There aren't a ton of rookies on this year's Pro Bowl roster, but the rookies that were selected have plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent on a national stage.
Much has been made about the annual event, especially in the wake of the tasteless display that was put on last season. Players have been speaking out about the physicality of the game and whether or not they can turn around the trend from the past few seasons, including running backs Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster.
Foster (courtesy of this piece from Pro Football Talk) petitions league commissioner Roger Goodell to look at the players' side of things, saying, "But in all honesty, with all due respect, Mr. Goodell? He’s not out here taking these hits."
Peterson, on the other hand, has vowed to go all out on Sunday (per this AP report via Yahoo! Sports). Peterson's brash style on the field probably doesn't translate to a slow pace of game, and that will hopefully give fans a treat they haven't had in recent memory.
Back to the rookies—this season was a changing of the guard when it comes to early career success. Three rookie QBs were in the playoffs and countless more played pivotal roles on good teams. That being said, here's a look at three rookies who will make the trip to Hawaii every year—maybe even double-digit years—based on this season's success.
Note: For a complete look at the rosters, replacements and starters for the 2013 Pro Bowl, check out this NFL.com report.
Blair Walsh, K, Minnesota
Walsh had a great season for the Vikings, and is the only rookie that was selected to the first team All-Pro squad.
He had a stellar 2012 campaign as a rookie from Georgia, missing just three of his 38 field goal attempts, hitting all of his extra points and netting a whopping 10 field goals that traveled over 50 yards through the air.
Additionally, he had one of his best games in Minnesota's biggest 2012 moment—beating the Green Bay Packers to reach the playoffs. Walsh made four field goals total, knocking in the game-winner to send the Vikes to the promised land.
He's a name to watch for years to come due to his big leg and consistency for a team that has generally struggled in the red zone with Christian Ponder. There's plenty of good names to choose from in the NFC, but Walsh is going to make things difficult for the rest of the league when it comes to his kicking talent.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay
The Muscle Hamster came on strong in the middle of the 2012 season, highlighted by his four touchdown day against the Oakland Raiders in which he racked up 251 yards on the ground.
Tampa Bay used a first-round pick on its running back of the future, and after 1,454 yards, 11 touchdowns and nearly another 500 receiving yards later, that pick is paying off in the first year of its existence.
Martin has a chance to be one of the best running backs in the NFC. His low-to-the-ground running style and ability to read the zone scheme have made him a key cog in Tampa Bay's plans already, and he's barely through his first NFL season.
Adrian Peterson is the clear class of back in the NFC, but other teams have struggled to let a No. 1 back emerge. Green Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina don't use backs nearly as much, and as a result, we could be seeing a lot more of Martin in Hawaii each January.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis
Luck had a rough playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, but his 2012 season was truly one for the books. Eclipsing rookie records left and right, Luck's 4,374 passing yards as a rookie are the most in league history.
He led a 2-14 team in 2011 to an 11-5 team in 2012, marking the best turnaround in the NFL this season. He also did it without any marquee name besides Reggie Wayne around to help, as youngsters Donnie Avery, Vick Ballard and T.Y. Hilton took on big roles in the offense.
Not since No. 18 has Indianapolis had something this impressive to be excited about, and he only won three games during his rookie campaign in 1998.
Luck is a replacement for the injured Tom Brady, but his exploits in the AFC will not go unnoticed in the future. He's the clear choice for that replacement role, and there's nowhere to go but up after an impressive first season in the pros.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.
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