NFL Pro Bowl 2015 Votes

I always wonder why people watch the Pro Bowl. I don’t get it. Even if you want to tune in to see your favorite players for one last time, it’s kind of pointless because they’re not trying very hard. The Pro Bowl isn’t even in Hawaii anymore, and it’s dumber that they put it during the week prior to the Super Bowl because the best players from the best teams can’t even perform.

I’ve argued many times that they should just eliminate the Pro Bowl and just announce the rosters. That way, the players can still get paid dfor incentives and not have to take the field and risk themselves – Robert Edwards, anyone? – for a meaningless game.

That said, I’ve been asked many times over the years to post whom I wanted to see in the Pro Bowl, given that I make a habit of criticizing the voters for sending undeserving players to this game and leaving better ones out of it. So, here are the my 2015 NFL Pro Bowl votes (players listed alphabetically by position):

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Patriots; Andrew Luck, Colts; Peyton Manning, Broncos; Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Tony Romo, Cowboys

I think there are seven obvious quarterbacks to vote for this year; the six I listed, plus Philip Rivers. It came down to Romo versus Rivers, as both were hurt at various points this year. I chose Romo because Rivers was ineffective for about a four-game stretch, whereas Romo missed just one game.

Running Backs: Le’Veon Bell, Steelers; Jamaal Charles, Chiefs; Justin Forsett, Ravens; Matt Forte, Bears; Arian Foster, Texans; DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

Le’Veon Bell and DeMarco Murray are both no-brainers, as they are the two leading rushers in football right now. Matt Forte is third in total yards, and he picks up a big chunk of yardage as a pass-catcher, as does Jamaal Charles.

Arian Foster has missed some games, but he’s been great when on the field. Meanwhile, Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch were very close. I opted to go with Forsett despite the fact that he’s just a product of Gary Kubiak’s system. Forsett has worked so much harder than Lynch this season, as Lynch has been a bit lethargic.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown, Steelers; Dez Bryant, Cowboys; T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Calvin Johnson, Lions; Julio Jones, Falcons; Jordy Nelson, Packers; Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos; Demaryius Thomas, Broncos

I initially kept Calvin Johnson out – like A.J. Green – but ultimately decided that one of them has to be in here because they’re just too good. I chose Megatron because he’s been very hot lately. The other receivers, meanwhile, all rank in the top 10 in yardage.

Fullback: John Kuhn, Packers; Anthony Sherman, Chiefs

Two of the better blockers in the NFL. Anthony Sherman is the top fullback in the league, while John Kuhn sometimes carries the ball when he’s not opening up lanes for Eddie Lacy.

Tight Ends: Martellus Bennett, Bears; Jimmy Graham, Saints; Rob Gronkowski, Patriots; Greg Olsen, Panthers

Rob Gronowski and Greg Olsen are no-brainers, as they’ve accumulated the most yardage for tight ends this year. Martellus Bennett is third, as he has been one of the few Bears playing well. As for Jimmy Graham, it pained me to vote for him, given that he’s wrecked a couple of my fantasy teams. However, he’s been playing hurt, and despite that, he’s still scored nine touchdowns.

Offensive Tackles: Duane Brown, Texans; Jason Peters, Eagles; Tyron Smith, Cowboys; Joe Thomas, Browns; Jared Veldheer, Cardinals; Andrew Whitworth, Bengals

Joe Thomas, Jason Peters and Andrew Whitworth have been the top tackles in the NFL this year, with each surrendering one or fewer sacks, so they were easy choices. Tyron Smith and Duane Brown have also been very effective, for the most part. They’ve allowed two sacks each. Jared Veldheer, meanwhile, has been one of the only consistent players on Arizona’s offense.

Guards: Joel Bitonio, Browns; Zack Martin, Cowboys; Evan Mathis, Eagles; Kelechi Osemele, Ravens; Josh Sitton, Packers; Marshal Yanda, Ravens

The one controversial name here is Evan Mathis, but only because he missed the first eight games of the season. Mathis has been so dominant upon his return though – it’s no coincidence that LeSean McCoy is finally running well – so I just had to vote him in.

There’s no arguing the other guards, including rookie Zack Martin. He’s been as good as advertised.

