San Francisco 49ers Who Should Earn Pro Bowl Nods: Fan Opinion

So far this year the San Francisco 49ers are surprising everyone in the NFL with their 10-3 start and clinching of the NFC West on December 4. They were selected to finish near the bottom of their division after a dismal 6-10 campaign in 2010 when they were supposed to win the division. The one difference this year is head coach Jim Harbaugh, while the rest of the team stayed relatively the same - with the exception of a partially new secondary—Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner—and the addition of kicker David Akers.

While the 49ers have been playing solid as a team, there have been some standout individuals who I believe should earn Pro Bowl nods to play in Hawaii. If they don't make it, I at least think these guys should be considered for how well they have played so far this year. Let's take a look at the some of the candidates and why they should make the roster:

Frank Gore

Gore has just completed two huge feats this season for the 49ers; he earned his fifth year with 1,000 yards rushing and became San Francisco's all-time leading rusher when he passed Hall of Famer Joe Perry on December 4 against the St. Louis Rams. Ranking third among NFC rushers should be just the boost Frank needs to earn a Pro Bowl selection.

Patrick Willis

Before injuring his hamstring, Willis was a dynamic defensive force, just like he has been year-in and year-out since coming into the NFL in 2007. This year, in just 12 games Willis has forced four fumbles, recovered two fumbles, one interception, has 12 passes defensed and made 93 tackles. Even though he is injured, these are definitely some Pro Bowl caliber numbers.

David Akers

Akers has accounted for 135 points this year in San Francisco and this is his sixth straight season he's scored at least 100 points. Akers is just one field goal away from tying Jerry Rice, who is San Francisco's single-season record-holder with 138 points in 1987. He is as consistent a kicker as any in the NFL and has been doing it since 1998; putting up great season after great season.

Dashon Goldson

Goldson has really emerged as one of the best safeties in the NFC. His five interceptions this season are a career high and his reputation for making nice open field hits definitely has receivers thinking twice before coming across the middle. Goldson's intensity and focus, when harnessed, make him one of the best in the game at what he does.

Justin Smith

Smith has been unrelenting this year in the pass rush and played a key role in the 49ers pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Many analysts, including Eric Davis of Comcast Sports Net Bay Area, have said that if they had to pick a defensive MVP for the 49ers, it would be Smith. I don't see any reason Smith should be overlooked when it comes to the Pro Bowl; he hasn't missed a start in 10 years and is always bringing that intensity.

NaVorro Bowman

Bowman, or "Patrick Willis, Jr." as fans often refer to him as, has emerged this year as a great compliment to Willis and has emerged as a powerful linebacker in the NFL. He has 113 tackles and three fumble recoveries. While he may not be a Pro Bowl starter, I know he'll get some votes from a large fan base here in San Francisco.

Pro Bowl voting ends on Monday December 19 so in order to vote for these 49ers and your other favorite NFL player please visit NFL.com to cast your votes.

David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where they post fresh content daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.

You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp

Sources:

49ers.com. Final Week for Pro Bowl Voting. NFL 2011.

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Updated Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011