The fourth pick in the 2012 NFL draft has been a major factor in Adrian Peterson's breakout year, as the Vikings often run Peterson to the left side behind Kalil. Expect him to make this trip to Hawaii an annual occasion. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Russell Okung (33.3%)

    Gosder Cherilus (16.7%)

    Tyson Clabo (16.7%)

    Will Beatty (16.7%)

AFC Offensive Guards

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    AFC Offensive Guards

    OG 1: Marshal Yanda (84.6%)

    OG 2: Kevin Zeitler (46.1%)

    OG 3: Logan Mankins (30.7%)

    The big guys up front may not get a lot of love in the box score, but they are the ones who open up the running lanes and protect the quarterback.

    No interior lineman has done that better in recent years than Baltimore's Marshal Yanda. He followed up his 2011 All-Pro selection with a year that may have been even better in 2012. He's rewarded here with his second trip to the Pro Bowl.

    Rookie guard Kevin Zeitler has turned out to be one of the biggest steals of the 2012 draft. He may not get the publicity of skill-position players, but Zeitler has the makings of a perennial Pro Bowler already after being selected at the tail end of the first round.

    Patriots guard Logan Mankins is no stranger to the Pro Bowl. After being selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft, he's been selected to the Pro Bowl four times, including four of the past five years. His consistent play has kept Tom Brady upright, and he's one of the veteran leaders of a strong New England Patriots offense. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Andy Levitre (23%)

    Clint Boling (23%)

    Richie Incognito (15.4%)

    Chris Kuper (15.4%)

NFC Offensive Guards

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    NFC Offensive Guards

    OG 1: Evan Mathis (66.7%)

    OG 2: Josh Sitton (58.3%)

    OG 3: Jahri Evans (50%)

    The NFC guards are led off by Philadelphia Eagles guard Evan Mathis. The Eagles offensive line has been torn apart by the media throughout most of the year, but Mathis has always been the caveat. A strong run-blocker and pass-protector, he's one of the NFL's elite linemen.

    Likewise, Josh Sitton plays on one of the NFL's worst offensive lines, but his consistent play is perhaps the silver lining to the Packers' line play. 

    Jahri Evans sure has lived up to his massive contract that he signed in May 2010. After earning the largest paycheck a guard has received in NFL history, he made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and follows that up with another appearance here in 2012. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Mike Iupati (33.3%)

    Chris Snee (25%)

    Alex Boone (25%)

    Kory Lichtensteiger (16.7%)

    Ben Grubbs (16.7%)

AFC Centers

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    AFC Centers

    Starter: Mike Pouncey (76.9%)

    Backup: Chris Myers (46.1%)

    For the third year in a row, the AFC is represented at center by a player with the last name Pouncey. But this time, it's not Maurkice, it's his identical twin brother.

    Mike, the 2011 first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins, has become the NFL's premier center. Perhaps someday in the future we'll see both Pounceys represented on the Pro Bowl squad.

    Backup Chris Myers makes his second consecutive appearance after his breakthrough 2011 campaign. He's a perfect fit in coach Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme and has become one of the NFL's best centers.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Nick Mangold (23%)

    Alex Mack (15.4%)

NFC Centers

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    NFC Centers

    Starter: John Sullivan (63.6%)

    Backup: Jeff Saturday (27.3%)

    The Minnesota Vikings have two representatives from their offensive line in the Pro Bowl, with Matt Kalil at left tackle and now John Sullivan as the starting center. This is Sullivan's first appearance, and perhaps he owes some of this recognition to Adrian Peterson, who has been running like a mad man coming off ACL surgery.

    Backup center Jeff Saturday is no stranger to Hawaii. After making five consecutive appearances in the Pro Bowl from 2005 to 2010, Saturday was left off of last year's team, perhaps largely because of Peyton Manning's injury. Nonetheless, the 37-year-old center proved himself again in 2012 after joining the Green Bay Packers in the offseason.

