2011 NFL Predictions: One Sure-Fire Pro Bowl Selection from Every NFL Team

Kyle GibbonsAnalyst IIIJuly 17, 2011

2011 NFL Predictions: One Sure-Fire Pro Bowl Selection from Every NFL Team

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    It’s not every year that every team in the National Football League sends one of its own to the Pro Bowl, but in 2011 there's a potential that every team could. For the sake of argument, let' s say they will.

    The Pro Bowl is essentially an All-Star game compiled of just that: stars.

    Since the NFL’s merger with the rival American Football League in 1970, the game has officially been called the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference against those of the National Football Conference.

    In this list I am going to analyze each NFL team and project one sure-fire player guaranteed a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii following the season barring significant injury.

    Keep in mind the fans are responsible for 1/3 of the vote for each player selected to the Pro Bowl in any given year, and only a certain amount of players can be selected to each position from each conference.

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald

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    Position: Wide Receiver
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Five

    Larry Fitzgerald is one of the leagues preeminent receiving talents, and has carried the Arizona Cardinals on his back since his third overall selection in 2004.

    Even without a viable quarterback and the departure of elite running mate Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitz still managed his fifth 1,000 yard effort in six seasons.

Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White

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    Position: Wide Receiver
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Three 

    With consecutive double digit receiving touchdown seasons, Roddy White has made it very clear that his is a force to be reckoned with at the wide receiver.

    The arrival of rookie wide receiver Julio Jones and continued growth of Matt Ryan in 2011 should all but guarantee White’s selection to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis

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    Position: Inside/Middle Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Twelve

    Ray Lewis will one day retire as the greatest linebacker ever to play the game.

    He is an absolute animal, and has been the heart and soul of the Baltimore Ravens defense for well over a decade.

    You don’t have to be a fan of the Baltimore Ravens to appreciate what Ray Lewis does on the football field.

    As a matter of fact, if you’re not a fan of Ray Lewis then you’re not a fan of football.

Buffalo Bills: Paul Posluszny

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    Position: Inside/Middle Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Zero

    The 2012 Pro Bowl will be Posluszny's first.

    Though Posluszny has been rumored to leave Buffalo I can almost, without a shadow of a doubt, guarantee that Posluszny will be in a Buffallo Bills uniform in 2011.

    He is and will be until the day he retires the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills defense.

    He is more than content in Buffalo, and he will prove his worth in 2011.

Carolina Panthers: Ryan Kalil

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    Position: Center
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Two

    At only 26 years old, Kalil has begun to establish himself has one of the league finest centers.

    Kalil represents rookie quarterback Cameron Newton's only hope at survival.

Chicago Bears: Brian Urlacher

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    Position: Inside/Middle Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Seven

    I could pretty much copy and paste everything I wrote in reference to Ray Lewis' 2012 Pro Bowl selection for Chicago Bears linebacking legend Brian Urlacher.

    Urlacher represents a strong lineage of prolific Chicago Bears linebackers, and like Ray Lewis is in the twilight of his career.

    As a fanatical Detroit Lions fan I can say without hesitation that Brian Urlacher is one of my favorite players to ever play the game.  

Cincinnati Bengals: Rey Maualuga

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    Position: Inside/Middle Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Zero

    Let me begin by saying that Maualuga has the potential to be great in the NFL, and has all but erased the lingering injury concerns that surrounded him prior to the 2009 draft.

    But though Maualuga was a highly decorated linebacker at the University of Southern California, I don’t know that he is a lock for the 2012 Pro Bowl.

    It’s the Cincinnati Bengals, who else was I to choose? 

Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas

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    Position: Tackle
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Four

    Joe Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl in every season since his third overall selection in the 2007 NFL draft.

    At 6’6, 312 pounds Thomas is a legitimate athlete with both the talent and ability to rival any defensive end in the National Football League.

    Believe that Joe Thomas is going to the 2012 Pro Bowl, he is the greatest lock on this list.

Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware

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    Position: Outside Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Five

    Ware has been selected to the Pro Bowl in all but one season of his six year NFL career.

    Which season was it that DeMarcus didn’t make the Pro Bowl?

    It was 2005, his rookie season, a season that he registered eight sacks and forced three fumbles.

    Had it not been for Shawne Merriman's dominant rookie season in 2005, Ware would have been the NFL's Defensive Rookie of The Year.

