Sizing up Bucs' Pro Bowl chances
The Bucs and the rest of the NFL conducted Pro Bowl voting on Thursday, with rosters to be announced on Wednesday.
Several Bucs have a real shot at making it to Hawaii for the NFL’s all-star showcase, including safety Ronde Barber, who finished atop the balloting for NFC free safeties in fan voting.
But fans comprise only one-third of the voting process for the Pro Bowl. Coaches and players make up the remaining two-thirds.
So, with that, let’s take a look at the chances for some specific Bucs.
Ronde Barber: He was rejuvenated in his first season playing safety, after 15 years at cornerback. He clearly has lost a step and was never known for his speed anyway, but Barber hasn’t lost his knack for big plays. That will register with others.
Vincent Jackson: You can argue that no player impacted the offense this season more than this new addition, who in the first year of his 5-year contract has been consistently productive. He’s been among the league leaders in receiving yards for most of the season and his 19.8 yards per catch is tops among starting receivers. His Pro Bowl competition is significant, including Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant, but there are four spots available.
Doug Martin: Outside of Adrian Peterson, the most electrifying running back this season has, arguably, been Martin. His 251-yard performance against the Raiders certainly will leave an indelible image in the minds of both fans and his peers in the league. The NFC, however, is stacked with running back talent. That includes Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris. Martin needs to crack the top three.
Gerald McCoy: Defensive tackle is always a tough position for fans to judge because stats aren’t a good indicator and few people tend to pay attention to what’s happening in the trenches. But those who know the game maintain that McCoy has been a force this season. He’s come on more in recent games after a hot start followed by a midseason lull. The offensive linemen who oppose him probably will give him his due.
Michael Bennett: Having a career year and poised to register double digits in sacks with one more, Bennett will give people something to think about. But the competition among pass rushers is tough when it comes to the Pro Bowl, with players like Jason Pierre-Paul, Carolina’s tandem of ends and John Abraham in the mix.
Odds: Long shot
Tell us below who else you think merits consideration.