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Elvis
06-01-2008, 04:50 PM
Posted: 05/30/2008
Looking ahead to possible first-time Pro Bowlers in 2008

http://static.nfl.com/static/content//catch_all/nfl_image/kirwansmall.jpg By Pat Kirwan | NFL.com
Senior Analyst

It may seem like a strange time of year to talk about the Pro Bowl but it's never too early to take a look at the emerging talent capable of a trip to Honolulu.
NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt was making a point the other day on his radio show about how 20-plus players made their first Pro Bowl last year. It got me to thinking about the players working hard to get ready for the 2008 season and possibly their first Pro Bowl year.
I have put together a list of the probable candidates poised to take the jump from solid starter to star in 2008. I went to the fans for their opinions because they have a voice in the process. I also turned towards players and coaches for their insight about emerging stars; it didn't take long to get a list of twenty potential candidates.
While it took Fred Taylor (http://www.nfl.com/players/fredtaylor/profile?id=TAY220162) 10 years and 10,000 yards rushing before he made his first Pro Bowl, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis (http://www.nfl.com/players/patrickwillis/profile?id=WIL618736), and Joe Thomas all got the call in their rookie years. Keep in mind that 2007 Pro Bowlers Asante Samuel (http://www.nfl.com/players/asantesamuel/profile?id=SAM616410), Jarred Allen, and Tony Richardson (http://www.nfl.com/players/tonyrichardson/profile?id=RIC389026) have all switched conferences during the offseason. Brett Favre (http://www.nfl.com/players/brettfavre/profile?id=FAV540222) retired, Jonathan Ogden (http://www.nfl.com/players/jonathanogden/profile?id=OGD403291) appears to be retiring and no one is sure where Jason Taylor (http://www.nfl.com/players/jasontaylor/profile?id=TAY338550) will play in 2008.
Volatility has always been a reality in the NFL personnel business and it has a ripple affect on Pro Bowl rosters. Last year an NFL.com poll after the Pro Bowl game listed the top four exciting players in the game and it included three recent newcomers: Adrian Peterson, Antonio Cromartie (http://www.nfl.com/players/antoniocromartie/profile?id=CRO161100) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (http://www.nfl.com/players/t.j.houshmandzadeh/profile?id=HOU337963).
Having a great year in 2008 is what will get players to Hawaii, but it also doesn't hurt if the player had a solid 2007 season. Team success and fan passion to stuff the ballot box are factors in the process, but when a coach or GM tells me about an emerging star on his roster, especially at positions where stats don't dominate the discussion like offensive line, it is very important.
Here are the top 10 players that have emerged from my discussions over the past few weeks.
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1. Mario Williams (http://www.nfl.com/players/mariowilliams/profile?id=WIL431243), DE, Houston: Heading into his third season after 14 sacks last year and 18.5 in his first two years. A teammate said Williams is walking around at 300 lb. and looks unblockable.




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2. LaRon Landry (http://www.nfl.com/players/laronlandry/profile?id=LAN165690), S, Washington: As a rookie, Landry finished up the 2007 season with 95 tackles and 1.5 sacks. A front office executive said Landry did an amazing job after the death of Sean Taylor (http://www.nfl.com/players/seantaylor/profile?id=TAY696860).



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3. Marques Colston (http://www.nfl.com/players/marquescolston/profile?id=COL777594), WR, New Orleans: In two seasons he has 168 receptions and 19 touchdowns. As one defensive back told me, Colston should be headed to his third pro bowl by now but this should be his year or there's something wrong with the system.



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4. Arron Sears (http://www.nfl.com/players/arronsears/profile?id=SEA500125), OG, Tampa Bay: Coaches around the league continually brought his name up as a dominating run blocker and a player they would love to have on their team.



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5. Nick Barnett (http://www.nfl.com/players/nickbarnett/profile?id=BAR443417), ILB, Green Bay: Barnett had 131 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks and 2 interceptions last year. He averaged 121 tackles a season throughout the first five years of his career. Packers fans mentioned him the most as the player they want to see in the Pro Bowl and the Packer fans vote.



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6. Plaxico Burress (http://www.nfl.com/players/plaxicoburress/profile?id=BUR595691), WR, Giants: Burress established himself as a star during the Giants' Super Bowl run. His performance in the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay set him apart from the pack. He has found the end zone 29 times in the regular season during his three years with the Giants. More than one fan claimed he's the greatest offseason acquisition in the history of the Giants.



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7. David Garrard (http://www.nfl.com/players/davidgarrard/profile?id=GAR371604), QB, Jacksonville: He wasn't even the starter when camp got under way last year but by the end of the season his 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions got everyone's attention. The Jags look ready for a great season in 2008 and that should put Garrard in the limelight.



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8. Nick Hardwick (http://www.nfl.com/players/nickhardwick/profile?id=HAR070819), C, San Diego: Coaches tell me they consider him the best center in the AFC. He missed four games last year but is on the verge of star status. Fans have to pay close attention to him this year.



