NFL Pro Bowl Roster 2014: Players Sure to Be High Selections in Inaugural Draft

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) makes a catch  in the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The first-ever Pro Bowl draft will take place at 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 22, 2014, where NFL legends Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice will select from a pool of unconferenced players.

Players were elected to the 2014 Pro Bowl as usual, but this new wrinkle plays on both the popularity of the NFL draft and fantasy football in an attempt to revive what has been a stagnant event over the years.

Rather than scrap the event entirely, this breath of fresh air has fans buzzing about the Pro Bowl. Here is a look at the full roster, followed by three names to watch early come draft day.

Pro Bowl Roster - Offense
Pos. Player Team
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
Pos. Player Team
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
Pos. Player
P Brandon Fields
P Johnny Hekker
K Matt Prater
K Justin Tucker
PR Antonio Brown
PR Dexter McCluster
ST Justin Bethel
ST Matthew Slater

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) warms up before a game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

There is a certain allure to young stars such as Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, but either Rice or Sanders will have to get boring in the early goings and select a veteran quarterback.

Boring is not a horrible way for either to go in an offensive-minded showdown, especially with Peyton Manning on the board.

The Denver Broncos signal-caller has thrown for 5,211 yards and an NFL-record 51 touchdowns through 16 games, leading him to be the highest vote-getter as ESPN details:

Those 13 trips tie for second-most in NFL history, and this one comes just in time as Manning will not be restricted to receivers from the AFC—meaning he could lob passes to Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions.


Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

While certainly not the biggest name, both men in charge of the draft—especially Rice—are going to want some young blood to promote the health of the league on a national scale.

There is no better way to do that than grab Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns. Gordon has earned the right to be up there with the Megatrons and A.J. Greens of the world after a 2013 campaign that saw him amass 1,564 yards and nine touchdowns—despite missing the first two games of the season.

Gordon broke a variety of records through 16 Weeks, but one stands above all:

Despite these impressive feats, Gordon did not finish among the top-10 wide receivers in fan voting, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal illustrates:

Thank goodness for coach and player votes, as both groups clearly saw something in Gordon's impressive year—Rice and Sanders will, too.

Perhaps most helpful to Gordon's case for a high selection was his enthusiasm for being named to the event as NFL Network captured:

There is arguably no better deep threat eligible for the Pro Bowl than Gordon and he is a lock to make the trip to Hawaii with his team out of contention. Expect to see his name come off the board early.

Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals

Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) against the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While defense is hard to come by in the Pro Bowl for the sake of player safety, we all know Sanders is going to nab elite defensive backs early to counter the explosive offense Rice is sure to assemble.

Sanders has to look no further than Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals, who wants to be the No. 1 player off the board:

Peterson has a case. He ranks as the No. 12 overall corner in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), in large part thanks to his ability to shut down most consistently.

Peterson also has 40 total tackles and three picks, and also doubles as an electric returner.

If a defender is going to sneak into the early part of the draft, there is no better bet than Peterson.

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