The stage has been set for the first-ever NFL Pro Bowl fantasy draft now that the men named to the 2014 Pro Bowl have been revealed.
NFL legends Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will serve as alumni team captains and make the final decisions on the rosters, although they will have help from current-player captains and an NFL.com fantasy champion.
The two-day affair, capped off by a live, three-hour broadcast on the NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 is sure to reinvigorate what has become a stagnant part of the NFL season as of late.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Kapolei, Hawaii
Television: NFL Network
The Draft-Eligible Players
|Pro Bowl Roster - Offense|
|QB||Tom Brady||New England Patriots|
|QB||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints|
|QB||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos|
|QB||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers|
|QB||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers|
|QB||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks|
|WR||Antonio Brown||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|WR||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys|
|WR||Josh Gordon||Cleveland Browns|
|WR||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals|
|WR||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans|
|WR||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions|
|WR||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears|
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos|
|OT||Branden Albert||Kansas City Chiefs|
|OT||Jason Peters||Philadelphia Eagles|
|OT||Tyron Smith||Dallas Cowboys|
|OT||Joe Staley||San Francisco 49ers|
|OT||Joe Thomas||Cleveland Browns|
|OT||Trent Williams||Washington Redskins|
|OG||Jahri Evans||New Orleans Saints|
|OG||Ben Grubbs||New Orleans Saints|
|OG||Mike Iupati||San Francisco 49ers|
|OG||Logan Mankins||New England Patriots|
|OG||Louis Vasquez||Denver Broncos|
|OG||Marshal Yanda||Baltimore Ravens|
|C||Ryan Kalil||Carolina Panthers|
|C||Alex Mack||Cleveland Browns|
|C||Mike Pouncey||Miami Dolphins|
|C||Max Unger||Seattle Seahawks|
|TE||Jordan Cameron||Cleveland Browns|
|TE||Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers|
|TE||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints|
|TE||Julius Thomas||Denver Broncos|
|RB||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs|
|RB||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears|
|RB||Frank Gore||San Francisco 49ers|
|RB||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks|
|RB||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles|
|RB||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings|
|FB||Marcel Reece||Oakland Raiders|
|FB||Mike Tolbert||Carolina Panthers|
|Pro Bowl Roster - Defense|
|DE||Greg Hardy||Carolina Panthers|
|DE||Cameron Jordan||New Orleans Saints|
|DE||Robert Quinn||St. Louis Rams|
|DE||Cameron Wake||Miami Dolphins|
|DE||J.J. Watt||Houston Texans|
|DE||Mario Williams||Buffalo Bills|
|DT||Gerald McCoy||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|DT||Haloti Ngata||Baltimore Ravens|
|DT||Dontari Poe||Kansas City Chiefs|
|DT||Justin Smith||San Francisco 49ers|
|DT||Ndamukong Suh||Detroit Lions|
|DT||Kyle Williams||Buffalo Bills|
|OLB||John Abraham||Arizona Cardinals|
|OLB||Ahmad Brooks||San Francisco 49ers|
|OLB||Tamba Hali||Kansas City Chiefs|
|OLB||Justin Houston||Kansas City Chiefs|
|OLB||Robert Mathis||Indianapolis Colts|
|OLB||Terrell Suggs||Baltimore Ravens|
|MLB||NaVorro Bowman||San Francisco 49ers|
|MLB||Vontaze Burfict||Cincinnati Bengals|
|MLB||Luke Kuechly||Carolina Panthers|
|MLB||Patrick Willis||San Francisco 49ers|
|CB||Brandon Flowers||Kansas City Chiefs|
|CB||Brent Grimes||Miami Dolphins|
|CB||Joe Haden||Cleveland Browns|
|CB||Patrick Peterson||Arizona Cardinals|
|CB||Darrelle Revis||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|CB||Richard Sherman||Seattle Seahawks|
|CB||Aqib Talib||New England Patriots|
|CB||Alterraun Verner||Tennessee Titans|
|FS||Jairus Byrd||Buffalo Bills|
|FS||Earl Thomas||Seattle Seahawks|
|FS||Eric Weddle||San Diego Chargers|
|SS||Eric Berry||Kansas City Chiefs|
|SS||Kam Chancellor||Seattle Seahawks|
|SS||Troy Polamalu||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Pro Bowl Roster - Special Teams|
|P||Brandon Fields||Miami Dolphins|
|P||Johnny Hekker||St. Louis Rams|
|K||Matt Prater||Denver Broncos|
|K||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens|
|PR||Antonio Brown||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|PR||Dexter McCluster||Kansas City Chiefs|
|ST||Justin Bethel||Arizona Cardinals|
|ST||Matthew Slater||New England Patriots|
The NFL has stretched the draft process out as long as possible in order to help recreate the excitement of the rookie draft.
Tuesday, Jan. 21 sees 11 players drafted to each team—but only the "non-sexy" positions are invited—guards, centers, fullbacks, interior defensive linemen, punters and members of the special teams.
The exciting positions are left for the big actual broadcast, where Tuesday's drafted players will walk a red carpet before the rest of the teams are selected by captains, headed by Rice and Sanders.
The aptly named Team Rice and Team Sanders will be led by legends of the same names, who have the final say in all decisions.
But they are not alone. Four active-player captains will also partake in the activities. The two top vote-getters on offense and defense will get the nod, provided their teams do not participate in the Conference Championships.
Two fantasy champions will also be selected and get to participate in the inaugural edition of the draft.
What to Expect
Both teams are led by contrasting legends for good reason, and not just for their impressive trash talk as the NFL Network captured:
While the Pro Bowl has been known for its restrictive rules toward the defense for safety purposes, Sanders should have no issue crafting a squad that can overcome the rules and keep this one close.
Sanders surely has an eye for defensive backs, a position that will ultimately decide the game. The legend has plenty of options to choose from, including Arizona Cardinals star Patrick Peterson, who wants Sanders to know he should be the No. 1 pick thanks to his versatility:
Team Sanders will need the Darrelle Revis' and Brent Grimes' of the world to deal with a star-studded receiver lineup sure to mostly end up on Rice's side:
The passing attack is the name of the game in the Pro Bowl. So any time an A.J. Green can combine with a Calvin Johnson, not to mention a dash of Josh Gordon on the side, the scoreboard is sure to light up.
But do not forget tight ends, either. Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints leads the way and will surely be on Rice's radar:
With players who intricately know opposite sides of the football, a strength vs. strength matchup appears to be in the cards for the first iteration of the draft format in the Pro Bowl.
Fans should expect nothing less than an entertaining bout, although the fresh buildup may outshine the event itself.
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