Green Bay Packers: Top 10 Players Most Likely to Make 2012 Pro Bowl
Five Green Bay Packers were selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl, but not a single one actually suited up for the game.
Titletown's team was too busy getting healthy and preparing for Super Bowl XLV to worry about the meaningless contest a week before the big game.
Packers players will strive to be in the same position next season, and while a few will be invited to Hawaii in 2011, they will hope they won't be required to attend.
Some of the Packers' 2010 Pro Bowlers will have a great shot at winning the vote again, but other veterans may not make the cut.
In this slideshow, I will examine 10 Packers who have a legitimate chance at reaching next season's Pro Bowl.
10. Mason Crosby
2011 Starter: David Akers
Even if Mason Crosby manages to improve on his accuracy in 2011, he still is a long shot for a Pro Bowl selection.
However, if he can repeat his rookie season, in which he was one of the league's top kickers, and become more accurate, then he'll at least be in the conversation among other NFC kickers to take a trip to Hawaii.
9. Jermichael Finley
2011 Starter: Jason Witten
If Jermichael Finley can compile an amazing comeback campaign and have the breakout year everyone was expecting last season, he could be headed to Hawaii instead of the IR.
The only problem is he'll have to compete with superstar veterans like Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez on the ballot, but he has the skills and athleticism to do just that.
8. B.J. Raji
2011 Starters: Jay Ratliff, Ndamukong Suh, Justin Smith
B.J. Raji was a second alternate among interior lineman for last year's Pro Bowl, but one could make the argument he should've been a starter.
Justin Smith and Ndamukong Suh deserved to be there, but Smith is listed as a defensive end, not a tackle. The NFC must've have been overloaded with DEs last season, so I guess they decided to throw him in on the interior.
Anyway, Jay Ratliff had about half as many sacks as Raji—and less tackles in 2010—but he somehow managed to sneak past him to Hawaii.
If Raji repeats or betters his solid sophmore season in 2011, the NFC will have to decide if they're willing to make the same mistake twice.
7. Tramon Williams
2011 Starters: Charles Woodson, Asante Samuel, DeAngelo Hall
Although Charles Woodson was selected for the 2011 Pro Bowl, some could argue he wasn't even the best cornerback on the team last season.
Tramon Williams had three times as many picks as Woodson—although the veteran tore it up in other statistical categories—and Williams was only voted in as a first alternate.
Asante Samuel and DeAngelo Hall both had good seasons, but their past success is probably what pushed them ahead of Williams, who had just begun to develop into a top cover cornerback.
Many believe Williams was the second-most snubbed player on the Packers last year—as far as the Pro Bowl goes—and I'm sure he'll be out to prove he belongs in 2012.
6. Josh Sitton
2011 Starters: Jari Evans, Chris Snee
Josh Sitton has often been overlooked, but he is what held the Packers' championship offensive line together, and he's become one of the best guards in the NFL.
He was listed as an alternate for last year's Pro Bowl, but his skills are right up there with the starters.
Even Aaron Rodgers has called him a Pro Bowl-caliber player, and although he may be a bit biased, he certainly has seen Sitton go to work first hand.
5. Charles Woodson
2011 Starters: Charles Woodson, Asante Samuel, DeAngelo Hall
The veteran corner was selected to his seventh Pro Bowl last season, and he's likely to add another one to his name in 2012.
Woodson's interceptions may have declined, but he posted career highs in tackles and forced fumbles in 2010.
He showed no signs of slowing down until he broke his collarbone in the Super Bowl, but if he can rebound from that devastating injury, he'll sit comfortably as one of the league's top three cornerbacks for at least one more season.
4. Greg Jennings
2011 Starters: Greg Jennings, Desean Jackson, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson
Greg Jennings was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2011 as the fifth-leading receiver in the NFL.
A trip to Hawaii will likely be an annual vacation for Jennings because of his talent, not to mention he has an elite quarterback and an explosive offense. However, it will be interesting to see if the Finley's return will affect his production.
Unless his career suddenly spirals downward—or the Pack is back in the big game—expect Jennings to play in the 2012 Pro Bowl.
He better watch out because he'll have some competition at his position on the ballot. The Lions are looking up, and Calvin Johnson is ready to take advantage.
3. Nick Collins
2011 Starter: Nick Collins
Nick Collins was voted to his third consecutive Pro Bowl in 2011, as he continued to be one of the league's top free safeties.
There's not too much competition in Collins' way to make it a fourth straight selection in 2012—unless his interceptions continue to drop.
2. Aaron Rodgers
2011 Starter: Michael Vick
Backups: Matt Ryan, Drew Brees
Aaron Rodgers was the biggest snub in last season's Pro Bowl voting.
Yes, Michael Vick had an MVP season, but Rodgers' stats surpassed Matt Ryan's despite missing two games with multiple concussions. Drew Brees may have thrown for more TDs and yards, but he also threw over twice as many picks as Rodgers.
Rodgers was unhappy about the snub, of course, but he did what he always has in the face of adversity. He moved forward, kept fighting and went out and got what he wanted.
Rodgers not only played in the bowl game that really mattered, but he shined and took home the Super Bowl MVP. He'll now be the preseason favorite for NFL MVP, and my guess is Pro Bowl voters won't be fooled again.
1. Clay Matthews
2011 Starters: Clay Matthews, Demarcus Ware, Brian Orakpo
Clay Matthews was selected to the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons in the NFL. Last year, he was the runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year Award with 13.5 sacks.
Even if he again falls short of the DPOY in 2011, it's almost a guarantee you will see him in the 2012 Pro Bowl as one of the best pass rushers in the NFC.