NFL Detroit Lions: 5 Players Who Should Earn a Pro Bowl Vote

Brandon LeopoldContributor INovember 21, 2011

NFL Detroit Lions: 5 Players Who Should Earn a Pro Bowl Vote

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    It's the second half of the season, folks, and you know what that means. It's time to start standing around the water cooler and debate who of your Detroit Lions books his trip to Hawaii for the annual Pro Bowl.

    While there are several who deserve it (i.e. Suh, Houston, Wright, Levy, etc.), there are five players who in my opinion have stood out above the rest so far this season. I am not saying that the players not named are not going to go, I just think these are the ones that will:

Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver

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    Although Calvin Johnson has not scored a touchdown in his previous two games, he is still scary good. Johnson has 59 receptions for 974 yards (thank you, ESPN, for giving me the wrong information---again), averaging 16.4 yards per reception, and has 11 touchdowns. Those are some scary good numbers.

    There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Johnson is a beast. Everyone across the league—everyone across the country—knows what Johnson is capable of. There is no doubt he has played a major role in his team's success this year.

    For these reasons, I believe that Johnson is a lock for the Pro Bowl.

    Pro Bowl status: Starter

Matt Stafford, Quarterback

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    Say what you will about Stafford's last two games, and yes, I'm aware that the interceptions are piling up; but I still believe that this season, Stafford is Pro Bowl-worthy. After all, the Pro Bowl does allow for three quarterbacks.

    This season, Stafford is 244-for-398 for 2,843 yards, a 61.3 completion percentage, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, for a 93.4 quarterback rating. To me, those numbers are pretty darn good. Granted, this is thanks in large part to throwing five touchdowns last night, but those are still some good numbers.

    There's no doubt that he's likely not going to be starting over Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers or possibly Eli  Manning, but Stafford is still Pro Bowl-worthy.

    Pro Bowl status: Reserve

Cliff Avril, Defensive End

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    I know a lot of you are going to think I'm nuts for this pick of Cliff Avril for defensive end. However, numbers don't lie. With the somewhat lack of production by Ndamukong Suh, Avril to me has really stepped up this year.

    Through 10 games, Avril has compiled 18 tackles, four of them solo, six sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Those are pretty decent numbers to me. Could they be better? Sure. Still pretty good, though.

    Pro Bowl status: Reserve

Stephen Tulloch, Linebacker

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    Stephen Tulloch came into this season with something to prove—he wants a big contract. The way he's been playing so far this season, he is likely to get one.

    Through 10 games, Tulloch has amassed 65 tackles, 50 of them solo, three sacks, one fumble recovery and two interceptions. The only middle linebacker who's really stood out more so far this season in the NFC is San Francisco's Patrick Willis, who will likely be the starter.

    Pro Bowl status: Reserve

Jason Hanson, Kicker

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    "Old Reliable" is at it again.

    How many times has Hanson been to the Pro Bowl now? Eight? 10? Hang on let me check the facts.

    OK, so it was four times, but still.

    Hanson is the team's all-time leading scorer, and this season has missed one—that's right—just one field goal through 10 games. Even Green Bay's kicker has missed a field goal. There is no question that Hanson has booked his trip to Hawaii this season.

    Pro Bowl status: Starter

    While there are certainly others who are worthy of a Pro Bowl nod (i.e., Chris Houston and Eric Wright), these are the five players who have stood out to me so far the most this season.

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