Pro Bowl Roster 2012: NFC

| December 19, 2012

It’s that time of year once again where the PFF staff collates all of our grades and views up to the end of Week 15 and put together our Pro Bowl ballots, as ever, before the season has even finished. Not our preferred methodology for sure.

We won’t be swayed by gaudy stats in only one facet of a player’s game or by a teams win/loss record; we look solely at the player’s performance irrespective of the success of the team.

Here we’ll take a look at our NFC Pro Bowl ballot which features amazing debut seasons. Read on to see who made it from your team.

Offense

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers (GB), Matt Ryan (ATL) and Robert Griffin III (WAS)

Rodgers and Ryan are already champions of the NFC North and South and were easy choices but the third spot saw some debate. In the end it was Griffin who took the honors on the PFF ballot on the back of his playmaking ability and efficiency in helping the Redskins to compete for a playoff spot. Good overall season though he had, early mistakes and inconsistency from Drew Brees contributed to the Saints falling quickly out of the playoff race.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson (MIN), Marshawn Lynch (SEA) and Alfred Morris (WAS)

There could only be one man to lead the backfield for the NFC in this year’s Pro Bowl and that is of course Adrian Peterson. Still in the reckoning to set a new NFL single season rushing record his yards AFTER contact this season would rank him 8th in the NFL in rushing if it were his total rushing yardage. Filling out the roster is Marshawn Lynch, who has now blended consistency with the physically explosive ability he has shown throughout his career and Alfred Morris whose bruising and determined running style makes him one of the toughest running backs in the league to bring down. Morris just edges out fellow rookie Doug Martin who exploded onto the scene around mid-season but has been somewhat inconsistent in the last month as the Buccaneers have fallen away from the playoff race.

Fullback: Bruce Miller (SF)

Yet another high-functioning cog in the machine which is the 49ers running game. Miller has not only played more snaps than any other NFC fullback but done so at a high level throughout.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson (DET), Brandon Marshall (CHI), Vincent Jackson (TB) and Percy Harvin (MIN)

The NFC is stacked with a group of prototypical “#1” wide receivers that have been extremely productive and a number of players have missed out through sheer weight of numbers. Like Peterson our top ranked player (Johnson) is in the running for an NFL single season record whilst Brandon Marshall’s consistent playmaking ability has surely made him one of the best off-season bargains. Up until recently Jackson was the catalyst to a dramatically improved passing attack but even he can only take a QB so far. The fourth spot was a tough call but in spite of missing almost half the season we simply couldn’t overlook the impact of Harvin on an anemic Vikings’ passing game in the first half of the season. Roddy White, who just misses out, has only just surpassed Harvin’s receiving grade in spite of playing more than twice as many snaps and Harvin’s 1400+ all purpose yards from little more than eight games is simply too much to ignore.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez (ATL) and Jason Witten (DAL)

We have often banged the drum about a tight end being more than a receiver and how their blocking is an important part of their game too. However when they are such a difference maker as a receiver it would be foolhardy to overlook them and that is why Tony Gonzalez makes the roster in spite of some dreadful run blocking. Meanwhile the backup spot goes to Witten who recovered from injury at the start of the year to become the dependable target and reliable blocker we’ve been used to.

Edit: Initially we had Martellus Bennett in instead of Jason Witten, but this came as a product of an error in our voting process. We’ve now corrected this but apologies for the mix up.

Offensive Tackles: Joe Staley (SF), Tyson Clabo (ATL) and Trent Williams (WAS)

We have rarely seen a season of run blocking as dominant as Joe Staley has displayed this year and though he has allowed eight sacks that accounts for more than two thirds of total pressure meaning he has allowed little else besides. This has been a much improved season for tackle play and Trent Williams has continued his development in Washington excelling in both areas of his game whilst Tyson Clabo has performed well enough to save us from the discussion on whether a right tackle should be forced onto the ballot ahead of more deserving left tackles. Seemingly destined for his fifth straight season grade of +15.0 or better Clabo is arguably the most consistent right tackle of the PFF era.

Offensive Guards: Evan Mathis (PHI), Alex Boone (SF) and Mike Iupati (SF)

It’s all too easy to overlook the season that Evan Mathis has had in Philadelphia with the utter shambles around him as the Eagles lost offensive linemen left and right but you simply cannot fault his effort and production at guard, he simply hasn’t allowed any defensive player to get the better of him this season. He is joined by the pair of San Francisco guards who have led the most physical run blocking unit in the league. No offensive line has more consistently taken opposing defensive lines to pieces than the 49ers and the highest yards per carry average for San Francisco running backs is off left guard (6.1) and right guard (5.7).

Centers: John Sullivan (MIN) and Will Montgomery (WAS)

Ever since the light went on for Sullivan last season he has been the league’s most consistent center and his inclusion was a no brainer with him leading Adrian Peterson to a 6.4 yard per carry average on A-gap carries. Behind him there was a traffic jam with any one of four centers worthy of the accolade in a vintage season for NFC centers. In the end the consistency and fine pass protection (one game aside) of Will Montgomery ensured the Redskins’ center edged the competition. Brian De La Puente (showing his replacement of Olin Kreutz was no single season blip), Max Unger (much improved run blocking from last season and allowing no sacks for the second straight season) and Jonathan Goodwin would all have been worthy additions to this Pro Bowl roster. An embarrassment of riches for the NFC.