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9. Jon Beason (http://www.nfl.com/players/jonbeason/profile?id=BEA530518), LB, Carolina: Beason had 140 tackles last year as a rookie but was overshadowed by rookie Patrick Willis in San Francisco. Beason is very much on the radar screen for the offensive linemen who had to block him last year.



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10. LaMarr Woodley (http://www.nfl.com/players/lamarrwoodley/profile?id=WOO324724), LB, Pittsburgh: Steeler fans know defense and when they like a player they get behind him in a big way. Woodley is a very popular young player in the Steel City.



Here are the next 10 names that emerged while looking for potential 2008 first-time pro bowlers: Tamba Hali (http://www.nfl.com/players/tambahali/profile?id=HAL131362), DE, Kansas City; Jamaal Jackson, C, Philadelphia; Kamerion Wimbley (http://www.nfl.com/players/kamerionwimbley/profile?id=WIM511051), OLB, Cleveland; Karlos Dansby (http://www.nfl.com/players/karlosdansby/profile?id=DAN762622), OLB, Arizona; Darrelle Revis (http://www.nfl.com/players/darrellerevis/profile?id=REV515344), CB, New York Jets (http://www.nfl.com/teams/newyorkjets/profile?team=NYJ); Donte Whitner (http://www.nfl.com/players/dontewhitner/profile?id=WHI720119), S, Buffalo; Lee Evans (http://www.nfl.com/players/leeevans/profile?id=EVA454901), WR, Buffalo.
The three top rookies to get some attention were Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland; Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina and Jake Long, OT, Miami.
Finally, if 2007 repeats itself then there will be upwards of 20 new Pro Bowlers in 2008. Some of the players listed above will make the trip but what's just as intriguing are the guys we're not even thinking about heading into the season. Could the list include Marshawn Lynch (http://www.nfl.com/players/marshawnlynch/profile?id=LYN442976), Adam Carriker (http://www.nfl.com/players/adamcarriker/profile?id=CAR485536), Laurence Maroney (http://www.nfl.com/players/laurencemaroney/profile?id=MAR273311), or a 10-year veteran waiting his whole career to get

Hammer Of The GODS
06-01-2008, 06:34 PM
Nice read.

Let's hope that Mario Williams gets off to a slow start! I don't want to see Ben picking himself off the turf after getting blasted by this cat! He is a specimen! Wish he wore black and gold!

The fact that Woodley is getting all this love should motivate the guy picked before him! I know if I were Timmons I would be using that as fuel to my fire!

On a side note.... I believe Gerrard is heading down the Korkie Stewart, Tommy Maddox road. What I mean is that he had a good year but I don't believe he can sustain it. Not to mention he really benefited by having Fred Taylor and Jones/Drew in the backfield! I could be wrong, but he has got to string a couple of seasons together before I change my mind. ( Yes, most of my dislike towards Gerrard comes from the run on 4th down where even the guys on the space station could see that EFFING HOLD!!!):banging: I digress.....

GO BURGH!

PENS NEED A MIRACLE! ( and better passing! )

Steelman16
06-01-2008, 06:42 PM
I like many of his choices. Rock on Woodley! Bring the WOOD! :tt02:

But there's no way Garrad makes the AFC pro bowl. We're talking about a conference with Brady, Manning and Big Ben. Not to mention Palmer, Cutler, Rivers, and I guess, maybe, Anderson.

That's pretty stiff competition to make the pro bowl. But I guess it's more about popularity, eh?

The Duke
06-01-2008, 07:01 PM
I like many of his choices. Rock on Woodley! Bring the WOOD! :tt02:

But there's no way Garrad makes the AFC pro bowl. We're talking about a conference with Brady, Manning and Big Ben. Not to mention Palmer, Cutler, Rivers, and I guess, maybe, Anderson.

That's pretty stiff competition to make the pro bowl. But I guess it's more about popularity, eh?

took fred taylor 10 years before his 1st pro bowl, and it was because of injury to another player. garrard has to wait about 5 more years :flap:

jaguars players get few votes(taylor was their only pro bowler and they have plenty good players), so yeah, garrard will most likely not get to the pro bowl, not that he doesn't deserve it, and yeah the pro bowl is a big popularity contest

as for woodley, nice that he's getting respect, now it's time he shows what he's got on the field :helmet:

RoethlisBURGHer
06-01-2008, 08:23 PM
Garrard should have made it to the Pro Bowl last year over Derrick "I threw 19 Interceptions And Still Made The Bro Bowl" Anderson last year.

If Woodley picks up where he left off last season, we'll have two OLB's in the Pro Bowl.

Mario Williams deserved to go last year. Great job by Houston taking him over the overrated Reggie Bush.

Galax Steeler
06-02-2008, 04:13 AM
What about santonio holmes he could be a good canidate to go as well.

KeiselPower99
06-06-2008, 12:54 AM
Has Farrior ever been to the Pro Bowl???

RodWoodsonwasprettycool
06-06-2008, 01:03 AM
Kam-Wimbley has a shot if his D-line is as good as advertised. Big If there.

atrus20
06-06-2008, 09:07 AM
I wouldn't mind seeing Hines back at the pro bowl either.