We’re a month away from training camp and there’s not a lot to talk about so let’s look at which players have the best chance to make their first Pro Bowl in 2017.
Davante Adams – May be the frontrunner. He was number 2 in the NFL in touchdowns last year at a position where stats are important. Jordy is getting up in age and Adams is in a contract year. That could make for another big stat year. Working against his stats are Jordy Nelson (who, despite his age, was number 1 in the NFL in touchdowns last year), a healthy Randall Cobb, and the signing of Martellus Bennett. Wide receiver is a huge hype position. Everyone loves loud-mouthed cry-babies from big markets who call attention to themselves, so you can pencil in Dez and OBJ, no matter how bad they play. That takes some of the spots right off the bat, making Tae’s pursuit of the Pro Bowl an uphill battle.
Corey Linsley – Will probably play good when he’s healthy. When he’s played, he’s graded very highly. If he can stay healthy, he can really compete for a Pro Bowl berth. However, he hasn’t always been able to stay healthy. Even if he does, and he plays at his normal high level, even if he plays like the best center in the league, he won’t get it. Offensive linemen take years to get noticed (see: Sitton, Josh and Lang, TJ). Unless they are a top 10 pick, which the Packers never have (on account of all the winning), offensive linemen don’t make the Pro Bowl until they have like three years of Pro Bowl level play. He may play like a Pro Bowler, but he won’t get in.
Bryan Bulaga – As noted previously, offensive linemen get picked years after they deserve it. It’s based on name recognition and who’s doing good. The Packers figure to be a top contender again this year and since their two stud guards both left in the last 12 months and their young rookie center hasn’t had the time to establish himself, Bulaga could benefit by being a name guy (since he was a first rounder) in the unit that should get some votes. Aside from all that, he’s really good and actually deserves it. Left tackles get all the chicks, though.
Mike Daniels – This is the guy who has deserved the honor already. My favorite current player and the man who brings the nasty. Aside from being a tone-setter in attitude, he’s a supremely disruptive force. He’s a bulldog who plays with great leverage and is always busting up the line, hanging out in the backfield, and harassing whoever has the ball. He’s started to get a little more press for his attitude and has been referred to as the “unsung hero” of the defense on national games (which is silly considering he’s the defense’s best player). The problem for him is that he plays line in a 3-4 and those guys don’t get a lot of Pro Bowl love.
Every one of these guys could be deserving, but they all have some political or systemic issue working against them,
Now that I think about it, the Pro Bowl is stupid. None of these guys will probably make it and that’s fine with me – they’ll win the Super Bowl anyways.