    An interesting anecdote here is that the Packers have two Pro Bowl players on their offensive line, tied with the Vikings and Texans for most in the league. This is despite the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked a league-high 42 times. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Max Unger (18.2%)

    Brian de la Puente (18.2%)

    David Baas (18.2%)

AFC Defensive Ends

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    AFC Defensive Ends

    DE 1: J.J. Watt (100%)

    DE 2: Cameron Wake (69.2%)

    DE 3: Elvis Dumervil (30.7%)

    J.J. Watt is enjoying one of the most unique seasons in NFL history. His ability to swat passes down at the line of scrimmage while also rushing the passer has made him a revolution of sorts. He currently has 16.5 sacks and 15 passes batted down.

    Cameron Wake has been one of the NFL's most consistent pass-rushers in recent years, compiling 36.5 sacks over the past three years. He earns his second Pro Bowl selection here while enjoying the best season of his career.

    Who said short guys can't play defensive end? The 5'11" Dumervil has been one of the NFL's best edge-rushers since joining the league in 2006, compiling 60.5 sacks over the past six seasons. His newest acquired skill has been forcing fumbles, as he forced a career-high six in only 13 games this year. 


    AFC Best of the Rest 

    Mario Williams (23%)

    Michael Johnson (15.4%)

    Chandler Jones (15.4%)

    Corey Liuget (15.4%)

NFC Defensive Ends

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    NFC Defensive Ends

    DE 1: Jason Pierre-Paul (75%)

    DE 2: John Abraham (58.3%)

    DE 3: Calais Campbell (33.3%)

    Jason Pierre-Paul may have earned his spot as the NFC's top defensive end more on reputation rather than his actual play in 2012. While it's true that he is perhaps the NFL's best athlete at the position and he does create havoc in the backfield, his 6.5 sacks rank him in a tie for 31st in the NFL. 

    John Abraham, on the other hand, has long been one of the most underappreciated players in the NFL. With 122 sacks, Abraham is the NFL's active sack leader. With another 10 under his belt in 2012, his selection here is well deserved.

    Campbell isn't a guy who is going to rack up the sacks. At 6'8", 300 pounds while playing as a 5-technique defensive end in Arizona, he's asked to play more gap control, and he does it as well as anyone. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Chris Clemons (25%)

    Charles Johnson (25%)

    Jared Allen (16.7%)

AFC Defensive Tackles

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    AFC Defensive Tackles

    DT 1: Geno Atkins (92.3%)

    DT 2: Vince Wilfork (53.8%)

    DT 3: Kyle Williams (46.1%)

    Geno Atkins has been one of the NFL's best players, regardless of position in 2012. His ability to rush the passer as an interior defensive lineman makes him a truly special player. Defensive tackles are not supposed to be able to get 10 or more sacks per season, but that's exactly what Geno Atkins has done this year (10.5 through 14 games).

    Vince Wilfork makes his fifth trip to Hawaii, his fourth in a row. The 325-pound nose tackle is the anchor of the New England Patriots defense. He may not get sacks, but his ability to occupy blockers and force double-teams opens up the field for everyone else on the Patriots defense.

    Kyle Williams isn't a name fans always think of when you say "perennial Pro Bowler," but perhaps he should be. The 29-year-old defensive tackle makes his third Pro Bowl in four years here. He's an absolute animal in the middle for the Buffalo Bills.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Haloti Ngata (38.5%)

    Muhammad Wilkerson (38.5%)

    Randy Starks (15.4%)

NFC Defensive Tackles

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    NFC Defensive Tackles

    DT 1: Gerald McCoy (75%)

    DT 2: Ndamukong Suh (58.3%)

    DT 3: Justin Smith (58.3%)

    For a little while, it seemed as though Gerald McCoy may go down as one of the bigger draft busts in recent years. But his 2012 play has erased all doubt. He's constantly drawing double-teams and getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

    Ndamukong Suh has been one of the NFL's most controversial players since joining the league as the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft; however, there's no denying his supreme talent. The 25-year-old defensive tackle doesn't have gaudy stats (5.5 sacks this year), but he's an absolute force in the middle of the Detroit Lions defensive line.