Denver Broncos: Tim Tebow

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    Position: Quarterback
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Zero

    Before you lose your mind understand this.

    Prior to even being selected in the 2010 draft Tim Tebow was already one of the most popular players in the National Football League.

    And following his 25th overall selection Tebow's No. 15 Broncos jersey dominated jersey sales.

    Tebow is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Associations All-Century Team, a list that also includes Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.

    He is also widely considered as the greatest college football player ever.

    Just know that Tim Tebow can flat-out play football, I don't see his NFL career being any different. 

Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson

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    Position: Wide Receiver
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: One

    In my opinion Calvin Johnson is the greatest receiver in the National Football League.

    Despite playing for three different quarterbacks in the 2010 season, Johnson still managed 1,120 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns and a trip to Honolulu.

    At 6’5 236 pounds Calvin Johnson is a powerful high flying red zone monster.

    Take late ‘90s Randy Moss and combine him with Andre Johnson, and you’ve got Megatron.

    For the first time in his entire career, Johnson is surrounded by legitimate game-changing play-makers.

    Somebody in the Detroit Lions offense is going to have a Pro Bowl year, and it might as well be Calvin…again.

    If Matthew Stafford remains healthy, the duo of Stafford and Calvin Johnson becomes the most feared in the entire National Football League.

Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews

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    Position: Outside Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Two

    Clay Matthews should have been the 2010’s NFL Defensive Player of The Year.

    At this point, there isn’t a more dominant outside linebacker in the league.

    I’m talking Lawrence Taylor impact.

Houston Texans: Andre Johnson

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    Position: Wide Receiver
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Five

    If Calvin Johnson isn't the leagues greatest wide receiver then Andre Johnson is.

    As far as statistical output, there hasn't been a better receiver than Andre since '08.

    Andre Johnson is another of those players that, regardless of team allegiance, you have to be a fan of. 

Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning

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    Position: Quarterback
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Eleven

    For 13 NFL seasons Peyton Manning has been the model of consistency.

    And of those 13 seasons Manning has been selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times.

    He is literally a living legend, and will retire one day as the greatest quarterback that has ever played the game.

    The Indianapolis Colts electing to go tackle/tackle with their first two selections of the 2011 NFL draft is evident of the importance of Manning to the organization.

    Peyton Manning may get selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl, but probably wont suit up. Manning and the Indianapolis Colts will be busy preparing for the Super Bowl.

    You can disregard any lingering issues going forward following a second successful neck surgery.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyson Alualu

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    Position: Defensive Tackle
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Zero

    For most, the consensus selection of a Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowler in 2011 would be running back Maurice Jones Drew.

    But I'm not convinced that MJD's lingering knee injury wont follow him into the 2011 season.

    Enter the Jaguars' 2010, 10th overall draft selection Tyson Alualu.

    After a successful rookie campaign in which Alualu recorded 38 tackles and 3.5 sacks, I believe that he will have a far greater impact for the Jaguars after a year of experience.

    In going along with the theme that "every" team will provide at least one Pro Bowler, it is my opinion that for Jacksonville it will be Alualu. 

Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry

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    Position: Strong Safety
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: One

    All Eric Berry did in his rookie season was register 92 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions, and force 1 fumble.

    In a week 16 contest against the Titans last season, Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown.

    Berry is an absolute playmaker, born from the Polamalu mold.

Miami Dolphins: Jake Long

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    Position: Tackle
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Three

    Like Cleveland Joe Thomas, Miami’s Jake Long has been selected to the Pro Bowl in every season since his rookie year.

    Jake Long is dominant. Period.

Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson

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    Position: Running Back
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Four

    Adrian Peterson is one of only two current running backs to be selected to the Pro Bowl in every season of his NFL career.

    Peterson owns at least five NFL records, with the most notable being most 200-yard rushing games as a rookie (two), most rushing yards in a single game (296) and most rushing yards in the first eight games of an NFL regular season (1,036).

    Adrian’s size and speed are astonishing. He is bigger and faster than you even realize. At the rookie combine in ’07 Peterson ran a 4.40 40-yard dash and recorded 20 bench press repetitions. That’s more repetitions than linebackers Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis and James Harrison recorded prior to their rookie seasons.

New England Patriots: Tom Brady

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    Position: Quarterback
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Six

    Like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady will garner a certain amount of greatest quarterback ever consideration.