Centers: Travis Frederick, Cowboys; Corey Linsley, Packers; Nick Mangold, Jets; Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers

Another rookie makes it. Corey Linsley has made ridiculous strides this season. He went from being completely overwhelmed in the season opener to being one of the top centers in football.

Nick Mangold, of course, is the best center. Travis Frederick and Maurkice Pouncey aren’t too far behind.

Defensive Ends: Calais Campbell, Cardinals; Fletcher Cox, Eagles; Everson Griffen, Vikings; Robert Quinn, Rams; J.J. Watt, Texans; Mario Williams, Bills

I nearly missed Fletcher Cox; I sorted the rankings by sacks, so I wouldn’t have seen him if I hadn’t noticed Calais Campbell and remembered that 3-4 ends were part of this. Cox has dominated this year and deserves to be in the Pro Bowl.

Otherwise, these are the top four pass-rushers in the NFL in terms of sacks. All of them have been outstanding this year.

Defensive Tackles: Marcell Dareus, Bills; Aaron Donald, Rams; Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers; Ndamukong Suh, Lions; Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets; Kyle Williams, Bills

I won’t pretend I understand why Fletcher Cox and Calais Campbell are defensive ends, yet Muhammad Wilkerson is a defensive tackle. Nevertheless, he belongs in the Pro Bowl, as do the two Buffalo interior linemen.

Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are obvious. Aaron Donald may not be because he’s only a rookie, but he’s been awesome in his first year.

Inside Linebackers: Chris Borland, 49ers; Luke Kuechly, Panthers; C.J. Mosley, Ravens; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks

Two rookies here, but both deserve it. Chris Borland has really held down the fort for the 49ers, while C.J. Mosley has been even better.

The other two choices are automatic. Luke Kuechly is great, while Bobby Wagner has been a huge difference-maker for the Seahawks when he’s been on the field.

Outside Linebackers: Elvis Dumervil, Ravens; Justin Houston, Chiefs; DeAndre Levy, Lions; Khalil Mack, Raiders; Von Miller, Broncos; Terrell Suggs, Ravens

I tried to include a group of 3-4 pass rushers as well as some 4-3 players. The top two fall under the former category, as do the final couple. The four are near the top of the league in sacks, and all of them have been great this year. DeAndre Levy and Khalil Mack, meanwhile, have been sensational in other aspects.

Cornerbacks: Antonio Cromartie, Cardinals; Vontae Davis, Colts; Brandon Flowers, Chargers; Brent Grimes, Dolphins; Joe Haden, Browns; Chris Harris, Broncos; Darrelle Revis, Patriots; Richard Sherman, Seahawks

Antonio Cromartie has been the better corner in Arizona this year, so he deserves to go over Patrick Peterson. Vontae Davis is obvious, while Brandon Flowers missed some time. However, San Diego’s defense has been so much better when he was on the field.

Brent Grimes is still playing well, despite his age. Joe Haden started slowly, but rebounded beginning in October. Chris Harris, meanwhile, has been a huge surprise.

I don’t need to explain Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman, do I?

Strong Safeties: Mike Adams, Colts; Devin McCourty, Patriots

Ugh. Why is the NFL still separating strong and free safeties? Stupid. Anyway, these are the top safeties listed in this category.

Free Safeties: Earl Thomas, Seahawks; Eric Weddle, Chargers

And these are the top two free safeties. Had all the safeties been grouped together, I think I would’ve voted the same way, so I guess I don’t have much to complain about.

Kickers: Steven Hauschka, Seahawks; Adam Vinatieri, Colts

Stephen Gostkowski has drilled the most field goals this season, but I’m not voting for him because he screwed me in the Packers-Patriots game. Besides, Steven Hauschka (28-of-31) and Adam Vinatieri (a perfect 27-of-27) are good choices.

Punters: Kevin Huber, Bengals; Andy Lee, 49ers

I don’t really care about punters. I’m just picking the guys with the highest average who also have a good amount of punts placed inside the 20.

Return Specialists: Devin Hester, Bears; Darren Sproles, Saints

I voted for Devin Hester because of all the memories. He has the highest punt return average, anyway. Darren Sproles is next. He’s been awesome this year, which is shocking because he looked done in 2013.

Special-Teamers: Colt Anderson, Colts; Josh Martin, Chiefs

Two of the better special-teams aces.

Follow me @walterfootball.

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