    Justin Smith gets the nod here at defensive tackle over Nick Fairley, just barely. Smith has been utterly dominant for the 49ers over the past four seasons; this would mark his fourth consecutive trip to Hawaii. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Nick Fairley (50%)

    Henry Melton (25%)

    Chris Canty (16.7%)

AFC Outside Linebackers

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    AFC Outside Linebackers

    OLB 1: Von Miller (76.9%)

    OLB 2: Justin Houston (69.2%)

    OLB 3: LaMarr Woodley (30.7%)

    Since entering the league as the second overall pick in 2011, Von Miller has lit the NFL on fire, recording 27.5 sacks in his first 28 games. With 16 sacks through 13 games in 2012, he's a candidate to win Defensive Player of the Year.

    Second-year Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston has been dominant in 2012, recording 10 sacks and constantly getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He's an explosive athlete and looks like someone who may make multiple trips to the Pro Bowl. 

    LaMarr Woodley has been one of the NFL's best linebackers over the past five years, but this would surprisingly only be his second Pro Bowl appearance (first since 2009). His stats may not overwhelm fans (four sacks this year), but make no mistake—he is one of the NFL's best linebackers. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Robert Mathis (23%)

    Tamba Hali (15.4%)

    Paul Kruger (15.4%)

NFC Outside Linebackers

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    NFC Outside Linebackers

    OLB 1: Aldon Smith (100%)

    OLB 2: DeMarcus Ware (58.3%)

    OLB 3: Anthony Spencer (41.7%)

    Aldon Smith earned votes on every ballot, which should not be a surprise given his breakout 2012 campaign. With 19.5 sacks through 13 games, Smith has a legitimate shot at breaking Michael Strahan's single-season sack record (22.5), and he has to be the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year at this point.

    DeMarcus Ware makes his seventh consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 11 sacks and forcing four fumbles in the Cowboys' first 13 games. Ware continues to amaze with his ability to rush the passer, recording double-digit sacks in seven straight seasons.

    Anthony Spencer makes his Pro Bowl debut in his sixth season, and perhaps he should thank DeMarcus Ware for it. Ware draws the double-teams from which Spencer benefits. Spence still has to make the plays, though, and he has, recording 8.5 sacks through 13 games.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Clay Matthews (33.3%)

    Lavonte David (33.3%)

AFC Inside Linebackers

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    AFC Inside Linebackers

    ILB 1: Derrick Johnson (69.2%)

    ILB 2: Brandon Spikes (46.1%)

    Already over the 100-tackle plateau for the third year in a row, Derrick Johnson has become one of the NFL's premier inside linebackers. His combination of sideline-to-sideline speed and instincts make him one of the NFL's most unique linebackers.

    Brandon Spikes has been the epitome of a steal for the Patriots after they grabbed him late in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. With 85 tackles and four forced fumbles already this year, he's blossomed into one of the leaders of the Patriots defense. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Lawrence Timmons (30.7%)

    Jerod Mayo (15.4%)

    D'Qwell Jackson (15.4%)

NFC Inside Linebackers

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    NFC Inside Linebackers

    ILB 1: Patrick Willis (83.3%)

    ILB 2: NaVorro Bowman (50%)

    The 49ers are fortunate enough to own both of the NFC's inside linebackers and three of the four starters (add Aldon Smith), creating perhaps the greatest linebacking corps we've seen in recent history.

    Patrick Willis may as well buy real estate in Hawaii. This would be his sixth consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl, and he's still only 27 years old. With 99 tackles through 13 games, he's certain to top the 100-tackle plateau once again.