    He is currently the hallowed single season passing touchdown record holder, and boasts three Super Bowl championships and two NFL Most Valuable Player Awards.

    He's going to the Pro Bowl in 2011. 

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees

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    Position: Quarterback
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Five

    Brees is the unheralded leader of the New Orleans Saints, and the face of the franchise.

    Brees’ accomplishments are well documented.

    He is a guarantee for a 2012 Pro Bowl selection, and the first NFC quarterback on this list.

New York Jets: Nick Mangold

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    Position: Center
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Three

    Nick Mangold is the leagues best center, and is the fulcrum of the NFL’s top offensive line.

    Mangold has showed significant growth since accepting the responsibility of replacing Kevin Mawae as the teams center in his rookie season.

New York Giants: Justin Tuck

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    Position: Defensive End
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Two

    Justin Tuck was ranked No.60 by his peers on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011.

    He was nicknamed “The Freak” due to his raw athletic ability. 

Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden

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    Position: Running Back
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Zero

    There were times during the 2010 season that Darren McFadden absolutely exploded. In a Week Seven contest against the Denver Broncos “Run DMC” rushed for 165 yards, scored 3 rushing touchdowns and even scored a receiving touchdown.

    If McFadden could stay healthy for an entire season I believe that he could post astronomical numbers.

    If Nnamdi Asomugha re-signs with the Raiders he is my selection

Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick

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    Position: Quarterback
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Four

    We are all well aware of the Michael Vick story.

    His dominant play-making ability definitely didn’t suffer during his time away either.

    He was ranked No.20 by his peers on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011, and was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of The Year in 2010.

    It's as simple as this.

    If Michael Vick stays healthy he goes to the Pro Bowl...every year.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Polamalu

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    Position: Strong Safety
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Six

    Polamalu is widely considered the best safety in the National Football League.

    Let me just break it down like this.

    Two Super Bowls, six Pro Bowls, member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, and 2010’s NFL Defensive Player of The Year.

San Diego Chargers: Antonio Gates

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    Position: Tight End
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Seven

    Not only is Gates is a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team, he has been selected to the Pro Bowl in all but but his rookie season.

    In 2005 and 2009 Gates registered over 1,000 yards receiving...as a tight end.

    Additionally, he hasn't scored less than eight touchdowns in a single season in the past seven years.

    Gates will be in Honolulu come the 2012 Pro Bowl. 

San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis

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    Position: Inside/Middle Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Four

    Willis is another one of those dominating talents that has made the Pro Bowl in every season of his career.

    He was ranked No.22 by his peers on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011.

    Patrick Willis is the heir apparent to Ray Lewis' throne, and could possibly end up being better.

St. Louis Rams: Steven Jackson

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    Position: Running Back
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Three

    Steven Jackson is one of the most talented multi-dimensional running backs on this list.

    As far as multi-dimensional running backs in recent memory go, only Brian Westbrook, Ladainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk rival Jackson’s effective pass catching and rushing ability.

    Unfortunately St. Louis has been forced to drive Jackson into the ground, which has resulted in various lingering injuries throughout his career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Davin Joseph

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    Position: Guard
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: One

    Davin Joseph is a dominating road grader type offensive guard.

    Assuming Tampa Bay elects to re-sign him he will go to the Pro Bowl in 2011. 

Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson

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    Position: Running Back
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Three

    Chris Johnson is one of the league premier players, and along with Adrian Peterson is the only other running back to go to the Pro Bowl in every season.

    “CJ2K” has Barry Sanders type ability in the sense that he could break off for a touchdown anytime he touches the ball.

Seattle Seahawks: Earl Thomas

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    Position: Free Safety
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Zero

    Like Kansas City's Eric Berry, Seattle's Earl Thomas is a ball hawk with devastating hitting ability.

    Pete Carroll thought well enough of Texas' Earl Thomas that he selected Thomas over former USC player Taylor Mays in the 2010 NFL draft.

    Earl Thomas will have a long and successful career in the NFL.

Washington Redskins: Brian Orakpo

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    Position: Outside Linebacker
    Pro Bowl Selection(s) Prior to 2011: Two

    Like some other dominant linebackers in the NFL, Orakpo has made the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons.

    He is the heart and soul of the Washington Redskins defense and has had a Patrick Willis type impact in the NFC East.

    If Washington is going to send only one of its players to the Pro Bowl in 2011, it will be Brian Orakpo.