Taking my eraser to the Pro Bowl rosters

As always, the Pro Bowl rosters (AFC, NFC) got most things right, but also got a few things really, really wrong. I won't take the easy way out here at Shutdown Corner -- if I feel like someone deserves a spot, then someone has to come out, too. It often means that one great player gets the axe at the expense of another, but that's the way the ball bounces.



IN: Vincent Jackson(notes), San Diego Chargers. OUT: Brandon Marshall(notes), Denver Broncos.

Marshall had more catches than Jackson, but Jackson brought a ton more value to the Chargers' passing game. He averaged 17.2 yards per catch, while Marshall brought in 11.1. Jackson was a constant big-play threat, and a ridiculous 85.3 percent of his catches went for first downs. It was his dominant presence, too, that allowed Antonio Gates(notes) to have the great year he had.

IN: Lousaka Polite(notes), Miami Dolphins. OUT: Le'Ron McClain(notes), Baltimore Ravens.

Polite established himself as a Lorenzo Neal(notes)-type smasher from the fullback position this season. McClain's a fine player and a good blocker in his own right, but I have a feeling he got the nod because of numbers, which are as relevant to grading fullbacks as their favorite colors. Polite dished out more headaches and sprung more quality runs, and I see him as being just a tad more valuable to his team than McClain is to his.

IN: D.J. Williams(notes), Denver Broncos. OUT: Ray Lewis(notes), Baltimore Ravens.

The Broncos are sending Elvis Dumervil(notes) and Champ Bailey(notes) to the Pro Bowl, so Williams gets overlooked a bit. Of course, Ray Lewis never met a camera he didn't love, so there's no danger of him ever getting overlooked. Ray-Ray's still a fine player, but his name and the fact that he's doing an interview on some Sunday morning preview show every week have as much to do with him being a Pro Bowler as anything else.

IN: Leon Hall(notes), Cincinnati Bengals. OUT: Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos.

Bailey benefits a bit from name recognition, too. It's not that he's completely undeserving, but Leon Hall was outstanding for the Bengals this season. Jonathan Joseph was too, but I like Hall just a little better. And besides, the Bengals ought to have someone on the roster, right?

IN: Michael Roos(notes), Tennessee Titans. OUT: Jake Long(notes), Miami Dolphins.

It's hard to argue for one good offensive lineman over another, but I feel like someone from the Titans line deserves recognition for the job they've done in front of Chris Johnson. Hopefully Johnson (that guy really needs a nickname) will put up the cash to take his linemen with him anyway.


IN: London Fletcher(notes), Washington Redskins. OUT: Jonathan Vilma(notes), New Orleans Saints.

I thought this would be the year for Fletcher, but alas, he'll remain at home. Vilma's worthy and it's a difficult call, but it probably came down to the fact that Vilma's on the better team. I get it, but is that what the Pro Bowl is for? You can't hold the mistakes of Dan Snyder, Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn against London Fletcher.

IN: Tony Gonzalez(notes), Atlanta Falcons. OUT Vernon Davis(notes), San Francisco 49ers.

It was kind of a breakout year for Davis, who led all tight ends with 12 touchdowns. His athleticism makes him more of a big-play threat, but I'll still take Gonzalez as a better all-around player right now. Say you're facing a third down, and you need to convert a third-and-7 to keep a drive going late in the fourth quarter, who would you rather have on the field, Gonzalez or Davis? VD will make a lot of Pro Bowls in the future, and I'm glad he had the year he did, but for right now, I think it's still Gonzalez's spot.

IN: Kareem McKenzie(notes), New York Giants. OUT: Bryant McKinnie(notes), Minnesota Vikings.

Maybe it's just me and I'm not paying attention, but do we always have a lot of Pro Bowlers who actually get benched? I'm not saying that the gentleman needs to be tarred and feathered because Julius Peppers(notes) beat the brakes off of him in one game, but is he a Pro Bowler?

IN: Michael Jenkins(notes), Dallas Cowboys. OUT: Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, Arizona Cardinals.

His six interceptions rank him fourth in the league, but is anyone keeping track of the gambles DRC takes that end with him getting burned? He's a great athlete, but I'll take the steadier play of Jenkins in Dallas.