Pro Bowl 2014: Full Roster and Expectations for Team Rice vs. Team Sanders

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Pro Bowl 2014: Full Roster and Expectations for Team Rice vs. Team Sanders
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders made the most of the inaugural Pro Bowl Draft as the league attempts to revive an event that has been dead in the water for years.

The shot in the dark may just work.

With the nation under the influence of a thing called fantasy football, a fantasy draft that features the biggest names in the NFL (barring injured or championship-bound stars) only made sense. The final rosters have the look of exciting matchups—on paper.

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
RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers RB Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders FB Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
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
Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins C Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns C Nick Mangold, New York Jets
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens OG Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints
Logan Mankins, New England Patriots OG Ben Grubbs, New Orleans Saints
Kyle Long, Chicago Bears OG Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions DT Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys
Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs DT Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills
Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers DE Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans DE
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
Brandon Fields, Miami Dolphins P Johnny Hekker, St. Louis Rams
Matthew Slater, New England Patriots ST Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals
J.J. Jansen, Carolina Panthers LS Matt Overton, Indianapolis Colts

NFL.com

Of course, vocal detractors remain in the face of the league's attempt to revitalize the annual spectacle, such as legendary coach John Madden, via Mad Dog Sports Radio:

Regardless, the NFL has set the stage for intriguing matchups that were once only reserved for the imagination. Perhaps the biggest example is superstars from the same team set to battle one another as they line up on opposite sides of the field.

For example, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis of Team Rice has the chance to hit Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was the No. 1 overall pick. Mathis told reporters, via NFL.com's Kevin Patra, that he would not hit Luck: "No. It's my quarterback, I'm not going to hit him. We joked about it. It was just jokes. I'm glad it didn't happen."

But it did happen, as Mathis was traded for Brian Orakpo and will subsequently line up across from Luck. Now Mathis has a dilemma on his hands. Do not expect him to change his approach in regards to hitting his own quarterback, however.

Mathis is far from the only player stuck in this awkward situation—which makes for great entertainment among fans.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who replaced New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, will have to face several of his own defenders. This time, the hits and mistakes will be meaningful against the likes of defensive tackle Dontari Poe, linebacker Tamba Hali and safety Eric Berry.

The same goes for San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who was drafted by Team Rice and will somehow have to avoid star safety Eric Weddle.  

Speaking of Weddle, he was not too thrilled about his late selection and laid out an epic interview during his wait, which Rivers may want to pay attention to, per Ricky Henne of the Chargers' website:

It doesn’t really matter [where I go]. I’m just chilling. [It’s] been 17 hours in here right now. But when it comes to Sunday, and I told both coaches, they’re going to regret along with everyone in this room [because] I’ll be on the field in the fourth quarter and ready to wreck shop.

While Weddle sounds angry, one has to think he will not take out his frustrations on his own quarterback.

Defenders going against their own signal-callers is far from the only storyline to watch, as receivers and cornerbacks from the same teams will also line up across from each other for epic matchups.

Arizona Cardinals star cornerback Patrick Peterson will line up across from Larry Fitzgerald. As CBS Sports' Will Brinson illustrates, this matchup, only made possible via the Pro Bowl, is a must-see affair:

It does not end there. Will Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict light up receiver A.J. Green if he comes across the middle? Is Cleveland Browns wideout Josh Gordon safe if he goes deep in T.J. Ward's direction? It can be assumed those defenders will take it easy on their offensive counterparts, but both are not known for holding back—so do not be shocked to see some vicious friendly fire.

While far from the only intriguing matchups to watch, the above scenarios should raise the expectations of fans everywhere for this year's Pro Bowl. "What if?" scenarios are always a hot topic, and the upcoming spectacle in Hawaii will fulfill many of those dream matchups.

 

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