Pro Bowl Teams 2014: Rosters, Projected Starters and More for Unconferenced Game

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJanuary 23, 2014

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, right, heckles Hall of Famer Deion Sanders during a news conference for the NFLPro Bowl Draft, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, Kapolei, Hawaii.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
MARCO GARCIA/Associated Press

In an effort to make the Pro Bowl a little more interesting, the NFL decided to forgo the customary battle between conferences. In its stead, the league opted for a draft to fill out the two teams, which are headed up by NFL legends Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. 

It remains to be seen if this will help make the exhibition game any more exciting, but at the very least, it is more fun comparing the teams. 

Now, instead of having teams sorted out by the happenstance of conference alignment, we have draft strategy and execution to look over. 

The first day—yes, there were two days of this draft—was reserved for the selection of captains and defensive and offensive interior linemen, fullbacks, special teams players and punters. Or in other words, the players who get beat on the most and paid the least...and punters.  

Here are the results from the first day, and don't worry about squinting, I also have the rosters below:  

After that, it was onto Day 2 of the Pro Bowl draft. The second day was highlighted by the selection of everyone else. 

Check out the vitals for this game, and then we'll take a closer look at the rosters. 


When: Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Watch: NBC (TV); NBC Sports Live Extra (Live Stream)


Projected Starters

Team Rice

Projected Starters
QBDrew Brees
RBsLeSean McCoyMike Tolbert
WRBrandon MarshallJosh Gordon
TEJimmy Graham
OLJoe ThomasJahri EvansRyan KalilBen GrubbsTyron Smith
SaftiesJairus ByrdEric Reid
CBsAlterraun VernerJoe Haden
LBsRobert MathisVontaze BurfictJustin Houston
DLRobert QuinnKyle WilliamsMarcell DareusCameron Jordan


Team Sanders

Projected Starters
QBAndrew Luck
RBJamaal CharlesMarcel Reece
WRA.J. GreenDez Bryant
TEJordan Cameron
OLBrandon AlbertLogan MankinsMike PounceyMarshal YandaTrent Williams
SaftiesEric BerryEric Weddle
CBsPatrick PetersonDarrelle Revis
LBsTamba HaliLuke KuechlyTerrell Suggs
DLJ.J. WattDontari PoeNdamukong SugMario Williams



Pro Bowl Rosters
Team SandersPositionTeam Rice
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis ColtsQBPhilip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Cam Newton, Carolina PanthersQBAlex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Nick Foles, Philadelphia EaglesQBDrew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City ChiefsRBLeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay PackersRBMatt Forte, Chicago Bears
Alfred Morris, Washington RedskinsRBDeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
A.J. Green, Cincinnati BengalsWRBrandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Dez Bryant, Dallas CowboysWRJosh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh SteelersWRAlshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia EaglesWRLarry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland BrownsTEJimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Jason Witten, Dallas CowboysTETony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Branden Albert, Kansas City ChiefsOTJoe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Trent Williams, Washington RedskinsOTTyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Duane Brown, Houston TexansOTJordan Gross, Carolina Panthers
Mario Williams, Buffalo BillsDECameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
Greg Hardy, Carolina PanthersDECameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Tamba Hali, Kansas City ChiefsOLBJustin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins (via trade)OLBJohn Abraham, Arizona Cardinals
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore RavensOLBRobert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts (via trade)
Luke Kuechly, Carolina PanthersILBVontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville JaguarsILBDerrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Tim Jennings, Chicago BearsCBAlterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans
Patrick Peterson, Arizona CardinalsCBJoe Haden, Cleveland Browns
Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay BuccaneersCBBrandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs
Brent Grimes, Miami DolphinsCBAntonio Cromartie, New York Jets
T.J. Ward, Cleveland BrownsSAntrel Rolle, New York Giants
Eric Berry, Kansas City ChiefsSJairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills
Eric Weddle, San Diego ChargersSEric Reid, San Francisco 49ers
Justin Tucker, Baltimore RavensKStephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota VikingsPRDexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit LionsDTJason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay BuccaneersDTMarcell Dareus, Buggalo Bills
Dontari Poe, Kansas City ChiefsDTKyle Williams, Buffalo Bills
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore RavensOGJahri Evans, Philadelphia Eagles
Logan Mankins, New England PatriotsOGBen Grubbs, New Orleans Saints
Kyle Long, St. Louis RamsOGEvan Mathis, New Orleans Saints
Mike Pouncey, Chicago BearsCRyan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
Alex Mack, Cleveland BrownsCNick Mangold, New York Jets
Marcel Reece, Oakland RaidersFBMike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
Matthew Slater, New England PatriotsSTJustin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals
Brandon Fields, Miami DolphinsPJohnny Hekker, St. Louis Rams


Weighing the Matchup

The first thing I look at when it comes to weighing a matchup in the Pro Bowl is the skill position players—especially those in the passing game. In football games that count, I try to never overlook the trenches. I believe physical dominance at the point of attack is the most fruitful path to consistent success in the NFL. 

In the Pro Bowl, and understandably so, the point of attack more closely resembles a resort than a trench, however. 

January 27, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; NFC offensive tackle Matt Kalil of the Minnesota Vikings (75) blocks AFC defensive end Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins (91) in the second quarter during the 2013 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ter
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

So, if the big guys who move the NFL will forgive me, I'm going to largely overlook them here. 

At the wide receiver and secondary positions, I like Team Sanders. With the likes of A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Patrick Peterson and Eric Berry, Team Rice can't match the athleticism of Team Sanders. 

Team Rice opted for more physical receivers with players like Brandon Marshall and Larry Fitzgerald. Also, with a secondary group consisting of players like Alterraun Verner and Jairus Byrd, Team Rice does not have the same kind of tantalizing size/speed ratio.  

Jan 22, 2014; Ko'Olina, HI, USA; Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald at the Pro Bowl draft at the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At the quarterback position, Team Rice have far more polished passers with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers stepping in under center, but Team Sanders have the explosive playmaking of Cam Newton and Andrew Luck, who is as polished a passer as the league has ever seen out of a second-year quarterback. 

Although, that apparently doesn't extend to his fashion sense: 

In the backfield, both teams have dynamic runners with big-play ability, with Jamaal Charles on Team Sanders and LeSean McCoy on Team Rice. 

Team Sanders does have a great Pro Bowl weapon at fullback, however, in Marcel Reece. The versatile Raiders fullback is a real threat down the field. Although the Panthers' Mike Tolbert is a better blocker and more physical player, Reece's abilities are made for the Pro Bowl. 

Another edge I see for Team Sanders is that Team Rice are loaded with amazing pass-rushers like Robert Mathis, Justin Houston and Robert Quinn.

What was the last game-changing sack you remember in the Pro Bowl, though?

January 22, 2014; Ko'Olina, HI, USA; Team Sanders alumni captain Deion Sanders (left) and Team Rice alumni captain Jerry Rice (right) react during the Pro Bowl draft at J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In case you can't tell, I give the edge here to Team Sanders. They are simply better suited for the highlight environment of the Pro Bowl.  


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