I don't typically put much stock in the Pro Bowl. The Ravens are not a high profile team, and it always seems that there are several Ravens players who are snubbed. Obviously, there's no way that anyone could predict the Pro Bowl. We have no idea who's going to step up on our team or on other teams.
This is just meant to be a friendly discussion and debate. I'd like to know who you believe will be a big enough contributor and have big enough individual seasons. Remember that the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest. I would take many of our players over many other players at their position, but you need to keep the popularity of other teams and players in mind. The Pro Bowl does not take upside into account. As much as I love Joe Flacco, I don't think that he will be making the Pro Bowl over guys like Manning and Brady... this year. I hope he proves me wrong. Anyway, please pick the Ravens players who you think will make the Pro Bowl next season and provide a brief explanation. Also, I'd like everyone to make a sleeper pick. Pick a player that you think is flying under the radar. My picks are as follows:
Ed Reed, FS (First Team)
No one can argue with this. Reed is, far and away, the best safety in the NFL. He has the name recognition and the ability to back it up. If he stays healthy, Reed is a lock for the Pro Bowl, and I think that he's the pres-season favorite for defensive player of the year.
Ray Lewis, MLB (First Team)
Sadly, many people would probably disagree with this pick. They would say that Lewis is not dominate anymore, but Ravens fans know that Lewis still has a couple Pro Bowl seasons left in him. He still has the best instincts in the NFL and is still breaking opposing running back's collar bones. Most of all, he's still the best middle linebacker in the game. I'd like to see someone name a middle linebacker who's better right now.
Haloti Ngata, DT (First Team)
Ngata was snubbed last year. His humble demeanor doesn't attract much press, but since Ngata was drafted, the Ravens have been one of the toughest teams to run against. Ray Lewis is a big part of that, but Ngata eats up blockers and keeps our awesome linebackers free to make plays. Ngata is a stud, and if he fails to make the Pro Bowl next season, Ravens fans need to revolt.
Terrell Suggs, OLB (Alternate)
Suggs may be the most versatile and impactful player in the NFL. I put him as an alternate only because flashy players like Harrison and Ware will always get more votes. I believe that he deserves more credit. The Ravens defense would not be nearly as good without Suggs.
Matt Birk, C (First Team)
Sadly, Matt Birk is the only offensive lineman that I'm selecting from the Ravens. I'm sure that many of you would disagree, but again, I actually think that more of them should make it. I just don't see people voting for our offensive line... unless they have a record breaking season (which isn't outside the realm of possibilities). Birk going to the Pro Bowl makes sense. I expect our offensive line to be extremely successful next season, and the average fan will probably chalk it up to Birk instead of giving our entire line the credit they’re due.
Leron McClain, FB (First Team)
McClain will probably make the Pro Bowl for many years. His performance last season won him respect and recognition from the entire league. Even though he will be playing more FB next season, I still expect McClain to get plenty of touches. Cam Cameron uses his talented players.
Willis McGahee, RB (First Team)
Bam! I know that many of you are laughing at this pick, but I honestly believe that McGahee is going to have a career year. Last season, he was banged up and lagging behind for many games, but in the games that he was healthy, he actually played very well. He still has great talent. He’s my sleeper pick because many people have forgotten about him or written him off. I believe that this will fuel his fire. McGahee has much to prove after last season, and with the emergence of our offensive line, I believe that he will have a dominate season.
Anyway, who do you think will make the Pro Bowl next season? Be objective.