    NaVorro Bowman earns his first trip to the Pro Bowl after being named a first-team All-Pro in 2011. His 116 tackles rank sixth in the NFL despite having to compete for those tackles with the man mentioned above (Willis). 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Bobby Wagner (25%)

    Daryl Washington (16.7%)

AFC Cornerbacks

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    AFC Cornerbacks

    CB 1: Antonio Cromartie (53.8%)

    CB 2: Devin McCourty (38.5%)

    CB 3: Johnathan Joseph (30.7%)

    It has been a long year for the Jets, but one silver lining has been the play of cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie has stepped up his play after taking over at the No. 1 cornerback spot for the injured Darrelle Revis. His interception numbers are down (only three in 2012), but he's done a great job of blanketing opposing receivers. This would be his second career Pro Bowl selection, his first since 2007.

    Devin McCourty has been a turnover machine for the Patriots, intercepting four passes and forcing two fumbles through 13 games. The former first-round pick joins Vince Wilfork and Brandon Spikes as the third Patriot defender to make the Pro Bowl.

    Johnathan Joseph may not rack up interceptions, but don't mistake that for poor play. He's been a consistent performer throughout his career, and the 28-year-old corner earns his second trip to the Pro Bowl in as many years with the Houston Texans. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Champ Bailey (23.1%)

    Chris Harris (23.1%)

    Stephon Gilmore (23.1%)

    Sheldon Brown (23.1%)

    Alterraun Verner (15.4%)

NFC Cornerbacks

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    NFC Cornerbacks

    CB 1: Charles Tillman (66.7%)

    CB 2: Richard Sherman (66.7%)

    CB 3: Casey Hayward (58.3%)

    For a while, it appeared as though Charles Tillman would compete with J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith for Defensive Player of the Year. With two interceptions and nine forced fumbles, Tillman has one of the most unique stat lines of any cornerback in the NFL. 

    Richard Sherman (aka "Optimus Prime") has become one of the NFL's elite corners in only his second year after being selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft. At 6'3", he's able to match up with even the tallest NFL receivers, and his fluid hips allow him to stick with quicker players over the middle. He likely would have been the top choice in the NFC had it not been for a pending PED charge that he's currently appealing.

    Rookie cornerback Casey Hayward has been a fantastic find for the Green Bay Packers. His playmaking ability and instincts fit perfectly in defensive coordinator Dom Capers' zone-blitz scheme. He's been opportunistic, recording five interceptions despite not taking over a starting job until the middle of the season.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Antoine Winfield (41.7%)

    Tim Jennings (33.3%)

    Patrick Peterson (25%)

AFC Strong Safety

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    AFC Strong Safety

    T.J. Ward (30.7%)

    Known as one of the best tackling safeties in the league, Ward is having another tremendous season with 63 tackles through 13 games. He hasn't recorded an interception yet, but he has forced three fumbles and intimidates opponents going over the middle of the field. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Bernard Pollard (23.1%)

    Glover Quin (15.4%)

    George Wilson (15.4%)

NFC Strong Safety

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    NFC Strong Safety

    Kam Chancellor (33.3%)

    Perhaps the largest safety in the league. Chancellor (6'3", 232 pounds) brings the hammer to opponents with bone-crushing hits. Through 13 games, he already has 78 tackles and is on pace to reach triple digits. The third-year pro has really come into his own the past two years after earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2011. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Donte Whitner (25%)

    William Moore (25%)

AFC Free Safety

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    AFC Free Safety

    Eric Weddle (38.5%)

    Weddle makes his second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl here after posting an impressive stat line of 72 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles through 13 games. His consistent play has been a bright spot in an otherwise inconsistent season for the San Diego Chargers. 


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Ed Reed (30.7%)

    Jairus Byrd (15.4%)

NFC Free Safety

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    NFC Free Safety

    Dashon Goldson (25%)

    The race for the NFC free safety spot was incredibly close, with nobody receiving more than a quarter of the votes. But ultimately Goldson received the nod. He's a powerful hitter and has racked up 58 tackles so far this year while playing on perhaps the NFL's best defense. 


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Ronde Barber (16.7%)

    Earl Thomas (16.7%)

    Kerry Rhodes (16.7%)

AFC Kicker

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    AFC Kicker

    Justin Tucker (46.1%)

    It's funny, in most cases you'd expect the voters to simply look at kicking stats and pick the guy with the highest field-goal percentage or most kicks made—but not this year.

