Pro Bowl Teams 2016: Full Draft Predictions for Team Rice vs. Team Irvin

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2016

Michael Irvin, left, talks to Dallas Cowboys' DeMarco Murray during the Pro Bowl draft Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

So far, the 2016 Pro Bowl has made headlines largely for who isn't playing rather than who is. On Wednesday, the focus will fully shift to those stars taking part as team captains Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin fill out their respective rosters.

According to Elias Sports (via ESPN Stats & Info), 133 players have been named to the Pro Bowl this year, which sets a new record. Only 86 will play in the game, which kicks off Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

As was the case in the past two years, the NFL decided to let two legends—Rice and Irvin—draft the teams that will be competing against each other. The draft will take place at 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night.

Below are the full Pro Bowl roster and predictions for how the draft will unfold.

2016 Pro Bowl Roster—Offense
PositionPlayer
QBTeddy Bridgewater, MIN (R)
QBDerek Carr, OAK (R)
QBEli Manning, NYG (R)
QBTyrod Taylor, BUF (R)
QBRussell Wilson, SEA
QBJameis Winston, TB (R)
RBChris Ivory, NYJ (R)
RBDevonta Freeman, ATL
RBTodd Gurley, STL
RBDoug Martin, TB
RBLatavius Murray, OAK (R)
RBAdrian Peterson, MIN
FBPatrick DiMarco, ATL (R)
FBMarcel Reece, OAK
WROdell Beckham Jr., NYG
WRAntonio Brown, PIT
WRAmari Cooper, OAK (R)
WRA.J. Green, CIN
WRT.Y. Hilton, IND (R)
WRDeAndre Hopkins, HOU
WRJulio Jones, ATL
WRAllen Robinson, JAX (R)
TEGary Barnidge, CLE (R)
TETyler Eifert, CIN
TETravis Kelce, KC
TEDelanie Walker, TEN
OTJason Peters, OT
OTTyron Smith, DAL
OTJoe Staley, SF
OTJoe Thomas, CLE
OTAndrew Whitworth, CIN
OTTrent Williams, WAS
OGDavid DeCastro, PIT
OGRichie Incognito, BUF (R)
OGLogan Mankins, TB (R)
OGZack Martin, DAL
OGJosh Sitton, GB
OGMarshal Yanda, BAL
CTravis Frederick, DAL
CEric Wood, BUF (R)
CAlex Mack, CLE
CMike Pouncey, MIA
Source: NFL.com
2016 Pro Bowl Roster—Defense/Special Teams
PositionPlayer
DEEzekiel Ansah, DET
DEMichael Bennett, SEA
DEChandler Jones, NE
DEKhalil Mack, OAK
DEJ.J. Watt, HOU
DECarlos Dunlap, CIN (R)
Int. LineGeno Atkins, CIN
Int. LineCalais Campbell, ARI
Int. LineJurrell Casey, TEN (R)
Int. LineFletcher Cox, PHI
Int. LineAaron Donald, STL
Int. LineGerald McCoy, TB
OLBAnthony Barr, MIN (R)
OLBLavonte David, TB (R)
OLBElvis Dumervil, BAL (R)
OLBTamba Hali, KC
OLBSean Lee, DAL (R)
OLBJulius Peppers, GB (R)
MLBNaVorro Bowman, SF
MLBDerrick Johnson, KC (R)
MLBClay Matthews, GB
MLBBobby Wagner, SEA
CBMalcolm Butler, NE
CBVontae Davis, IND (R)
CBBrent Grimes, MIA (R)
CBAdam Jones, CIN (R)
CBDesmond Trufant, ATL (R)
CBMarcus Peters, KC
CBDarrelle Revis, NYJ
CBRichard Sherman, SEA
FSMalcolm Jenkins, PHI (R)
FSReshad Jones, MIA (R)
FSHarrison Smith, MIA (R)
SSMike Adams, IND (R)
SSEric Berry, KC
SSCharles Woodson, OAK
PSam Koch, BAL
PJohnny Hekker, STL
KStephen Gostkowski, NE
KDan Bailey, DAL
RSDarren Sproles PHI
RSTyler Lockett, SEA
STCedric Peerman, CIN (R)
STJustin Bethel, ARI
Source: NFL.com

 

Predictions

Russell Wilson Will Go First Overall

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

In the last two years, quarterback Andrew Luck was taken No. 1 overall. Since Luck won't be taking part in this year's event, the best QB available will likely be taking his place: Russell Wilson.

One of Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers would be the ideal selection, but none of the four is available for a variety of reasons. In fact, Wilson is the only one among the six QBs who isn't a replacement.

Newton's ascendance in 2015 caused Wilson's otherwise strong season to get overlooked somewhat. The Seattle Seahawks QB threw for 4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The yards and TDs were career highs, while he also completed a career-best 68.1 percent of his passes.

If history is any indicator, then Wilson will be the first player off the board in the Pro Bowl draft.

 

Richard Sherman Will Be the First Defensive Player Selected

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Rice and Irvin will likely use their first few picks on the best offensive players available. Once they each snag a quarterback, running back and wide receiver, they'll look to the defensive side of the ball.

Since they're both Hall of Fame wide receivers, Irvin and Rice know the value of a good cornerback. As a result, one of Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman is the best bet to be the first defensive player drafted.

You could make a strong argument for Revis or Sherman being the superior cornerback. Revis had more interceptions (five) in 2015 than Sherman (two), which can be somewhat deceiving since it's partly dependent on the number of times a quarterback looks a cornerback's way. Pro Football Focus graded Sherman much higher, rating him an 86.4 in pass coverage, compared to 77.5 for Revis.

Back in 2013, the two had a bit of a back-and-forth on social media:

They seem to have moved on from any personal animosity, but they undoubtedly have a competitive rivalry that comes with being two of the best cover corners in the game.

 

Michael Irvin Will Grab as Many Dallas Cowboys Players as He Can

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Last year, Irvin wasn't shy about loading up on players from his old team. He made quarterback Tony Romo his first pick and proceeded to add any Dallas Cowboys players not nailed down, a point to which DallasCowboys.com's Nick Eatman alluded last year:

The five-time Pro Bowler won't have quite the same selection this year. Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are among the notable Cowboys players who failed to build a Pro Bowl case.

Stashing as many Cowboys as he could on the roster helped Irvin beat Cris Carter's team 32-28 in last year's Pro Bowl. He'd be foolish to ruin a good thing, so expect Team Irvin to have a decidedly Dallas feel Wednesday night.