Which Denver Broncos Players Are Destined for Pro Bowl Performances in 2014?
That is an encouraging sign for fans, because teams that have a lot of Pro Bowlers are usually teams that enjoyed a lot of success that season.
Following the 2013 season, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers each sent 10 players to the Pro Bowl. The Broncos could duplicate and perhaps even surpass that number with the talent they have this season.
Denver is ready to make another run at the Super Bowl, and they have these players who are primed to have Pro Bowl seasons.
Montee Ball, Running Back
There is no reason why Montee Ball can't join the ranks of elite running backs this season, as he should get more than enough opportunities to handle the ball in 2014.
As a rookie, Ball rushed for 559 yards and four touchdowns. He could easily double those numbers this year.
At just 23 years of age, Ball could become a fixture in the annual All-Star game.
DeMarcus Ware, Defensive End
In the Broncos' preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, free-agent acquisition DeMarcus Ware got a sack on the team's first defensive series.
On 1st-and-10, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson stepped up and tried to evade pressure, something he has done with regularity in his young career. But Ware was able to slam him to the ground anyway.
Ware has been over the past decade one of the league's premier pass-rushers, and he should thrive in a Denver system that features Von Miller on the opposite side. Without seeing as many double-teams, Ware who comes into this season with 117 career sacks, could post another double-digit sack season, a mark that he has reached in seven of his nine seasons in the league.
Look for him to have another in his first year in Denver.
Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver
Demaryius Thomas can do it all at the wide receiver position, and he has become one of the best at his position in the league.
Most importantly, he is Peyton Manning's favorite target in the passing game, meaning he'll have a ton of balls thrown in his direction.
Over the last two seasons, Thomas has posted 186 receptions, 2,864 yards and 24 touchdowns. Those are numbers that any receiver would be happy to have.
Thomas should have no trouble finding his way to a third consecutive Pro Bowl.
Terrance Knighton, Defensive Tackle
Terrance Knighton has found a home in Denver, and in 2014, fans will know him for much more than just his nickname, "pot roast."
Knighton has settled into his starting defensive tackle position in Denver, and he really came alive during the Broncos' postseason run last year.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio knows how to get the most out of his guys, and Knighton is no exception. In 2014, Knighton should become one of the league's more formidable defensive tackles.
Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Receiver
You think Eric Decker put up big numbers in Denver? Free-agent acquisition Emmanuel Sanders has the ability to not only approach Decker's figures, but surpass them.
Sanders gives the Broncos a serious deep threat in the passing game, something that Decker didn't really offer.
With guys like Wes Welker and Julius Thomas eating up the middle of the field, Sanders will have many chances to stretch the defense and come up with a big play.
His best season in Pittsburgh saw him catch 67 passes for 740 and six touchdowns. He should easily surpass those numbers this season.
That alone won't put him in the Pro Bowl, but Sanders is in line for a breakout season.
Aqib Talib, Cornerback
After Bronco receivers were physically manhandled by Seattle's defensive backs in Super Bowl XLVIII, one of the first things the Denver front office did was target a player who could do the same thing its secondary.
Aqib Talib fit that bill.
Talib is one of the best one-on-one cornerbacks in the NFL, and he will be a force in Denver this season. By taking out the opposition's No. 1 wide receiver on a weekly basis, the league will recognize him with a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Staying healthy will be key for Talib, as he hasn't played a full 16-game season in his entire career, but his ability as a shutdown corner is indisputable.
Ryan Clady, Tackle
The fact that Ryan Clady will be back in the lineup this season is as important as anything for the Broncos this season.
They played nearly the entire season without him last year after he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 against the New York Giants. While Chris Clark played well in place of him, Clady's absence was very evident in Denver's Super Bowl loss to Seattle.
Clady is as good as any left tackle in football, and the entire offense will be very happy to have him back.
Clady has earned three trips to the Pro Bowl in his career, and him notching a fourth is well within reason in 2014.
Von Miller, Linebacker
Von Miller had a very forgettable season in 2013, but when he is at 100 percent, is there a more dynamic defensive player in the NFL?
Not only did Miller have to serve a six-game suspension last year, he then suffered an injury that derailed the rest of his season, forcing him to stand idly by as the Broncos made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
Miller has 35 sacks in his first three years in the NFL, but he was likely humbled by the way last season went for him personally, despite the team's success.
With that said, expect to see a motivated, hungry Miller who will not only a Pro Bowl nod in 2014 but will make a run for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Matt Prater, Kicker
Not only does Matt Prater have one of the league's strongest kicking legs, he also has one of the most accurate.
Last season, only New England's Stephen Gostkowski had more points than Prater's 150. Still, Prater was given the nod as the kicker for the AFC Pro Bowl roster.
Perhaps that was due to the seven field goals of 50 yards or more that Prater booted. Or maybe the fact that he kicked a new NFL-record 64-yard field goal secured him a spot.
Either way, Prater has turned into a serious weapon for Denver and should be viewed, at the very least, as the best kicker in the AFC.
Danny Trevathan, Linebacker
The fact that the Broncos were able to get Danny Trevathan in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL draft is turning into quite the steal.
Broncos fans know what he can do, but 2014 will be the year that fans around the country will take notice of this rising star.
Trevathan is all over the place on defense. He seems to be in on every play.
With all the superstars the Broncos have on defense, Trevathan is a guy who should not be forgotten. He may be considered a long shot to make the Pro Bowl, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Julius Thomas, Tight End
When the Broncos drafted Julius Thomas in the fourth round in 2011, fans had high hopes for the former basketball star. But for his first couple of seasons, Thomas looked to be too raw to develop into a polished, productive tight end.
All of that changed last season when Thomas broke out with 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning him a Pro Bowl selection.
With another year in the Peyton Manning-led system under his belt, Thomas could settle in and improve upon those numbers this season, becoming an even scarier player for opposing defenses to deal with.
The AFC has a good young crop of tight ends, but Thomas could emerge as the best tight end in the entire conference.
Chris Harris, Cornerback
What does Chris Harris not do well? It seems most Broncos fans appreciate what a key contributor he is to the team, it's now time for the rest of the league to take notice.
Harris is strong in coverage. He has good ball skills. He's an excellent tackler. Not too bad for a player who went undrafted coming out of college.
Harris will be returning from a partially torn ACL, and that will be his biggest obstacle this season. But if he returns to form, he will shine in Denver's new and improved secondary.
With Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and Bradley Roby, Harris will be surrounded by talent. But that doesn't mean he can't be the best player in that secondary.
Chris Harris for the Pro Bowl in 2014. The campaign starts here.
Louis Vasquez, Guard
Louis Vasquez has turned into one of the better free-agent signings in recent years for the Broncos, and they've had some good ones.
Vasquez is a strong force on the interior of the offensive line, and if the Broncos transition into more of a power running game this season, he'll be able to show off his skills even more.
Following last season, Vasquez was rewarded with his first trip to the Pro Bowl. He'll make it back-to-back appearances following this season.
Peyton Manning, Quarterback
Obviously, Peyton Manning makes this list as he is a virtual lock for the Pro Bowl. Manning has made 13 trips to the Pro Bowl over the course of his career.
The reigning NFL MVP should be in the hunt to win that award again. After a crushing defeat in the Super Bowl, Manning will be even more motivated to put up big numbers on Denver opponents this season.
After setting NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season last year, there isn't any reason to think he can't reset both of those records this season.
You can go ahead and pencil him in for the Pro Bowl right now.
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