    No, this year Justin Tucker, a rookie from Texas now booting balls between the uprights for the Baltimore Ravens, takes the overwhelming majority of the vote despite ranking tied for fourth in both field-goal percentage and field goals made. 

    The youngster has the longest field goal (56 yards) on the season of any AFC kicker and is 4-of-4 beyond the 50-yard mark.


    AFC Runner-Up

    Phil Dawson (23%)

NFC Kicker

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    NFC Kicker

    Greg Zuerlein (41.7%)

    And wouldn't you know it, another rookie lines up for the NFC with the overwhelming majority of the vote as well.

    Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein actually ranks near the bottom of the conference (13th overall) in field-goal percentage at 77.8 percent. However, he has a long field goal of 60 yards this season and has nailed seven of a league-leading 11 field-goal attempts from beyond 50 yards.

    Only two other kickers in the entire league have attempted more than six from beyond that distance.


    NFC Runner-Up

    Alex Henery (16.7%)

AFC Punter

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    AFC Punter

    Brandon Fields (30.1%)

    In a very close vote at a position that doesn't always get the credit it deserves, Dolphins punter Brandon Fields earns the AFC honors. While there are a number of good choices in the AFC, Fields averages an AFC-best 50.4 yards per punt with a net average of 41.2 yards. He's landed 23 of his 63 punts inside the 20-yard line on the year.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Donnie Jones (23%)

    Mike Scifres (15.4%)

NFC Punter

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    NFC Punter

    Thomas Morstead (30.1%)

    Like Fields, Saints punter Thomas Morstead also leads his conference in yards-per-punt average (50), and his net average of 44.9 yards is an NFC best, too. Out of his 58 punts this season, 16 have landed inside the 20-yard line, and he's only put three punts into the end zone for touchback. 

    San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee was a terribly close runner-up.


    NFC Runner-Up

    Andy Lee (25%)

AFC Kick Returner

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    AFC Kick Returner

    Jacoby Jones (38.5%)

    The Houston Texans always knew Jacoby Jones had electric speed, but when they let him walk to the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, they didn't expect him to see him lead the league in kickoff return average (33.2 yards) or kickoff return touchdowns (two).

    Oh yeah, and he's taken a punt to the house this year, too. As a complete return man (both kick and punt returns), Jones has over 1,000 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.


    AFC Best of the Rest

    Leodis McKelvin (23%)

    Trindon Holliday (15.4%)

    Marcus Thigpen (15.4%)

NFC Kick Returner

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    NFC Kick Returner

    David Wilson (33.3%)

    Giants rookie David Wilson may have benefited from a recent dominant showing, but there is no denying his league-leading 1,321 kick return yards this season. Wilson averages a healthy 27.5 yards per punt return (good enough for ninth in the league) and is always a threat to pop a long return.

    Packers rising star Randall Cobb is the only other returner in the NFC who has made anything close to that type of impression.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Leon Washington (25%)

    Randall Cobb (25%)

AFC Special Teamer

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    AFC Special Teamer

    Corey Graham (30.7%)

    Ravens cornerback Corey Graham easily takes AFC honors over Cleveland Browns specialist Josh Cribbs. Graham has seen more defensive snaps of late due to a rash of injuries in the Baltimore secondary, but he was making a strong impression on special teams before getting his real chance to shine. He has 43 total tackles on the season, along with one forced fumble and two interceptions.


    AFC Runner-Up

    Josh Cribbs (15.4%)

NFC Special Teamer

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    NFC Special Teamer

    Heath Farwell (25%)

    Seahawks linebacker Heath Farwell doesn't have Graham's stat line, but he makes his presence felt week in and week out in Seattle. The 30-year-old linebacker epitomizes the phrase "special teams ace" and is more deserving of the NFC honor than any other player.


    NFC Best of the Rest

    Courtney Roby (16.7%)

    Lorenzo Alexander (16.7%)