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

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

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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
QB Drew Brees
RBs LeSean McCoy Mike Tolbert
WR Brandon Marshall Josh Gordon
TE Jimmy Graham
OL Joe Thomas Jahri Evans Ryan Kalil Ben Grubbs Tyron Smith
Safties Jairus Byrd Eric Reid
CBs Alterraun Verner Joe Haden
LBs Robert Mathis Vontaze Burfict Justin Houston
DL Robert Quinn Kyle Williams Marcell Dareus Cameron Jordan

Team Sanders

Projected Starters
QB Andrew Luck
RB Jamaal Charles Marcel Reece
WR A.J. Green Dez Bryant
TE Jordan Cameron
OL Brandon Albert Logan Mankins Mike Pouncey Marshal Yanda Trent Williams
Safties Eric Berry Eric Weddle
CBs Patrick Peterson Darrelle Revis
LBs Tamba Hali Luke Kuechly Terrell Suggs
DL J.J. Watt Dontari Poe Ndamukong Sug Mario Williams


Pro Bowl Rosters
Team Sanders Position Team Rice
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers RB Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals WR Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys TE Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs OT Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins OT Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Duane Brown, Houston Texans OT Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers
Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers DE Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs OLB Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins (via trade) OLB John Abraham, Arizona Cardinals
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens OLB Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts (via trade)
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers ILB Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville Jaguars ILB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears CB Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans
Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals CB Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns
Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs
Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins CB Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets
T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns S Antrel Rolle, New York Giants
Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs S Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers S Eric Reid, San Francisco 49ers
Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens K Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings PR Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions DT Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Marcell Dareus, Buggalo Bills
Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs DT Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens OG Jahri Evans, Philadelphia Eagles
Logan Mankins, New England Patriots OG Ben Grubbs, New Orleans Saints
Kyle Long, St. Louis Rams OG Evan Mathis, New Orleans Saints
Mike Pouncey, Chicago Bears C Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns C Nick Mangold, New York Jets
Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders FB Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
Matthew Slater, New England Patriots ST Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals
Brandon Fields, Miami Dolphins P Johnny 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. 

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.  

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?

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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