Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet: The NFC

Khaled Elsayed makes his NFC picks for the Pro Bowl, and Calvin Johnson is left on the sideline.

| 5 years ago

Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet: The NFC

Every two weeks we get down to it. Cutting through all the propaganda to give you guys the lowdown on which players have truly earned themselves a spot on your Pro Bowl team.

We’re only sticking to guys the NFL lets you vote for, so it leads to me being somewhat handcuffed at certain positions, and just scratching my head at others.

Now here’s the list.

(AFC Cheat Sheet found here)

NFC Offense

Quarterbacks: Matt Ryan (ATL), Aaron Rodgers (GB) and Drew Brees (NO)

There’s a case to be made for RG3, but realistically all the men I’ve selected are doing more at the moment and picking up wins in the process. That’s not to downplay the achievements of my frontrunner for rookie of the year, but a reflection on how well all three have played, even if they’ve all had their blips.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson (MIN), Marshawn Lynch (SEA) and Doug Martin (TB)   

Frank Gore certainly warrants contention, and if this was the AFC he’d have made it for sure. But this is the NFC, home to the best backs in the NFL. Peterson is a no-brainer, and leads the league in rushing and the PFF rankings. Lynch isn’t too far behind him, while Martin isn’t breaking as many tackles as he was a couple of weeks ago.

Wide Receivers: Percy Harvin (MIN), Roddy White (ATL), Vincent Jackson (TB) and Brandon Marshall (CHI)

Am I mad? Leaving out Calvin Johnson? This is one case of wanting to pick five players but not being able to, and you could make a case for any of them missing out. As it is I’m looking at the two fumbles by Johnson, his nine drops and three touchdowns and thinking the others have more consistency. Harvin with his ability after the catch, Jackson as the league’s premier deep threat, White for his clutch work and Marshall for how he’s improved that Bears passing attack. Johnson may have the most yards in the NFC, but he’s only fifth in the conference in yards per route run.

Fullback: Bruce Miller (SF)

Just a solid hit-you-in-the-mouth lead blocker. Does he stand out? No. But then he consistently executes. I like that.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis (SF) and Tony Gonzalez (ATL)

While the numbers say Davis has been having a down year, the tape says he’s having his best. He’s taken full advantage of what pass catching chances he’s had, while his blocking is more consistent than ever. I’d understand those who would go for Jason Witten and his superior blocking over Gonzalez. But the Falcon has been so good for Atlanta catching the ball I couldn’t ignore him.

Offensive Tackles: Trent Williams (WAS), Anthony Davis (SF) and Joe Staley (SF)

I very nearly opted for Gosder Cherilus at right tackle, but I wanted a guy who packed more of a punch in the run game. Step forward Davis, who still has the odd bad moment in pass protection, but has really stepped it up this year. Williams and Staley are two different types of tackles, but no guy in the NFC has come close to them in terms of on field production.

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

Both Jahri Evans and Rob Sims will feel disappointed. They’re ranked three and four in the PFF guard rankings, but with their work being heavily weighted toward pass blocking I wanted some guards who mauled a little more. The 49ers pair and Mathis definitely fit that criteria.

Centers: John Sullivan (MIN) and Jonathan Goodwin (SF)

Much like the AFC, you could make a case for a number of other guys. I get why people would pick Will Montgomery or Max Unger, but I really like centers who can handle big defensive tackles. Sullivan is playing as well as anyone right now, with Goodwin not far off that pace.

Turn The Page for the Defense

  • DCBlueStar

    Call me biased, but I think Ware and Spencer should be there… Spencer for sure. Ware is Ware and he’s going to give you Pro Bowl seasons every year he’s healthy… but Spencer deserves some recognition in the actual voting and selection.
    I think it’s about time he goes to his first PB. He’s been outstanding. The same guy he’s always been, with a little more help.

    • J.d. Free

      You’re biased.

      • izach

        agreed, although the pro bowl is more a popular vote spencer doent cut it as being one of the best at his position good yes best no.

        • DCBlueStar

          Really? Then why is he ranked 3rd in the league at 3-4 LOLB?

  • e de mex

    as a 9er fan i love seen so many 9ers on your list but the OL is overrated, honestly. i know alex smith lets himself get sack/hit many times by not throwing the ball but the 9ers line has given up 29 sacks and alot of qbh and hits too, running they are great, but passing they are average.

    and how you have willis in but not bowman is crazy, bowman is the team best LB, he is on every down, he can cover, blitz and stop the running backs. willis is not as good on passing downs.

  • dave

    A lot fo 49ers and rightfully so. Hopefully they can put these probowl pieces together and win a superbowl.

  • J.d. Free

    Seeing the whole 49er O-Line on here is impressive. I agree that they’re not special in pass protection, but the run-blocking is out of this world.

    • izach

      they are actually better than average in pass pro, alx smith tho was timid and doesnt throw balls he probably should and gets sacked more than he should

  • Dru

    Casey Hayward, yesssir.

  • Josh

    Casey Hayward isn’t even on the ballot on What a joke.

  • 14th Warrior

    You’re drunk!! Megatron still has more yards, and a better per catch average, he’s still clutch and he’s been playing hurt most of the season. The yards per route run is more of an indictment on Stafford than CJ.

  • Hread

    I’m so happy you said Thomas Morstead. He’s been sooooo good punting the ball.

  • Confused

    Why do you guys even have offensive tackle grading if you don’t use them? Davis is nowhere near the top of the NFC list for tackles. Joe Staley only run blocks Trent Williams and William Beatty would be good picks. They are the 2 most balanced NFC tackles according to PFF rankings, right?

  • Lars Lundahl

    The only deep threat that has ever lived was 2007 Randy Moss.

  • Mike Renner

    No love for Mason Crosby?

  • Anonymous

    What’s up with Alfred Morris not being there?

  • Jon

    It amazes me how many idiots are constructing tenuous statistical models to back up totally outrageous points of view. Stick to real stats rather than make believe .Calvin Johnson has 300 yards more than any other NFC receiver. He has the most catches for 1st Downs in the league, he has the most catches of 20+ yards in the league. I know it is a boring headline to put but he should be in any sane observers NFC squad.
    Trying to explain that he shouldn’t be in by saying about yards per route is total nonsense and damages your credibility. Same goes for ESPN and their farcical QBR ratings in which both Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck are given far more rushing points than RG3….makes a mockery of their whole system.

  • van

    What, no Long Snapper?