Turn the page for defense

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  • Pedro

    Half of these choices on defense are from the NFC west. Shows what a tough division it’s become on that side of the ball.

  • LawDawg

    No love for Sean Weatherspoon of the Falcons? Guy is the heart and soul of the Falcons defense, and it has suffered when he has not played. 

  • LawDawg

    No love for Sean Weatherspoon of the Falcons? Guy is the heart and soul of the Falcons defense, and it has suffered when he has not played. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.alexander.9849 Sean Alexander

    Michael Robinson and Chris Clemon should be on the list.

  • Dj

    Nothing for the league leader in tackles? Luke Keuchly of the panthers.

    • Walter247

      usually the leader of that category gets snubbed. see london fletcher.

      • Urrymonster

        You haven’t been watching Luke in the middle, he is top tier and is ranked ahead of bowman following the last game.

        • pbskids4000

          Please tell me how he is “ranked ahead” of NaVorro Bowman. I hope you don’t just mean in tackles because there is no way somebody can say Kuechly has performed better than Bowman or Willis this year.

    • Ryan

      Willis and Bowman are simply the best ILBs in the game right now.

    • Colonel Crazy

       Tackles are very empty stats. PFF will restate that claim more so than anyone else.

    • Kevin Byrd

       It’s funny seeing comments like these. You instantly realize he is new to this site.

    • Pokey Reese

      Paragraph 2, first sentence, “We won’t be swayed by gaudy stats in only one facet of a player’s game”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hal.moss.56 Hal Moss

    How does Darryl Washington not make this team

    • hendeeze

      Because Bowman and Willis. That is all

  • Austiered13

    Where is lance Briggs?

    • Da beers

       While you’re asking.. where’s the Bears?  Not so good at the finishing strong lately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerrel.palmer Jerrel Palmer

    i watch every lions game every year and fairly was only good because shu took all the double and triple teams just so fairly could have this type of year . but shu is the pro bowler here !

    • DC LION

      Come on man.. talk about Cliff average Avril before you talk about Failey who has really hustled this year and enjoyed some big big moments.

  • Pretzel

    I’m a little puzzled at the absence of Dashon Goldson.  He impacts the game profoundly, look at Hernandez last week short arming a ball on a screen pass after he was hit by Goldson resulting in an interception.  The only negative I can think of is the amount of penalties he accrues. 

    • Bradley

      huge snub i couldnt believe goldson wasnt on the list

    • MosesZD

      Sorry dude, Goldson is, for the 49ers, like Roy Williams was for the Cowboys…   Not quite as vastly over-rated as Williams, but still over-rated because of the shoulder hits which make the highlight reels and get people all excited.   This leads to him getting awards and accolades he really doesn’t deserve.   

      Now, when consider his whole body-of-work you look at all the plays he blows, the stupid penalties he gets…    I think leaving him off the list is an easy call.   He’s an average, at best, safety who is still wildly inconsistent. 

  • GBPfan

    Nice to See Casey Hayward get some Love.
    Would’ve been nice to have seen Randall Cobb get some love, but I suppose that’s just me being greedy and the NFC being way too loaded on Receivers.

  • Jimbob

    blegh

  • Javisolis27

    I like the choices except for the fact that Russell Okung didn’t get chosen just because you guys want a right tackle. Okung is top 10 in PBE while Staley and Clabo are not (last time I checked). I also think Ndamukong Suh played was better than Fairley because of the double teams he took.

  • Coquili

    Randall Cobb leads all-purpose yards. Carlos Rogers is long, fast, tall, and talented.

  • Garyjoraanstad

    Why didn’t Greenway of Minnesota make the outside linebacker corp?

  • Nate

    It’s time to take down Percy Having and put up Dez Bryant.

  • http://twitter.com/nfldaddyb Michael Bennett

    Jason Pierre Paul Over Michael Bennett I dont think so. Bennett has had a much much better year adn he deserves the nod over JPP

  • http://twitter.com/nfldaddyb Michael Bennett

    Jason Pierre Paul Over Michael Bennett I dont think so. Bennett has had a much much better year and he deserves the nod over JPP

  • Phatbat100

    why isnt dashon goldson on here? hes allowing 44.8 qb rating when throwing at him.

  • Wrath004

    Richard Sherman

  • Jacob Riesterer

    I don’t see how Mikell makes it with a negative coverage rating.  It’s not like he hasn’t really had that role either.  That being said in overall rating there is a big gap between him and the next NFC safety.  His selection is more based off of the AFC being stacked but maybe Morgan Burnett should have got more love, if only for his more well rounded game.

  • Kline38

     Russell Wilson has pulled ahead of RG3, IMO.

    He should be ROY, too.