2013 Pro Bowl: 9 Reasons Why the 49ers Got the Most Selections
Dashon Goldson, Mike Iupati, the Smith Brothers, Joe Staley, Donte Whitner and Patrick Willis all named starters, the 49ers will be well represented during the first quarter in Maui.
Add Frank Gore and Navarro Bowman to the list as reserves, giving the team a grand total of nine players representing the team in Maui.
Here are the biggest reasons that each 49ers earned their spot in the 2013 Pro Bowl.
As one of the most athletic offensive tackles in the NFL, being awarded the No. 67 ranked player in the league, will be representing the NFC as the starting left tackle.
At 6'5" 315 pounds, Staley can definitely keep up with the speed pass rushers in the league. Not only can Staley pass protect but he can also blow away defenders with his strength.
What is most impressive about Staley's game is his athleticism, specifically on stretch plays and tosses. No one moves with as much strength and vision, as a lineman, than Joe Staley.
Back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl put the first-round draft pick from 2007 into discussion as one of the best blind-side tackles in the league.
Dashon Goldson is one of the hardest hitting safeties in the NFC. This tenacity can be best exemplified by the crushing blow Goldson applied to Early Doucet on Monday Night Football.
With 67 tackles and three interceptions on the season, Goldson was an elite player at his position who played physical in all aspects of his game.
Best known as a run stuffer, the 28-year-old brought the wood on a weekly basis, dislodging balls on numerous occasions.
Goldson's skills as a true center-field safety are not at the same level as hit hitting. Don't discount his skills to fight the ball at the highest point, and of course his run stuffing principles that epitomize the 49ers defense.
Frank Gore is another fantastic product of the great running-back factory, the University of Miami.
With over 8,000 career rushing yards to his name and three previous trips to Maui, Gore has quite the reputation amongst current NFL running backs. This season, Gore did not have his best numbers statistically, but amassed big plays with a tremendous 8.5 yards per rush average.
In 2012, Gore rushed 238 times for an impressive 1,146 yards including seven touchdowns. The numbers may not stand out, but the attributes Gore presents punched his ticket to Maui.
Gore always plays his best when the lights shine brightest, continuing to squeeze through holes and make tremendous jump cuts for an aged running back only 29 years young.
Mike Iupati was one of two first-round selections by the 49ers in 2010, and has hit the ground running as an elite offensive lineman in this league.
The 6'5" 331 pound guard from Idaho is the type of rugged, and battled tested lineman coach Jim Harbaugh loves to utilize in his power-running attack.
Iupati has dominating this season laying pancakes on nearly a weekly basis. The bully, as he is called by opponents, does an excellent job on trap plays and counters pulling up into the whole demolishing linebackers.
The first-time pro bowler earned his ballot to Maui this season with a reputation built upon intimidation alongside an All-Pro set of skills.
Patrick Willis is a consistent 100-plus-tackle machine for the 49ers defense. The reward for a career of hard work and continued success, a trip as the starting middle linebacker for the NFC in the 2013 Pro Bowl.
Statistically 2012 was a down-year for Willis, only amassing 116 total tackles and grabbing two interceptions as the captain of the defense.
Regardless, the presence Willis provides in the middle of the field is immense and nearly grants him an automatic berth into the Pro Bowl.
With this being his sixth straight appearance to the Pro Bowl, Willis has become the most intimidating middle-linebacker in the game of football. Arguably, starting to build his resume comparable to his childhood idol Ray Lewis.
Justin Smith had an insane year in 2011, coming out of seemingly nowhere to grab a Pro Bowl berth. That performance placed Smith as the No. 17 player in the 2012 Top 100.
This season Smith was dominant on the defensive line not only pressuring the quarterback but also sucking up double teams for his teammate Aldon Smith.
Besides the 66 tackles and three sacks Smith provided this season, his elite bull-rush move and child sized shoulder pads disrupted opposing running games all season long.
Smith's most important stat may be his eight stuffs, which will be severely missed by the 49ers defense that has not looked the same without him.
Donte Whitner may be one of the NFC's big surprises in the Pro Bowl. That being said, his elite play-making ability speaks for itself on the field.
As the ball-hawking presence for the 49ers, Whitner provided veteran leadership in the secondary. With this huge interception to his name, Whitner provided the key "impact play" to secure a trip to Maui.
Selected as a starter, the seven-year veteran ranks fourth on the team with 112 tackles in addition to a career-high two forced fumbles, one interception and five passes deflected.
NaVorro Bowman, or Patrick Willis 2.0, is becoming one of the best linebackers in the league. A superb season landed Bowman a spot as the starting inside linebacker for the NFC.
He leads the team with a career-high 144 tackles, while adding two sacks, five tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble and five passes deflected. What is truly amazing about Bowman is that he literally plays the game exactly like Patrick Willis.
The second-year linebacker out of Penn State has evolved into one of the top defensive players in the league due to his ability to defend sideline-to-sideline. With his relentless motor, Bowman can guard anyone from the likes of Darren Sproles to Rob Gronkowski.
The entire Chicago Bears game on Monday Night Football placed Aldon Smith into the discussion of greatest pass rusher in the league, earning him a spot in the 2013 Pro Bowl.
This video montage depicts every one of Aldon Smith's 19.5 sacks this season, which stands as the new 49ers record. The second-year pro has also recorded 80 tackles, three forced fumbles, one interception and one pass deflection.
With a great spin move and powerful arms, Aldon Smith has used the biggest stage to take the league by storm in 2012. After in impressive rookie-campaign, Smith went from being only a third-down pass rusher to the starting outside linebacker for the 49ers.
The move has increased Smith's playing time on the team, and his performance has vastly improved because of the change. The 23-year-old can now add NFC Pro Bowler to what will be an illustrious career.
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