NFL Pro Bowl: My Picks

MJ KasprzakSenior Writer IIDecember 29, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 27, 2009 at Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Later today, the roster for the NFL Pro Bowl will be announced. The following are the players I think should be chosen (those in parentheses are players I think will make it but I would not put in), with the starters listed first:

-QB: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre in the NFC; Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and Matt Schaub (Tom Brady) in the AFC. I would put Schaub in over Brady because he has less to work with, but the big-name and established player will make it instead. Favre will play ahead of Rodgers for the same reason.

-RB: Stephen Jackson, Adrian Peterson, and DeAngelo Williams for the NFC; Chris Johnson, Thomas Jones, and Maurice Jones-Drew for the AFC. Peterson should not start over Jackson because he is more fumble-prone, not as good a receiver, and not as singly the focus of the opposition, but again, reputation and superstardom rules...Cedric Benson and Ray Rice would also be good choices for the AFC and may sneak in.

-TE: Jason Witten, Vernon Davis for the NFC; Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates for the AFC. Tony Gonzales may sneak in on reputation, but I think the leading yardage and touchdown receivers should get in.

-WR: Sidney Rice (should but won't start over Fitzgerald), DeSean Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Miles Austin, Steve Smith (of the Giants), Marques Colston in the NFC; Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Santonio Holmes, Brandon Marshall, Wes Welker, Randy Moss in the AFC. Let's face it: I could put a dozen receivers out there an argument could be made for, but these are the players who should make it because they are getting yards and often scores, often carrying their teams' passing attacks.

-OL: I am leaving this blank because, honestly, my opinions would be based largely on familiarity with the player or reputation. Fans should not be allowed to vote on these for that reason, since few are knowledgeable enough to really rate these players. I can tell you I'd pick heavily from the best lines, which reside in Indianapolis, Tennessee, New York (both teams), Carolina, and New Orleans.

-DE: Will Smith (Jared Allen), Julius Peppers, Andre Carter, Trent Cole (Will Smith) for the NFC; Dwight Freeney, Aaron Schobel, Robert Mathis, Mario Williams for the AFC. Allen had more production in two games against the worst line in football (at least at the time) than in all 13 other games, and does not belong in the Pro Bowl with the well-rounded run and pass defense of Carter, Peppers, Smith, and Cole, but he's well-known and because of those games has the season stats to make it.

-DT: Kroy Biermann, Kevin Williams, Anthony Adams, Pat Willams in the NFC; Kelly Gregg, Sionha Pouha, Vince Wilfork, Kyle Williams (Marcus Stroud) in the AFC. The wrong teammates get the higher honour for the Vikings and Bills.

-OLB: DeMarcus Ware, Lance Briggs, Chad Greenway, Clay Matthews for the NFC; Brian Cushing, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Jason Taylor for the AFC. Cushing probably won't start, but he should.

-ILB: Patrick Willis, Jonathan Vilma, Keith Brooking, Nick Barnett for the NFC; David Harris, Dhani Jones, Ray Lewis, and D.J. Williams for the AFC. Again, the deserving players should get in, even if the choice of starters is not precise.

-S: Darren Sharper, Nick Collins, Adrian Wilson, Dashon Goldson for the NFC; Jairus Bird, Brian Dawkins, Antoine Bathea, Brandon Merriweather for the AFC. 

-CB: Charles Woodson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Asante Samuel, Terrence Newman for the NFC; Derelle Revis, Leon Hall, Leigh Bodden, Nnamdi Asomugha for the AFC. Asomugha is not getting picks or passes defensed, but that is because everyone is afraid to throw to him; his peers know this and will put him in the Pro Bowl.

-K: Neil Rackers for the NFC, Nick Kaeding for the AFC.

-P: Andy Lee for the NFC, Shane Lechler for the AFC.

-Returner: Clifton Smith (Percy Harvin will get in, but Smith returns both kicks and punts well) for the NFC, Josh Cribbs for the AFC.