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NFL Pro Bowl Draft 2014: Expectations for Team Jerry Rice vs. Team Deion Sanders

Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) is defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Now that we know the identities of the players who will partake in the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Jan. 26, we can now begin to better understand how Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will pick their teams.

That's right, two NFL legends will pick teams in the first-ever Pro Bowl fantasy draft. The event will air at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Both Rice and Sanders will have help from two captains and an NFL.com fantasy champion.

Anything can and surely will happen in the inaugural event.

Here is a look at the entire list of draft-eligible players, followed by what to expect from Rice and Sanders in the upcoming draft.

 

Pro Bowl Roster - Offense
Pos.PlayerTeam
QBTom BradyNew England Patriots
QBDrew BreesNew Orleans Saints
QBPeyton ManningDenver Broncos
QBCam NewtonCarolina Panthers
QBPhilip RiversSan Diego Chargers
QBRussell WilsonSeattle Seahawks
WRAntonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers
WRDez BryantDallas Cowboys
WRJosh GordonCleveland Browns
WRA.J. GreenCincinnati Bengals
WRAndre JohnsonHouston Texans
WRCalvin JohnsonDetroit Lions
WRBrandon MarshallChicago Bears
WRDemaryius ThomasDenver Broncos
OTBranden AlbertKansas City Chiefs
OTJason PetersPhiladelphia Eagles
OTTyron SmithDallas Cowboys
OTJoe StaleySan Francisco 49ers
OTJoe ThomasCleveland Browns
OTTrent WilliamsWashington Redskins
OGJahri EvansNew Orleans Saints
OGBen GrubbsNew Orleans Saints
OGMike IupatiSan Francisco 49ers
OGLogan MankinsNew England Patriots
OGLouis VasquezDenver Broncos
OGMarshal YandaBaltimore Ravens
C Ryan KalilCarolina Panthers
CAlex MackCleveland Browns
C Mike PounceyMiami Dolphins
C Max UngerSeattle Seahawks
TE Jordan CameronCleveland Browns
TEVernon DavisSan Francisco 49ers
TEJimmy GrahamNew Orleans Saints
TEJulius ThomasDenver Broncos
RBJamaal CharlesKansas City Chiefs
RBMatt ForteChicago Bears
RBFrank GoreSan Francisco 49ers
RBMarshawn LynchSeattle Seahawks
RBLeSean McCoyPhiladelphia Eagles
RBAdrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings
FBMarcel ReeceOakland Raiders
FBMike TolbertCarolina Panthers
NFL

 

Pro Bowl Roster - Defense
Pos.PlayerTeam
DEGreg HardyCarolina Panthers
DECameron JordanNew Orleans Saints
DERobert QuinnSt. Louis Rams
DECameron WakeMiami Dolphins
DEJ.J. WattHouston Texans
DEMario WilliamsBuffalo Bills
DTGerald McCoyTampa Bay Buccaneers
DTHaloti NgataBaltimore Ravens
DTDontari PoeKansas City Chiefs
DTJustin SmithSan Francisco 49ers
DT Ndamukong SuhDetroit Lions
DT Kyle WilliamsBuffalo Bills
OLB John AbrahamArizona Cardinals
OLBAhmad BrooksSan Francisco 49ers
OLBTamba HaliKansas City Chiefs
OLBJustin HoustonKansas City Chiefs
OLBRobert MathisIndianapolis Colts
OLBTerrell SuggsBaltimore Ravens
MLBNaVorro BowmanSan Francisco 49ers
MLBVontaze BurfictCincinnati Bengals
MLBLuke KuechlyCarolina Panthers
MLBPatrick WillisSan Francisco 49ers
CBBrandon FlowersKansas City Chiefs
CBBrent GrimesMiami Dolphins
CBJoe HadenCleveland Browns
CBPatrick PetersonArizona Cardinals
CBDarrelle RevisTampa Bay Buccaneers
CBRichard ShermanSeattle Seahawks
CBAqib TalibNew England Patriots
CB Alterraun VernerTennessee Titans
FSJairus ByrdBuffalo Bills
FSEarl ThomasSeattle Seahawks
FSEric WeddleSan Diego Chargers
SSEric BerryKansas City Chiefs
SS Kam ChancellorSeattle Seahawks
SSTroy PolamaluPittsburgh Steelers
NFL

 

Pro Bowl Roster - Special Teams
Pos.PlayerTeam
PBrandon FieldsMiami Dolphins
PJohnny HekkerSt. Louis Rams
KMatt PraterDenver Broncos
KJustin TuckerBaltimore Ravens
PRAntonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers
PRDexter McClusterKansas City Chiefs
ST Justin BethelArizona Cardinals
ST Matthew SlaterNew England Patriots
NFL

 

Team Rice

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8:  Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns catches a pass before a game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Fans have to know where Rice is headed with his team from the get-go—offense, offense and more offense.

Rice does not lack for options. At quarterback, he can either pick from savvy veterans like Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, or he can roll with young blood like Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

But where is Rice most likely to turn for help early? Wide receivers, of course. As Rice was in his day, several names pop up as stars who will make any player under center better as ESPN illustrates:

Rice can go with Megatron (1,492 yards, 12 touchdowns) from the Detroit Lions, but his options far from end there. If he wants to stick with reliable veterans, Rice can grab up Andre Johnson (1,358 yards and five scores), who helped to make Chase Keenum look like a star at times in 2013 for the Houston Texans. The Chicago Bears' Brandon Marshall (1,221 yards, 11 scores) is an option too after he survived a quarterback carousel.

But the young blood is once again where Rice should look. Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns broke records this year en route to 1,564 yards and nine scores, including two straight games with more than 230 yards—all while missing the first two games of the season.

As Dan Murphy, Cleveland's Communications Coordinator, points out, Gordon was the best deep threat in the NFL:

Gordon, along with corner Joe Haden, were thrilled with their nominations as the NFL Network Twitter captured:

But Rice knows his defense, too. He had great praise for J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner:

Expect Rice's team to be a fantasy guru's dream. The Pro Bowl is known for sexy offense and little defense, and Rice is sure to assemble a squad that will put up historic numbers.

 

Team Sanders

Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner (20) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the New York Jets during the first half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jets 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sp
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

But do not sleep on Primetime's team, because Sanders has plenty of defensive options to work with to counter what will be an explosive Team Rice.

Let's go ahead and jump into top cornerbacks, because we know that is where Sanders will look for the most help.

First up, the New England Patriots' Aqib Talib, who has made a habit of shutting down the best of the best this year, and even cashed in thanks to his selection, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:

While other big names such as Haden and Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals are great options, expect Sanders to also give the nod to another young gun about to take the league by storm—Alterraun Verner of the Tennessee Titans.

Verner ranks as the No. 11 corner in the NFL this year according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He is already thrilled about his big opportunity as the team's Twitter illustrates:

But Sanders, who is more than familiar with defenses, will surely know how to draft in the trenches, too. He already (while cracking a joke at his age) has his eye on Robert Mathis (53 tackles, 17.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles) from the Indianapolis Colts, as the 11-year pro revealed on Twitter:

If Rice's team is stacked to the brim with offensive studs, Sanders' squad will come with a lineup sure to make the Ryan family tree blush.

Just imagining the possibilities has to excite fans. Not a bad way to make the Pro Bowl entertaining again, right?

 

Note: All draft info and official rosters courtesy of NFL.com.

 

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